Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, is an increasingly popular practice in the medical field today. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2021), over 30% of American adults have used unconventional medical approaches. In this case, unconventional refers to the practices in the context of Western medicine. Complementary medicine is usually used together with conventional practices, while alternative methods are used as a stand-alone (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021). There are numerous types of CAM, including nutritional, psychological, physical, and combinatory (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021). Although the examples are almost infinite, some of the most prominent ones include various diets, acupuncture, yoga, massages, and meditation (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021). There is no particular type of person that might turn to CAM, and many people might feel more in control when following some of the CAM practices. Complementary methods are more popular, which means that an individual is making use of both traditional Western medicine and CAM.
According to HealthyPlace (2016), over 60% of people that use CAM use prayer. Furthermore, out of all of the US adults, 36% use CAM when prayer and multivitamins are excluded as variants (HealthyPlace, 2016). On the other hand, when prayers and vitamins are included, the number rises to 62% (HealthyPlace, 2016). This shows that the majority of people using CAM rely on prayer as the source of alternative or complementary medicinal help. According to HealthyPlace (2016), prayer is also the most prevalent CAM therapy. In many religions, prayer acts as an important way of communicating with God, or Gods, which allows the followers to ask for favors and so on. In the case of diseases and being unwell, many will turn to their deity of choice as either the first or last resort. It is also sometimes the case that people that are not inherently religious will turn to prayer as a last attempt of helping themselves or their loved ones.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2021). Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?
HealthyPlace. (2016). Statistics on CAM Use.