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Complementary and alternative medicine provision in Europe - first results approaching reality in an unclear field of practices

Complementary and alternative medicine provision in Europe - first results approaching reality in an unclear field of practices
Complementary and alternative medicine provision in Europe - first results approaching reality in an unclear field of practices
Background: The demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment in the European Union (EU) has led to an increase in the various CAM interventions available to the public. Our aim was to describe the CAM services available from both registered medical practitioners and registered non-medical practitioners.

Methods: Our literature search comprised a PubMed search of any scientific publications, secondary references and so-called grey literature, a search of government websites and websites of CAM organisations to collect data in a systematic manner, and personal communications, e.g., via e-mail contact. Due to the different reliability of data sources, a classification was developed and implemented. This weighted database was condensed into tables and maps to display the provision of CAM disciplines by country, showing the distribution of CAM providers across countries.

Results: Approximately 305,000 registered CAM providers can be identified in the EU (?160,000 non-medical and ?145,000 medical practitioners). Acupuncture (n = 96,380) is the most available therapeutic method for both medical (80,000) and non-medical (16,380) practitioners, followed by homeopathy (45,000 medical and 5,800 non-medical practitioners). Herbal medicine (29,000 practitioners) and reflexology (24,600 practitioners) are mainly provided by non-medical practitioners. Naturopathy (22,300) is dominated by 15,000 (mostly German) doctors. Anthroposophic medicine (4,500) and neural therapy (1,500) are practised by doctors only.

Conclusion: CAM provision in the EU is maintained by approximately 305,000 registered medical doctors and non-medical practitioners, with a huge variability in its national regulatory management, which makes any direct comparison across the EU almost impossible. Harmonisation of legal status, teaching and certification of expertise for therapists would be of enormous value and should be developed.
complementary medicine, economics, effectiveness, physician practitioner, provision, training
1661-4119
37-43
von Ammon, K
fe0f56d9-d350-4911-b76f-6534df138758
Frei-Erb, M
8acc77a9-2feb-486a-bced-ae41e67f5bc3
Cardini, K
f54b0c79-c1fe-459f-8cc7-a482048d5182
Daig, U
af9c6eba-2a00-4c48-9a4e-692102aba2c5
Dragan, S
e98ebfb8-1ff3-4d2b-bf26-2e7901214f57
Hegyi, G
d6af1bc5-d2ce-4241-a591-d7024aba5067
Roberti di Sarsina, P
1b63135c-7779-4011-9504-1b0b63f3822b
Sorensen, J
e0a418d2-08bd-4dc1-b77a-f7a403d776af
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
von Ammon, K
fe0f56d9-d350-4911-b76f-6534df138758
Frei-Erb, M
8acc77a9-2feb-486a-bced-ae41e67f5bc3
Cardini, K
f54b0c79-c1fe-459f-8cc7-a482048d5182
Daig, U
af9c6eba-2a00-4c48-9a4e-692102aba2c5
Dragan, S
e98ebfb8-1ff3-4d2b-bf26-2e7901214f57
Hegyi, G
d6af1bc5-d2ce-4241-a591-d7024aba5067
Roberti di Sarsina, P
1b63135c-7779-4011-9504-1b0b63f3822b
Sorensen, J
e0a418d2-08bd-4dc1-b77a-f7a403d776af
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625

von Ammon, K, Frei-Erb, M, Cardini, K, Daig, U, Dragan, S, Hegyi, G, Roberti di Sarsina, P, Sorensen, J and Lewith, G. (2012) Complementary and alternative medicine provision in Europe - first results approaching reality in an unclear field of practices. [in special issue: Insights into the Current Situation of CAM in Europe: Major Findings of the EU Project CAMbrella] Complementary Medicine Research: Practice, Methods, Perspectives, 19, supplement 2, 37-43. (doi:10.1159/000343129).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: The demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment in the European Union (EU) has led to an increase in the various CAM interventions available to the public. Our aim was to describe the CAM services available from both registered medical practitioners and registered non-medical practitioners.

Methods: Our literature search comprised a PubMed search of any scientific publications, secondary references and so-called grey literature, a search of government websites and websites of CAM organisations to collect data in a systematic manner, and personal communications, e.g., via e-mail contact. Due to the different reliability of data sources, a classification was developed and implemented. This weighted database was condensed into tables and maps to display the provision of CAM disciplines by country, showing the distribution of CAM providers across countries.

Results: Approximately 305,000 registered CAM providers can be identified in the EU (?160,000 non-medical and ?145,000 medical practitioners). Acupuncture (n = 96,380) is the most available therapeutic method for both medical (80,000) and non-medical (16,380) practitioners, followed by homeopathy (45,000 medical and 5,800 non-medical practitioners). Herbal medicine (29,000 practitioners) and reflexology (24,600 practitioners) are mainly provided by non-medical practitioners. Naturopathy (22,300) is dominated by 15,000 (mostly German) doctors. Anthroposophic medicine (4,500) and neural therapy (1,500) are practised by doctors only.

Conclusion: CAM provision in the EU is maintained by approximately 305,000 registered medical doctors and non-medical practitioners, with a huge variability in its national regulatory management, which makes any direct comparison across the EU almost impossible. Harmonisation of legal status, teaching and certification of expertise for therapists would be of enormous value and should be developed.

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More information

Published date: November 2012
Keywords: complementary medicine, economics, effectiveness, physician practitioner, provision, training
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 347568
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/347568
ISSN: 1661-4119
PURE UUID: 92bd104c-78b4-462f-b087-1109588a9f7f

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Date deposited: 25 Jan 2013 15:03
Last modified: 08 Nov 2021 23:31

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Contributors

Author: K von Ammon
Author: M Frei-Erb
Author: K Cardini
Author: U Daig
Author: S Dragan
Author: G Hegyi
Author: P Roberti di Sarsina
Author: J Sorensen
Author: G. Lewith

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