Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) refers to a range of therapies, treatments, and practices that are not considered part of conventional Western medicine. These practices aim to promote wellness, prevent illness, and treat various health conditions. In Portugal, CAM has a growing presence and is becoming increasingly popular among the population.
CAM Practices in Portugal
Portugal has a diverse range of CAM practices available, including:
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine based on the principle of “like cures like.” It involves using highly diluted substances that would cause symptoms in a healthy person to treat similar symptoms in someone who is ill. Homeopathy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, asthma, and digestive disorders.
In Portugal, homeopathy is widely practiced, and there are many registered practitioners. The Portuguese Association of Homeopathic Physicians (Associação Portuguesa de Médicos Homeopatas or APMH) is the main professional organization for homeopathic practitioners in the country. Their website (http://www.apmh.pt/) provides information about homeopathy, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a homeopathic practitioner in your area.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to promote the flow of energy (known as “qi”) throughout the body and can help treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and digestive disorders.
In Portugal, acupuncture is widely practiced, and there are many registered practitioners. The Portuguese Acupuncture Society (Sociedade Portuguesa de Acupunctura or SPA) is the main professional organization for acupuncture practitioners in the country. Their website (https://www.spacupunctura.pt/) provides information about acupuncture, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find an acupuncture practitioner in your area.
Herbal medicine involves the use of plant extracts and other natural substances to treat various health conditions. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine and has been used for centuries to promote wellness and treat illness.
In Portugal, there are many herbal medicine practitioners available, and the Portuguese Association of Phytotherapy (Associação Portuguesa de Fitoterapia or APFIT) is the main professional organization for herbal medicine practitioners in the country. Their website (http://www.apfit.pt/) provides information about herbal medicine, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a herbal medicine practitioner in your area.
Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy that focuses on the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. It involves the use of spinal manipulation and other techniques to alleviate pain and improve function.
In Portugal, chiropractors are not as widely available as in other countries, and there is currently no formal regulatory body for chiropractic in the country.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of medicine that originated in China and involves the use of natural remedies, such as herbs, acupuncture, and massage, to treat various health conditions. TCM is based on the principle of balancing the body’s qi (energy) to achieve optimal health.
In Portugal, TCM is not as widely available as in other countries, and there are few registered practitioners.
Regulation of CAM in Portugal
In Portugal, the regulation of CAM practices varies depending on the type of practice. Some CAM practices, such as homeopathy and acupuncture, are recognized by the government and regulated by professional organizations. Other practices may not be formally recognized or regulated by the government.
Integration of CAM and Conventional Medicine
The Portuguese healthcare system has a growing interest in integrating CAM and conventional medicine. Some hospitals and healthcare centers in the country offer CAM services alongside conventional medical treatments. Additionally, some medical schools in Portugal now offer courses on CAM practices, which can help healthcare professionals understand and integrate these practices into their treatment plans.
Insurance Coverage for CAM
In Portugal, most CAM services are not covered by the public healthcare system. However, some private health insurance companies offer coverage for CAM therapies, such as acupuncture and homeopathy. These services may be covered under a supplementary insurance plan, which is optional and requires an additional premium.
Complementary and alternative medicine is a growing field in Portugal, providing people with more options for wellness and treatment of health conditions. Homeopathy, acupuncture, and herbal medicine are widely practiced and recognized by the government, while other CAM practices, such as chiropractic and TCM, may not be as widely available.
Regulation of CAM practices in Portugal varies depending on the type of practice, with some practices being formally recognized and regulated by the government and others not. The Portuguese healthcare system is increasingly interested in integrating CAM and conventional medicine, and some hospitals and healthcare centers in the country offer CAM services alongside conventional medical treatments.
Most CAM services are not covered by the public healthcare system in Portugal, but some private health insurance companies offer coverage for these therapies. Overall, CAM is becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare landscape in Portugal, providing people with more options for wellness and treatment of health conditions.