The WHO Traditional Medicine strategy (2014- 2023) has two keys goals: “to support Member States in harnessing the potential contribution of T&CM to health, wellness and people-centred health care and to promote the safe and effective use of T&CM through the regulation of products, practices, and practitioners”. In order to achieve those objectives, the strategy proposes that the Member States “building the (TCIM) knowledge base and formulating national policies ".
The WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy proposes that Member States should strive to:
- understand and recognize the role and possibilities of traditional and complementary medicine; and
- strengthen the knowledge base, gather scientific evidence and preserve resources.
In a survey conducted by WHO, Member States reported that one of the greatest difficulties they face is the lack of data in research. The United States is a research leader in TCIM. However, most countries in the Region of the Americas have not invested enough on strengthening national research capabilities.
One of the purposes of this site is to build an useful collection of relevant academic resources for junior, senior and in-training researchers. Such resources are gathered, classified, and collected in this section. The TCIM Americas Network is working on developoing online courses and other relevant academic resources for TCIM researchers in the Region.
Research in Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine, and related practices (TCIM) requires the international scientific collaboration, to strengthen the development of capacities and training in research, as well as the construction of research methodologies adapted to the TCIM.
Currently, there are different institutions, research teams and academic projects that promote research in the field of TCIM. These stakeholders have led to the creation of collaborative spaces, inter-institutional work, which has allowed the growth of the number and the quality of investigations in TCIM.
Below is a list of institutions and projects that provide resources to strengthen research capabilities in MTCI.
World Health Organization – WHO
WHO published a series of training guidelines and benchmarks to support Member States in their efforts to achieve quality training. In the link you will find useful documents to strengthen research and training capacities in TCIM, both general and specific issues.
Please see more:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NNCIH)
In the United States, the National Institute of Health created a specific unit to guarantee the research of TCIM. The first name of the Center in 1991 was Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), then in 1998 it was re-established as the, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), and from 2014 it is known as, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NNCIH). Currently the NCCIH supports different lines of research in TCIM, provides support through strategies designed to strengthen the abilities and skills of researchers of these lines, in addition to fellowship programs, postdoctoral fellowships for internships, and a support important financial support from the government.
See more information: https://nccih.nih.gov/health.
Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health
The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health, is formed by more than 70 academic medical centers and associated institutions. It aims to support and advise academic leaders, teachers and students on different topics of the implementation of integrative medicine such as education, research and clinical care. Additionally, the Consortium contributes to disseminate information of rigorous scientific research, educational curricula in integral health and sustainable models of clinical care, and inform health care policies from the integrative medicine approach.
More information in: https://www.imconsortium.org.
The space of the Cochrane Collaboration dedicated to the field of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (CAM) was established in 1996, with the aim of supporting and promoting systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials in TCIM areas such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and mind-body therapy.
More information in: http://cam.cochrane.org/.
Australian Research Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM:UTS)
The Australian Research Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM: UTS) is a research center, with an innovative proposal in the field of public health of the Faculty of Health of the University of Technology of Sydney (UTS). The ARCCIM seeks to support and promote rigorous and quality scientific research in the field of traditional, complementary and integrative medicine, its approach in contemporary health systems and in the global health challenges.
National Center for Integrative Primary Healthcare (NCIPH)
The National Center for Integrative Primary Healthcare (NCIPH) was created by the National Center for Comprehensive Health Care of the University of Arizona (AzCIM) and the Academic Consortium of Medicine and Integrative Health (The Consortium) in cooperation with the Administration of Resources and Health Services (HRSA). Its main objective is to take into account all health professionals in the area. of primary care to advance in the incorporation of the curriculum of integrative health (IH) based on competence, evidence, best practices in education and practice of the primary care.
More information in: https://nciph.org/.
National Policy on Integrative and Complementary Practices in Health (PNPIC)
The Ministry of Health of Brazil, supports the implementation of the TCIM, through the “Política Nacional de Práticas Integrativas e Complementares em Saúde PNPCI” (National Policy of Integrative and Complementary Practices in Health). They have resources to encourage and strengthen learning and research by health professionals in the area of integrative and complementary practices in health.
More information: http://dab.saude.gov.br/portaldab/ape_pic.php?conteudo=cursos.
