Twenty-three per cent of the Swiss adult population are using complementary medicine

Klein, Sabine; Wolf, Ursula (2011). Twenty-three per cent of the Swiss adult population are using complementary medicine (Unpublished). In: 4th European Congress for Integrative Medicine.

Aim of the study
Various forms of complementary medicine (CM) play an important role in the Swiss health care system, they are appreciated by a majority of the population and mostly used complementarily rather than alternatively to conventional medicine. This study investigates, how many people in Switzerland are actually being treated with CM, and what the most popular methods of CM are.
Data of the Swiss Health Survey 2007 were obtained from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. This survey is performed every 5 years amongst a sample of the Swiss resident population above 15 years of age. It consists of a telephone interview followed by a written questionnaire (2007: 18'760 and 14'432 respondents, respectively) and includes questions about people's state of health, general living conditions, lifestyle, health insurance and usage of health services.
23.0% of the Swiss adult population (women: 30.5%, men: 15.2%) used CM during the 12 months before the survey. Homeopathy (6.4%), osteopathy (5.4%) and acupuncture (4.9%) were the most popular methods. The average number of treatments within 12 months for these three methods was 3.1, 3.5 and 6.6, respectively. For treatments with homeopathy and acupuncture, medical practitioners were more commonly consulted than non-medical practitioners, for treatments with osteopathy no difference was found.
By means of logistic regression, CM users and non-users were compared. There were significant differences in the use of CM between genders, age groups, levels of education and areas of living. Women, people aged 25 to 64 years, and people with higher education used CM more commonly than men, people below 25 or above 64 years of age, or those with poorer education. Lake Geneva region and central Switzerland had a higher proportion of CM users than the other regions.
While 2 years ago, 67.0% of the Swiss population approved a referendum in favour of CM, we find that 23.0% are in fact using it. Current political discussions focus on effectiveness, cost effectiveness and suitability of CM to decide which methods should be permanently covered by the basic health insurance.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)

UniBE Contributor:

Klein, Sabine and Wolf, Ursula


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Sabine Klein

Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2014 07:41

Last Modified:

26 Apr 2017 02:28


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