Communication of professional literature amongst European Acupuncturists affiliated to the ETCMA (European Traditional Chinese Medicine Association)

Explorative survey amongst Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in Europe Johanna M.A.E. Biemans, Stephen Birch, Ines M. Bruentrupe


The primary aim of the survey was to explore the information needs and information seeking behavior amongst the ETCMA members concerning professional literature (scientific as well as practical background knowledge).


A web-based survey comprising of 18 questions with a total of 25 items was carried out in 15 affiliated associations in 14 countries in June 2012. The survey consisted out of 4 parts: (1) Demographics, (2) Level of interest in and availability of professional literature, (3) Insight, needs and opinions on EBM (Evidence Based Medicine), and (4) Awareness of the science workshop at the TCM Rothenburg Congress.


2590 (25%) from 10,428 members completed the questionnaire, of which 58.8% was female. More than 50% of the respondents from eleven out of fourteen countries indicate an interest in more education on reading scientific literature. Case studies (range 3.19/4–3.86/4) are preferred compared to scientific (range 2.78/4–3.59/4) or philosophical knowledge (range 3.0/4–3.56/4). Exchange with colleagues (range 2.95/4–3.64/4) is preferred compared to deepening knowledge (range 2.57/4–3.05/4) in the theoretical spectrum. 61% has no knowledge of the EBM model and base clinical decisions on personal experience (range 3.47–3.82) and practical skills (range 3.47–3.74) compared to clinical practice guidelines (range 2.6–3.27).


Due to heterogeneity in structure and size of the affiliated associations no strict conclusions can be made. We can conclude though that TCM practitioners rely mostly on practical knowledge and have less tendency toward more scientifically oriented models like the EBM model. We find this reflected in information needs as well as information seeking behavior patterns.

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