Integrative Medicine under the spotlight in the European Parliament

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Public events last week discussed the added value of integrative therapies to patients

The past week integrative medicine was put in the spotlight of the EU affairs, with three separate online events revealing its benefits to patients and exploring different aspects of the integrative medical field.

In conjunction with conventional treatments, a growing number of people seek out integrative therapies. In fact, 25% of the general population in Europe use Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM), as highlighted by Dr Ton Nicolai, Secretary – General of EUROCAM, during the ‘Webinar on Benefits and results of Complementary Integrative Medicine (CIM) therapies’, held by the Health Working Group of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) at the European Parliament.

The demand for integrative approaches is further demonstrated by the growing number of scientific and clinical studies, providing evidence to the added value of such therapies for the well-being and treatment of patients. Dr. Jorge Perez-Calvo Soler, Director of the Centre for Biological Medicine and Integrative Oncology Unit, Barcelona, emphasised during the event that complementary treatments, specifically in the context of oncology, have a proven record of helping with different conditions, such as pain, nausea, vomiting, and more.

“In attempt to improve the quality of life and prognosis of the cancer patient, a framework of support for complementary medicines/integrative oncology is required at the level of European Institutions.”, concludedDr. Jorge Perez-Calvo Soler in his forward-looking call to action.

Supporting this view, MEP Dolors Montserrat, Co-chair of the Health Working Group of the ENVI Committee, called to foster the use of Integrative Medicine in the health public systems all around Europe and highlighted the need for a European common framework on Integrative Medicine.

The contribution of integrative medicine to the quality of life for patients was further echoed by the online event on ‘Integrative Medicine and Health in Pain Management’, organised by EUROCAM and by the European Parliament Interest Group on Integrative Medicine & Health. The event gathered experts from the integrative medical field together with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), health practitioners, and citizens at large to discuss the potential of complementary treatments to alleviate chronic pain and raise the quality of life for the 20% of the adult European population, who are currently suffering under chronical pain[1].

IVAA, as the international federation representing anthroposophic integrative medical physicians, and a member of EUROCAM, strongly supports the recognition of integrative medicine as an evidence-informed field of patient-centred and holistic practices.

In line with the third event this week drawing focus on integrative medicine within the EU sector, Integrative Oncology – The missing link in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, sponsored by Boiron, IVAA sees Integrative Oncology as a key component to future strategies tackling the burden of cancer and calls on the European Union to make Integrative Oncology and Integrative Medicine fully part of the implementation of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and of the EU4Health Program.

[1] Breivik, H, et al., et al. Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. European Journal of Pain. 2006, Vol. 10, pp. 287–333.