Network for the Ibero-American Integration of Medical Research in Homeopathy (REDIMEH)
REDIMEH is the first attempt to integrate researchers from Ibero-American countries in the area of homeopathy. It aims to be an organization that generates medical research with a positive impact on public health. REDIMEH was created in May 2009.
More information: http://redimeh.org/.
Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM)
The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) was established in October 1998, with the objective of coordinating and linking the activities of the Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis Division of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The OCCAM is responsible for the NCI’s research agenda in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer symptoms.
More information: https://cam.cancer.gov/.
“CAM-Cancer” is an open access web resource that aims to provide health professionals with evidence-based information on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for cancer, and seeks to develop an authorized international network on CAM in cancer: the CAM-Cancer collaboration.
More information: http://www.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries.
National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC)
In Australia, in 1992 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), consolidated a strategy for research in TCIM, and since then have conducted several studies and reviews in the area. Since 1966, they have produced articles published in indexed journals around the world.
More information: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/.
National Institute of Complementary Medicine of Western Sydney University (NICM)
The National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) was established to provide leadership and support for research in complementary medicine. It has the support of governments. It has among its objectives to ensure that Australians have access to reliable tests of medications and complementary treatments of wide use. The NICM conducts guided research to improve knowledge and understanding of natural and traditional medicine and promotes evidence-based comprehensive health care.
More information: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/nicm.
Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI)
The Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) is an international charity created to address the need for high-quality scientific research in homeopathy. The HRI aims to promote research in homeopathy, using the most rigorous methods available, and seeks to communicate the results of this work beyond the usual academic circles.
More information: https://www.hri-research.org/.
Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM)
In Europe, the Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM) was created in the United Kingdom in 1983, with the aim of developing research in MTCI and disseminating the results of this. In its agenda it has different resources to strengthen research capacities in complementary medicine, such as journals, courses, consultancies, and scientific meetings.
More information: https://www.rccm.org.uk/.
AYUSH Research portal
The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Sidha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), of the Government of India, has developed a database specialized in the AYUSH topic. This database collect the Evidence Based Research Data of AYUSH Systems at Global Level.
For more information see: http://ayushportal.nic.in/.
Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH)
The Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, CCRH is an autonomous organization of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Sidha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), of the Government of India. The CCRH, supports and directs effective and ethical scientific research in the field of Homeopathy, strengthens research capabilities and seeks to disseminate research in homeopathy as a strategy for its global acceptance and implementation in health services.
For more information see: http://www.ijrh.org/aboutus.asp.
National Center for Homeopathy (NCH)
The National Center for Homeopathy, NCH was founded in 1974, and is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health through homeopathy by advancing the use and practice of homeopathy. It aims to support and strengthen education, knowledge and greater access to homeopathy.
More information: http://www.homeopathycenter.org/about-us.
The database of the Clinical Outcome Research in Homeopathy, CORE-Hom is one of the databases specialized in homeopathy, which contains clinical studies of different types, from randomized controlled trials to observational studies. CORE-Hom seeks to ensure that the information entered in the database is the product of an exhaustive and academically rigorous search, and provides information on the quality of the studies it contains.
More information: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/research-databases/core-hom/.
The CAMbrella project was a European network of complementary and alternative medicine research (CAM), which in the period 2010-2012, carried out a research program on the situation of complementary and alternative medicine in Europe. The group consisted of 16 partner institutions from 12 European countries. The project was funded by the European Commission and tasked with assessing the CAM situation in Europe and making recommendations on its viability and its place within the established EU health system.
More information: http://www.cam-europe.eu/cambrella-reports.php.
The CAM-quest database includes research studies in nine therapy categories: acupuncture, anthroposophy, ayurveda, bioenergetics, homeopathy, manual medicine, mind-body medicine, phytomedicine and traditional chinese medicine. Searches can be made for illness, therapy and study design. It is a free access database.
More information: http://www.cam-quest.org/.
The VetCR database, specialized in clinical research in veterinary homeopathy, includes randomized clinical trials, non-randomized clinical trials, observational studies, drug trials, case reports and case series.
More information: https://www.carstens-stiftung.de/datenbanken-und-fachliteratur.html.
If your institution or project with academic resources in research in TCIM, is not in this list, please make us a suggestion of content.
