It is well established that although acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation/mindfulness market themselves as Asian traditional techniques that will help buyers avoid the same Big Pharma industry that gives us cancer treatments and vaccines, the overwhelming users in America are not Asians at all, they are wealthy white female progressives.

Yet military veterans are not overwhelmingly progressives, nor are they women. A new study sought to find out if the same trend held true for military people as it did for the general population. Obviously this kind of cross-sectional look is only using surveys, so it is lumped in the exploratory pile along with claims about mice and epidemiology claiming that weedkillers cause cancer, but people who buy into alternative medicine are not keeping it secret, the way people might minimize their smoking or drinking even on surveys. They are instead like vegans or someone on a juice cleanse, they can't wait for a reason to talk about it. So survey results are likely an adequate reflection.

The pool of just over 5 million veterans was 91 percent male and many complaints will be for pain, a non-specific symptom that acupuncture and other alternatives focus in obtaining customers. For obvious reasons, age and gender were the striations outside race while chronic pain, depression, and anxiety were parsed out because they are the most common maladies that alternatives to medicine claim to help.

While usage was nowhere near as high as among elites on the coasts, only 5 percent of veterans were willing to wait at the VA to be told they should do something like meditate to ease their symptoms, the differences among veterans were interesting. Chiropractors were the most popular non-medical care choices for everyone except Black people - they believed in yoga and meditation more.

"Black don't crack" - when it comes to spines 

It is only speculation but the authors say that racial differences in culture may account for the disparities. If so, those are going to go away, because alternatives to medicine are low-reward, but they are also low-risk and cheap compared to real medicine. Which means poor people may not have a choice but to get in the wellness melting pot regardless of their race. The Affordable Care Act has caused extreme increases in costs and less availability. The first question anyone in California, for example, gets is if their insurance is private or through the exchange. Most doctors quietly cap the number of exchange patients they will take at all. Due to that, many such patients will not see an M.D., or even a D.O.(osteopath), they may only see a Physician's Assistant. And there is nothing wrong with a PA, my go-to is a PA (while I won't use a DO) and my insurance costs a fortune, they are historically as learned as any doctor but like a DO simply didn't go to medical school. But to pretend for most there won't be a difference in how they feel not getting to see a doctor is silly. I have no medical issues so a PA giving me a check-up is fine.

While acupuncture et al. are not medically valid, the placebo effect is real enough that if 29 percent of believers are helped by low-risk, low-cost alternatives to medicine, they will become the government-endorsed front line of treatment for those on Obamacare. The federal government is gradually creating a new kind of socioeconomic class, one where actual medicine will be for the wealthy and the rest have to try alternatives like yoga class. 

Ironically, wellness alternatives that were once for the rich will be for the poor.  That means the Sneetches will have to buy new stars.