Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center analyzed complementary and CIM specific data, from 2012’s National Health Interview Survey to gather their findings. Overall, the practice remains fairly uncommon among US adults, with just 2.1% of respondents claiming to have used homeopathy in the 12 months preceding the survey. The most likely demographic to use homeopathy was white married women, who had a high level of education, were aged between 30 to 44, and lived in the western US.

One-third of homeopathy users reported using homeopathy to address specific health conditions such as respiratory and otorhinolaryngology complaints and musculoskeletal complaints. Only 19% of those who identify themselves as homeopathy users reported seeing a homeopathic practitioner in the preceding year. Those who did see a practitioner were significantly more likely to report that homeopathy was very important to maintaining their health and that it had helped their health problem “a great deal.” The enhanced therapeutic effect may come from the nature of the patient-provider relationship.

“Our data suggest that the likelihood of people using these products for serious conditions without input from a healthcare professional is low,” said Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study. “Data from other groups suggest that most CIM use is in addition to, not in place of, conventional treatment.” The authors conclude that given the potential public health benefits and the high levels of perceived helpfulness from users, further research into the use of homeopathy is warranted.


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