Sabine D. Klein, Loredana Torchetti, Martin Frei-Erb, Ursula Wolf
Complementary medicine (CM) is popular in Switzerland. Several CM methods (traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, neural therapy, and herbal medicine) are currently covered by the mandatory basic health insurance when performed by a certified physician. Treatments by non-medical therapists are partially covered by a supplemental and optional health insurance. In this study, we investigated the frequency of CM use including the evolvement over time, the most popular methods, and the user profile.
Data of the Swiss Health Surveys 2007 and 2012 were used. In 2007 and 2012, a population of 14,432 and 18,357, respectively, aged 15 years or older answered the written questionnaire. A set of questions queried about the frequency of use of various CM methods within the last 12 months before the survey. Proportions of usage and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for these methods and CM in general. Users and non-users of CM were compared using logistic regression models.
The most popular methods in 2012 were homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. The average number of treatments within the 12 months preceding the survey ranged from 3 for homeopathy to 6 for acupuncture. 25.0% of the population at the age of 15 and older had used at least one CM method in the previous 12 months. People with a chronic illness or a poor self-perceived health status were more likely to use CM. Similar to other countries, women, people of middle age, and those with higher education were more likely to use CM. 59.9% of the adult population had a supplemental health insurance that partly covered CM treatments.
Usage of CM in Switzerland remained unchanged between 2007 and 2012. The user profile in Switzerland was similar to other countries, such as Germany, United Kingdom, United States or Australia.