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

Evidence-based integrative medicine

Desislava Vankova


Introduction: Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the paradigm in the modern healthcare that provides a methodology for hierarchical scientific evaluation of the best evidence for therapeutic and preventive decisions. The three key characteristics of EBM—the highest quality of scientific evidence, clinical empirical experience, and patient values are an essential part of the modern integrative medicine (IM). Integrative medicine applies conventional medicine together with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) based on the ideas of health promotion and disease prevention. In fact, the international debate related to IM is a debate about the scientific evidence of CAM and the equal place of health promotion and preventive medicine in healthcare. These facts determine the aim of the present study—to analyze and present the current development of research in the field of IM, with a focus on CAM and health promotion.

Materials and Methods: A study of the current status of publications in the field of IM was conducted using keywords: "integrative medicine", "evidence-based medicine", registered in PubMed in the period 1990–2020, as well as by keywords "complementary and alternative medicine" at the Cochrane Library.

Evidence-Based IM—the World Experience:

Research in the field of IM has been steadily increasing in quantity and quality over the last 30 years (1990–2020) with 7 301 results in PubMed (keywords “integrative medicine”, filters: meta-analysis, randomized controlled trials—RCTs, systematic review, etc.). The first funded fundamental studies and RCTs were in the field of phytotherapy. Research in the field of other CAM methods and systems is also developing dynamically (ayurveda, yoga, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, and others). For example, in the Cochrane Library, 555 RCTs and 18 systematic reviews in the field of CAM are published (last 2 years).

Conclusion: IM demand is growing in Europe. The Parliamentary Group on Integrative Medicine and Health has been set up in the European Parliament (December 2020). The 13th European Congress of Integrative Medicine (November 2021) has been a serious success for the IM community. From the standpoint of the academic neutrality, IM is considered a new public health and medical category that must be studied and researched at a national level. 


evidence-based medicine (EBM), integrative medicine, public health, social medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), health promotion

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