For example, now chiropractic is considered mainstream by many, and therefore may not be represented in later studies.
Either way, the almost simultaneous rise to prominence of organic grocery store Whole Foods, book club One Spirit, and catalogs GAIAM (sustainable living) and Pacific Spirit (spiritual gifts), which cater to this market, is pretty overwhelming proof of a phenomenon.
What They Want
Patricia Gift, editorial director of One Spirit, recalls seeing the Dalai Lama speak recently. "He said something along the lines of, 'We all want to live longer, but we don't want to grow old,'" recalls Gift. "People want an extended life, but they don't want it in the same way their grandparents had it."
Gift feels that the stereotypical view of alternative health is "a pretty outdated viewpoint as to who the
market really is."
"The majority of the market," says Gift, "is aging baby boomers, with a fair amount of disposable income, who are well-educated, and are interested in living longer and doing it well."
Though Gift, who places herself in this market's demographic, says she's seen more men becoming involved in alternative health, it's still about 80-percent female.
Book categories that do particularly well for One Spirit include women's health, diet and nutrition, non-Western medicine, and yoga.
Gift suggests exercise props, dietary supplements, vitamins and minerals as products that will appeal to this market. "And certainly," adds Gift, "these are people who are predisposed to go to workshops and lectures, and take classes having to do with these subject areas."
P. S. Khalsa, president of NAM Lists, got into the business selling the mailing list for his New Consciousness Sourcebook, one of the first directories of alternative health practitioners.
He notes that the market "tends to be more liberal politically … and [has] an interest in issues such as the