In this section you will find bibliographic references of articles, documents, books and theses, that contribute in the learning in the Research in Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicines, therapies and practices in related health.
WHO documents related to Research in TCIM:
- OMS. Clasificación Estadística Internacional de Enfermedades y Problemas de Salud Conexos: puesta al día sobre la undécima revisión. In Ginebra: Organización Mundial de la Salud; 2016. p. 3. Available from: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB139/B139_7-sp.pdf.
- OMS. The WHO Strategy on Research for Health. 2012, 6 pag. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js21411en/.
- OMS. The Promotion and Development of Traditional Medicine: Report of a WHO Meeting Available: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js7147e/.
- OMS. Traditional Medicine and Health Care Coverage. WHO Headquarters in Geneva. 2010 Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js7146e/.
- OMS. Traditional Medicine Growing Needs and Potential – WHO Policy Perspectives on Medicines, No. 002, May 2002 Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js2293e/.
- OMS. General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine. WHO Headquarters in Geneva. 2000 Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jwhozip42e/.
- OMS. Guidelines for Clinical Research on Acupuncture. World Health Organization – Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO/WPRO). 1995. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jh2948e/.
- OMS. A Proposed Standard International Acupuncture Nomenclature: Report of a WHO Scientific Group. 1991. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jh2947e/.
- OMS. Report of the Working Group on Auricular Acupuncture Nomenclature. WHO Headquarters in Geneva. 1991. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js7144e/.
- OMS. Standard Acupuncture Nomenclature, Second Edition. A Brief Explanation of 361 Classical Acupuncture Point Names and their Multilingual Comparative List. 1993. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js7143e/.
- OMS. Report of a WHO Consultation on Traditional Medicine and AIDS: Clinical Evaluation of Traditional Medicines and Natural Products (Geneva, 26-28 September 1990) Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/h2954e/h2954e.pdf.
- OMS. Report of a WHO Informal Consultation on Traditional Medicine and AIDS: In Vitro Screening for Anti-HIV Activity Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js7153e/.
- OMS. Report of the Consultation on AIDS and Traditional Medicine: Prospects for Involving Traditional Health Practitioners (Francistown, Botswana, 23-27 July 1990) Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jh2955e/.
- OMS. Report of the Inter-Regional Workshop on Intellectual Property Rights in the Context of Traditional Medicine (Bangkok, Thailand, 6-8 December 2000) Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jh2944e/.
- OMS. Research Guidelines for Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Herbal Medicines Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jh2946e/.
- OMS. SARS: Clinical Trials on Treatment Using a Combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js6170e/.
- OMS. WHO/DANIDA Intercountry Course on the Appropriate Methodology for the Selection and Use of Traditional Remedies in National Health Care Programme Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js7152e/.
- OMS. WHO/DANIDA Training Course: the Selection and Use of Traditional Remedies in Primary Health Care (Report of an Inter-Regional Workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/m/abstract/Js7154e/.
Documents Research TCIM:
- NCCIH. Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2017 Apr 25]. Available from: https://nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/about/plans/2011/NCCAM_SP_508.pdf.
- Witt C, Linde K, White A, Lewith GT, Berman B. Clinical research in complementary and integrative medicine : a practical training book. 1st ed. Elsevier, editor. Munich: Urban & Fischer; 2011. 189 p.
- Baer H. The Growing Interest of Biomedicine in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Med Anthropol Q [Internet]. 2002 [cited 2017 Apr 17];16(4):403–5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12500610.
- Fu J-Y, Zhang X, Zhao Y-H, Huang M-H, Chen D-Z. Bibliometric analysis of complementary and alternative medicine research over three decades. Scientometrics [Internet]. 2011 Aug 16 [cited 2017 Apr 23];88(2):617–26. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11192-011-0391-0.
- Tilburt JC, Curlin FA, Kaptchuk TJ, Clarridge B, Bolcic-Jankovic D, Emanuel EJ, et al. Alternative medicine research in clinical practice: a US national survey. Arch Intern Med [Internet]. 2009 Apr 13 [cited 2017 Apr 21];169(7):670–7. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19364996.
- Robinson N, Newman-Turner MR, Pilkington K. Building the evidence for CAM—30 years on [Internet]. Vol. 5, European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2013 [cited 2017 Apr 2]. p. 465–8. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876382013001625.
