Summary and Conclusions
The most commonly used CAM therapies in Europe that are practised by medical doctors are acupuncture, homeopathy, phytotherapy, anthroposophic medicine, naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, osteopathy and chiropractic.
Due to a great variety of medical cultures and traditions in different parts of Europe, CAM looks back on a well-established tradition in some countries or is hardly recognized and available in others.
The regulatory status of CAM is complicated by the different models applied in the EU Member States to provide medical services in their respective countries. CAM is primarily provided by physicians in Middle and Southern Europe, whilst the practice of CAM outside of regulated health care is illegal and violations are considered an offence. By contrast, in Northern Europe the practice of CAM by non-medically qualified practitioners is allowed which has led to a situation where treatment providers outside of the established health service constitute the core CAM providers.
The extent to which countries have established a statutory regulation of CAM and how such regulation is performed varies widely. Some countries have government-administered regulations or laws about the practice of CAM in general, some regulate specific CAM therapies, while still others have no CAM regulation at all.
In 18 of 29 EU and EEA countries specific CAM therapies are statutorily regulated although wide variations exist throughout Europe regarding the types of CAM that are regulated. In some countries some CAM therapies are recognised as specific medical qualifications.
In a few countries diplomas for doctors who have taken a full course of a particular CAM modality are issued and recognised by the national medical associations/chambers/councils. However, there is no mutual recognition of diplomas among the various Member States, which impedes the free movement of CAM doctors.
Approximately 145,000 medical doctors in the European Union have taken training and education in one or more CAM modalities.
Familiarisation courses about CAM therapies are provided in the medical undergraduate curriculum as a part of a course on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in several countries. These courses are optional in most countries, obligatory in some.
Postgraduate training courses in specific CAM therapies are provided to doctors at several universities in the majority of EU Member States, in other countries at private teaching centres only.Professorial chairs of CAM exist in at least 9 EU Member States, in some Member States also chairs in a specific CAM therapy.