Complementary and alternative therapies for patients today and tomorrow

© European Parliament

Complementary and alternative therapies do constitute a part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is now used by every other citizen of the European Union (EU) because more people are seeking natural and gentler treatments, increasingly supporting integration of CAM within existing healthcare systems. This increased demand seems to create a favorable position for CAM within this area. However, CAM practice and its application is different across the continent.

We face a huge diversity in regulation across the EU with regards to who can practice CAM, what qualifications are required and how the services are offered and financed.

For instance, in Austria, France, Spain and Italy, only medical doctors can practice acupuncture while in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, it is widely performed by non-medically qualified practitioners. This "patchy" provision means that EU citizens experience certain barriers that limit their access to CAM.