People With Disabilities Use CAM

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Dec 16, 2011

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Disability affects approximately 20% of Americans, and recent survey data show that people with disabilities are turning to complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies in increasing numbers to address healthcare needs.

  • Almost two-thirds (61.4%) of people with disabilities use CAM for treating a general health condition.
  • Over half of adults (53.4%) with functional limitations who use CAM to treat their specific condition use massage therapy most frequently, followed by yoga, tai chi or qigong practice (50.3%).

Older adults are more likely to use biologically based therapies, such as natural products and diets, while younger adults (aged 18–34) are more likely to use mind-body therapies, such as relaxation techniques, hypnosis, yoga, tai chi, qigong or energy healing.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, based in Atlanta, conducted the study, which appeared in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2011; 19, 208–15).

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at