- Queiroz M de S. O paradigma mecanicista da medicina ocidental moderna: uma perspectiva antropológica. Rev Saude Publica [Internet]. 1986 Aug [cited 2017 Apr 7];20(4):309–17. Available from: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-89101986000400007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=en.
- Cardini F, Wade C, Regalia A, Gui S, Li W. Clinical research in traditional medicine: Priorities and methods. Complement Ther Med [Internet]. 2006;14(4):282–7. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.unal.edu.co/science/article/pii/S0965229906000720.
- Fønnebø V, Grimsgaard S, Walach H, Ritenbaugh C, Norheim AJ, MacPherson H, et al. Researching complementary and alternative treatments–the gatekeepers are not at home. BMC Med Res Methodol [Internet]. 2007;7:7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291355.
- Nahin RL, Straus SE. Research into complementary and alternative medicine: problems and potential. Br Med J [Internet]. 2001;322(7279):161–4. Available from: http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7279/161.
- Teut M, Linde K. Scientific case research in complementary and alternative medicine-A review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2013.
- Kane M. Research made easy in complementary and alternative medicine [Internet]. Churchill Livingstone; 2004 [cited 2017 Apr 18]. 215 p. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780443070334.
- Ritenbaugh C, Verhoef M, Fleishman S, Boon H, Leis A. Whole hole system research: a discipline for studying Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Altern Ther Heal Med [Internet]. 2003;9(4):32. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=awh&AN=10206817&site=ehost-live.
- Cassidy CM. Social science theory and methods in the study of alternative and complementary medicine. J Altern Complement Med. 1995;2(1). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9395601.
- Veziari Y, Leach MJ, Kumar S. Barriers to the conduct and application of research in complementary and alternative medicine: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med [Internet]. 2017 Mar 23 [cited 2017 Apr 21];17(1):166. Available from: http://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-017-1660-0.
- Verhoef MJ, Lewith G, Ritenbaugh C, Boon H, Fleishman S, Leis A. Complementary and alternative medicine whole systems research: Beyond identification of inadequacies of the RCT. Complement Ther Med. 2005;13(3):206–12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16150375.
- Danell J-AB, Danell R. Publication activity in complementary and alternative medicine. Scientometrics [Internet]. 2009 Aug 16 [cited 2017 Apr 23];80(2):539–51. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11192-008-2078-8.
- Ernst E. Obstacles to research in complementary and alternative medicine. Med J Aust [Internet]. 2003 Sep 15 [cited 2017 Apr 21];179(6):279–80. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12964907.
- Ahn AC, Nahin RL, Calabrese C, Folkman S, Kimbrough E, Shoham J, et al. Applying principles from complex systems to studying the efficacy of CAM therapies. J Altern Complement Med [Internet]. 2010 Sep [cited 2017 Apr 21];16(9):1015–22. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20715978.
- White A, Alraek T, Lewith G, Liu J-P, Norheim A-J, Steinsbekk A, et al. Reducing the risk of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): Challenges and priorities. Eur J Integr Med [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2017 Apr 2];6(4):404–8. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187638201300142X.
- Power M, Hopayian K. Exposing the evidence gap for complementary and alternative medicine to be integrated into science-based medicine. J R Soc Med [Internet]. 2011 Apr [cited 2017 Apr 21];104(4):155–61. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21502214.
- Bishop FL, Holmes MM. Mixed Methods in CAM Research: A Systematic Review of Studies Published in 2012. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2017 Apr 2];2013:187365. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24454489.
- Ezzo J, Berman BM, Vickers AJ, Linde K. Complementary medicine and the Cochrane Collaboration. JAMA [Internet]. 1998 Nov 11 [cited 2017 Apr 21];280(18):1628–30. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9820271.
- Read K, Candidate MMAS. Starting Points for Evidence-Based CAM ( Complementary and Alternative Medicine ). 2012;2012.
- Robinson N. Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM) [Internet]. About the RCCM. 2015. p. 1. Available from: http://www.rccm.org.uk/node/206
- Moral-Muñoz JA, Cobo MJ, Peis E, Arroyo-Morales M, Herrera-Viedma E. Analyzing the research in Integrative & Complementary Medicine by means of science mapping. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24731913.