Latest developments in Belgium of Acupuncture

by Peter De Vilder, secretary of BAF

(by Peter De Vilder, secretary of BAF)

In 1999, the former Minister of Health Marcel Colla introduced a bill to recognize 4 complementary therapies (know as the  Colla Law). These were homeopathy, chiropractic, osteopathy and acupuncture. This bill was never enacted by successive governments.

The goal of the regulation of this law is to provide a safe therapy for patients and a protective framework for acupuncturists, so that they can work in a professional way.

Thanks to the osteopaths (lawsuit against Minister Onkelinx), in 2012 the Chamber of acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and osteopathy and a joined commission was established to execute the law Colla.

The chamber for acupuncture, drawn up by the Minister, has 6 representatives of the universities (6 medical doctors) and 6 representatives of the recognized professional associations.  BAF, EUFOM and ABADIC (all members of ETCMA) serve in the chamber for acupuncture.

In this chamber for acupuncture advice and guidance are formulated for the Minister of Health. In these decisions (which are unanimous) BAF, EUFOM and ABADIC strive for the use of TCM, while the doctors and universities consider EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) to be more important.

The final advice suggests that acupuncture may be used by doctors, physical (Physio)therapists and nurses. For the indications of acupuncture, they refer to the list drawn up by the WHO.

Currently we have a new Minister of Health, Dr. Maggy De Block (who is a medical doctor herself). She has postponed the execution of the law Colla indefinitely. However, she promised to take into account the advice and she also only wants acupuncture if it has been proven to work by evidence based medicine .

The problem of EBM is that although extensive research has been done regarding acupuncture, there is no agreement whether the scientific research meets the standards. According to one source, there is more than sufficient evidence for acupuncture and according to other sources, there is little solid scientific research.

Another problem is that scientific research according to Western medicine is not applicable for the more holistic systems thinking of acupuncture.

I am convinced that ETCMA can play their part by participating in the communication between the different organisations (professional associations, ministries, WHO, CAM ...).  Also collecting solid scientific research could be a task for ETCMA. Each Member of ETCMA would have the benefit of using it….

And in the meantime, in Belgium we wait until .....

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