Complementary and Alternative Medicine
CAM - for a healthier Europe

Research in CAM

Research into CAM has increased over the last few decades. This is due to a significant change in how health professionals and patients view and use complementary therapies in human and veterinary medicine. Research is carried out in order to strengthen the scientific base of the individual CAM modalities, improve CAM practice, establish efficacy and verify its clinical effectiveness. An important aim is making its practice more effective and reliable in a wider range of conditions. Basic, clinical, and health services research in CAM are all essential to facilitate the inclusion and integration of CAM in health care systems. Collecting clinical evidence for the effectiveness in various clinical conditions and investigating efficacy and modes of action also leads to more scientific credibility. Cost-effectiveness studies are important to evaluate the impact of CAM treatment on health systems and health insurance costs.

More research on CAM currently exists than is commonly recognised. In fact, the Cochrane Collaboration, an international effort to develop an evidence base for a wide variety of medical therapies, both biomedical (conventional) and CAM, lists more than 6,000 randomized trials for various CAM therapies in its electronic library. Furthermore, a number of Cochrane Collaboration systematic reviews of this worldwide research literature have identified the potential benefits of CAM and related approaches and products for a number of chronic conditions.

At the Cochrane Summaries website over 600 Cochrane reviews related to CAM can be found. Any individual scientific paper related to CAM can be found at CAM on PubMed®, a subset of PubMed at the US National Library of Medicine. 

References to relevant research into individual CAM modalities can be found on the following pages:

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Dr Ton Nicolai
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