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The CAMbrella project was a pan-European research and coordination project to map the supply and demand side of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and to plan further research strategy.[1][2][3]. The acronym "CAMbrella" stands for an umbrella project of complementary and alternative medicine (umbrella of Complementary and Alternative Medicine).[4] The goal of this collaboration project was to look into the present situation of CAM in Europe in all its relevant aspects and to create a sustained network of researchers in the field that can assist and carry through scientific endeavours in the future.[1] The project period was 1.1.2010 to 31.12.2012. The budget was 1.667.439,80€, the EU contribution to it 1.498.597€. The project took place in the 7th Framework Programme of the EU (FP7). It was developed by a consortium of 12 international CAM centers[5] or 16 academic research groups from 12 European countries.[6] It was coordinated by the Klinikum rechts der Isar of the Technical University of Munich.[3]


  • To develop a consensus-based terminology widely accepted in Europe to describe CAM interventions
  • To create a knowledge base that facilitates our understanding of patient demand for CAM and its prevalence
  • To review the current legal status and policies governing CAM provision in the EU
  • To explore the needs and attitudes of EU citizens with respect to CAM
  • To develop an EU network involving centres of research excellence for collaborative research


  • WP 1: CAM terminology and definitions[8]
  • WP 2: Legal status and regulations[9]
  • WP 3: Needs and attitudes of citizens
  • WP 4: CAM use – patients‘ perspective
  • WP 5: CAM use – providers‘ perspective[10]
  • WP 6: CAM research – the global perspective
  • WP 7: Review of CAM research methodology + Roadmap for European CAM research[11]
  • WP 8: CAMbrella strategy for dissemination of project findings and future networking[12][13]
  • WP 9: Management

WP 1: CAM terminology and definitions


Worldwide, the terms used for defining CAM, CAM methods and procedures, or therapies related to CAM vary greatly. A certain method, procedure or therapy might be regarded as part of CAM in one country while in other countries the very same procedure might not be related to CAM, but to normal life style, conventional medicine, psychology or philosophy. [...] There are numerous other terms which are widely used as synonyms for 'CAM', along with terms used outside the scientific literature, including, for instance 'experience-based medicine' (Erfahrungsheilkunde), 'holistic medicine' (Ganzheitsmedizin), 'natural medicine' (medicina naturista, Naturheilkunde), and 'other medicine' (médecine deuxième). Other terms include ‘traditional medicine (TM)’ and ‘person-centred medicine.’

There is a great variety of classification systems for the many disciplines and methods covered by CAM and it is almost impossible to place them into a hierarchy. No real operational definition is available to determine which of them would relate to CAM. After long and most intensive discussions the working group agreed on a pragmatic definition (see below) based on the WHO definition from 2000 which addresses the issue of an overlap between CAM and conventional medicine:

‘CAM, as utilized by European citizens, represents a variety of different medical systems and therapies based on the knowledge, skills and practices derived from theories, philosophies and experiences used to maintain and improve health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, relieve or treat physical and mental illnesses. CAM therapies are mainly used outside conventional health care, but in many countries some therapies are being adopted or adapted by conventional health care’[14][8]

The following methods are listed as the most relevant[14]:

Cooperation partners

  • Vienna International Academy for Holistic Medicine (Austria) B. Reiter, S. Schunder-Tatzber, S. Zopf
  • Universitetet i Tromsø (Norway) V. Fønnebø, S. Wiesener, L. Salomonsen
  • University of Bern (Switzerland) K. von Ammon, M. Frei-Erb
  • University of Southampton (UK) G. Lewith, F. Bishop, S. Eardley
  • Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Germany) B. Brinkhaus, F. Fischer
  • University of Zurich (Switzerland) B. Uehleke, J. Melzer, R. Saller
  • Comitato Permanente di Consenso e Coordinamento per le Medicine Non-Convenzionali (Italy) P. Roberti di Sarsina, I. Iseppato
  • Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) T. Falkenberg, J. Hoek
  • Université Paris 13 (France) G. Delahaye, P. Escure, A. Lazarus
  • Servicio Andaluz de Salud (Spain) J. Vas, K. Santos Rey
  • Agenzia sanitaria e sociale regionale - Regione Emilia-Romagna (Italy) F. Cardini, S. Florindi
  • Pécsi Tudományegyetem - University of Pecs (Hungary) G. Hegyi
  • Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie Victor Babes (Romania) S. Dragan, S. Ursoniu
  • Syddansk Universitet (Denmark) H. Johannessen, N. Nissen, J. Sørensen, J. Madsen
  • Bayerische Forschungsallianz gemeinnützige GmbH (Germany) F. Baumhöfener, M. Dlaboha



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Von Ammon, K (2012), "Health technology Assessment (HTA) and a map of CAM provision in the EU.", Final Report of CAMbrella Work Package 5
  2. Sützl-Klein, Hedda (2019), "39.2 Komplementär- und integrativmedizinische Forschungsprojekte und Horizont 2020 (8. Europäisches Forschungsförderprogramm)", in Frass, Michael; Krenner, Lothar (eds.), Integrative Medizin, evidenzbasierte komplementärmedizinische Methodenlehre, Berlin: Springer, p. 997, ISBN 978-3-662-48878-2
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Final Report Summary - CAMbrella - A pan-European research network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)". CORDIS - EU research results. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  4. "EU project Cambrella". Competence Center for Complementary Medicine and Naturopathy (KoKoNat), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  5. "Internationale Netzwerke". Wiener Internationale Akademie für Ganzheitsmedizin (in Deutsch). Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  6. Weidenhammer, Wolfgang (2011). "EU FP7 Project 'CAMbrella' to Build European Research Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine" (PDF). Forsch Komplementmed. Karger. 18: 69–76. doi:10.1159/00032731. ISSN 1661-4119.
  7. Wolfgang Weidenhammer. "The CAMbrella project; status and potential impact".
  8. 8.0 8.1 "CAMbrella Final Report; Work package 1: Terminology and definitions of CAM methods". INSTITUTE FOR TCIM/CAM. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  9. "CAMbrella Final Report; Work package 2: Legal status and regulations". INSTITUTE FOR TCIM/CAM. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  10. "Final Report of CAMbrella Work Package 5 (leader: Klaus von Ammon); Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and a map of CAM provision in the EU". 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  11. "CAMbrella Final Report; Work package 7: The Roadmap for CAM research in Europe". INSTITUTE FOR TCIM/CAM. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  12. "Final Report of CAMbrella Work Package 8 (leader: Bettina Reiter); CAMbrella strategy for dissemination of project findings and future networking". 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  13. "CAMbrella Final Report; Work package 8: Communication and dissemination". INSTITUTE FOR TCIM/CAM. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Falkenberg, T (2012). "Towards a Pan-European Definition of Complementary and Alternative Medicine – a Realistic Ambition?". Forsch Komplementmed. 19(suppl 2): 6–8. doi:10.1159/000343812.
  15. Walach, H.; Weidenhammer, W., eds. (2012). "Insights into the Current Situation of CAM in Europe: Major Findings of the EU Project CAMbrella". Forschende Komplementärmedizin. doi:10.1159/isbn.978-3-318-02275-9. ISBN 978-3-318-02274-2.