OBJECTIVE: To systematically review surveys of 12-month prevalence of visits to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners for five therapies: acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, and medical herbalism. METHODS: Studies were identified via database searches to 2011. Study quality was assessed using a six-item tool. RESULTS: Forty-one surveys across 12 countries were included. Twenty-five (61%) met four of six quality criteria. Prevalence of visits by adults were (median, range): acupuncturists 1.4% (0.2-7.5%, N = 27 surveys), homeopaths 1.5% (0.2-2.9%, N = 20 surveys), osteopaths 1.9% (0.2-4.4%, N = 9 surveys), chiropractors 7.5% (0.3-16.7, N = 33 surveys), medical herbalists 0.9% (0.3-4.7%, N = 14 surveys). Estimates were slightly lower for children and higher for older adults. There was little change over the past 15-20 years. CONCLUSIONS: This review summarises 12-month prevalence of visits to CAM practitioners in Europe, North America, Australia, East Asia, Saudi Arabia and Israel. A small but significant percentage of these general populations visit CAM practitioners each year.