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Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Medicine and Ecology Series

The development of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) concept in Bulgaria – introducing a mixed-methods design

Iskra Kapincheva, Desislava Vankova


Introduction: The complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is an innovative and dynamic scientific field in Europe. CAM refers to a group of systems and practices, considered outside the field of conventional medicine, which today, together with health promotion and medical education, are united in the integrative medicine idea.

Aim: The aim of this publication is to present the design of mixed-methods research that investigates the development of CAM in Bulgaria.

Materials and Methods: A convergent parallel mixed-methods design is applied, which consists of three separate parallel phases with equal priority, the data of which are subsequently integrated. The first phase examines CAM in a historical, international and national context. The classical SWOT analysis is applied as a tool for assessment of CAM in Bulgaria. During the second phase (observational multicenter study of chronically ill homeopathic patients), quantitative data was collected using a standardized instrument for subjective health assessment, EQ-5D-3L – Bulgarian version. The third phase involves qualitative research through semi-structured interviews. The target population is parents who have chosen to cure their children with homeopathy.

Conclusion: The presented mix-methods design has been the initiating step of a research project that collects and disseminates solid scientific data on the development of the CAM field in our country. Bulgaria is no longer an "unchartered territory" on the CAM map of Europe. The research continues in the context of the integrative medicine idea, enabling synergetic interactions between all scientifically based educational, preventive and therapeutic approaches in the name of better health and quality of life.



complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), mixed-methods design, Bulgaria

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