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CAMbrella work package 1

Terminology and definitions of CAM methods

The overall aim of this work package was to develop a pragmatic definition of “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM), that is acceptable Europe-wide, and could be used systematically to research the prevalence and legal status of CAM in Europe, as well as to investigate the citizens’ demands and providers’ perspectives related to CAM in general and within the CAMbrella coordinating activities.

The specific objectives were to:
• identify and analyse the existing terms and definitions of CAM used in scientific publications of researchers and by organisations (e.g. World Health Organisation – WHO)
• integrate aspects of terms and definitions of CAM used in surveys about its use or prevalence and publications of stakeholders
• provide a core set of CAM disciplines and methods used consistently all over Europe and an additional list of country specific CAM disciplines and methods to take into account the different traditions and cultures of the EU member states
• develop a practical pan-European definition of CAM, its disciplines and respective methods.

The definition of CAM is as follows:
CAM, as utilized by European citizens, represents a variety of different medical systems and therapies based on the knowledge, skills and practices derived from theories, philosophies and experiences used to maintain and improve health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, relieve or treat physical and mental illnesses. CAM therapies are mainly used outside conventional health care, but in many countries some therapies are being adopted or adapted by conventional health care.

The complete work package report can be downloaded here.

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