Alternative providers, such as acupuncturists, massage therapists and yoga instructors, will be a growth industry in the coming years. These treatments were already gaining wider acceptance among the public (and health insurance companies) even before last year’s health insurance reform law added provisions to increase support for alternative treatments. The industry’s revenue is forecast to grow by 4.3 percent annually for the next five years, reaching $14.4 billion by 2016. Because of the increase in healthy living and self care, the world has never committed more than now to their own personal wellness!
Acupuncture dates back more than 2,500 years to Chinese doctors who believed that illness was due to imbalances in energy. Acupuncture was thought to stimulate the body’s meridians, or energy-carrying channels, to correct these imbalances and restore health. Some doctors believe that these benefits are derived from the proximity of acupoints with nerves. Stimulation of these points causes nearby nerves to release signal molecules, called endorphins. Endorphins are well known to suppress the sensation of pain.
Pain control is a widely accepted use for acupuncture. Some say the practice was first introduced to the United States in the 1970s following President Nixon’s visit to China. As part of the visit, the President toured medical facilities, where acupuncture was widely used. During the trip, one of the reporters required an emergency surgery and received acupuncture for post-operative pain. He found the treatment very effective and wrote about his experience upon arriving home.
In addition to post-operative pain, acupuncture has been used to treat an array of ailments ranging from headaches and chemotherapy-induced nausea to joint pain. In fact, the American College of Rheumatology, a major organization for medical professionals that treat arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases, endorses the use of acupuncture for chronic pain.
In 2007, there were 14.1 million users of acupuncture in the US and that number is estimated at nearly 24 million in 2014. These users are mainly drawn to acupuncture for pain and stress relief with no side effects.
Today, acupuncture is commonly referred to by physicians and expenses are reimbursed by health insurance providers.
Massage alone, now a $12 billion industry, has experienced a 13% growth in revenue over the past three years.
85% of consumers believe massage is beneficial to health and wellness.
It is estimated that 22% of all US adults had a massage in the past year.
Yoga was developed close to the year 3,000 BC.
Yoga has endured both time and travel. It continues to be a world-wide phenomenon. Different practices and techniques have evolved over time, but the original ideals, customs, and movements have remained intact from the original practice. The attitude of Yogis is non-judgmental and accepting, which invites a wide variety of people to seek out the practice of Yoga. There has never before been a practice that has sustained its elements the way that Yoga has.
There are over 22 million yoga practitioners in the US. The percentage of people that practice yoga increases on an average of 22% every year. Practitioners are more affluent than national averages with 44% having household annual incomes greater than $75,000 and 24% having incomes greater than $100,000 annually.
Nearly 14 million Americans say a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them and yoga is now being covered by many insurance companies.
An amazing $6 billion was spent on yoga products last year. Spending on yoga products has increased by 87% in the past 5 years.
Tea was discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, also known as the “Divine Healer.” Although tea is nearly 5,000 years old, the last two decade have seen a huge rise in the use of tea for energy and health in the US.
Rise in Popularity
Some industry forecasters are predicting that the wholesale value of the Tea Industry will double over the next several years. The wholesale value of tea in the US in 1990 was $1.84 Billion and in 2013 those sales were $10.41 Billion. Tea has always been considered to be nearly recession proof, but the length and depth of these trying times has truly put tea to the test. Yet tea continues on its march towards ubiquity. If anyone believes that the United States Tea Industry is not undergoing a dramatic period of change, they should take a quick tour of their local supermarket and observe what is happening. In 2012, Americans consumed well over 79 billion servings of tea, or over 3.60 billion gallons. About 84% of all tea consumed was Black Tea, 15% was Green Tea, and a small remaining amount was Oolong and White Tea.
Tea for Better Health
Consumers are now beginning to understand that tea is one of the original energy drinks and the health benefits are astounding.
Tea is a refreshing beverage that contains no sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar. It is virtually calorie-free. Tea helps maintain proper fluid balance and may contribute to overall good health.
Tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Tea flavonoids often provide bioactive compounds that help to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe, over time, damage elements in the body, such as genetic material and lipids, and contribute to chronic disease.
Every day, new findings from the international scientific community lend credibility to tea’s healthy properties. Recent research has explored the potential health attributes of tea through studies in humans, animal models and through in vitro laboratory research. For the most part, studies conducted on green and black tea, which are both from the Camellia Sinensis plant, have yielded similar results. Recent research suggests that tea and tea flavonoids may play important roles in various areas of health and may operate through a number of different mechanisms still being explored. Health benefits have been proven for heart health, certain cancers, neurological decline, metabolism, obesity, body composition, and osteoporosis.