Americans flock to therapists

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The Independent Online
AMERICANS ARE flocking to alternative therapists in growing numbers, despite scientific studies which found that some alternative forms of medicine are not effective.

In an unprecedented publication of research, from over 80 studies around the world, The Journal of the American Medical Association called on doctors to subject such practices to the rigours of science.

One study showed visits to alternative practitioners were up by 50 per cent since 1990 and four out of every 10 Americans used some form of alternative medicine, spending $27bn on the services last year.

The Journal said chiropractors cannot help relieve tension headaches, but Chinese herbs can help an incurable bowel disease. Acupuncture did not help HIV sufferers, but an unusual Chinese practice helped breech babies to an easier birth. Rolling the herb artemisia into a cigar shape, setting it on fire and holding it close to the little toe of the woman was said tostimulate an acupuncture point on the toe that increases fetal movement, helping the baby to swim around into the proper position to be born.