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Nearly 20 years after the Israel Medical Association opposed a public commission’s recommendations to recognize complementary medicine practitioners, the two-day Jerusalem International Scientific Conference on Integrative Medicine is opening at the International Convention Center on Wednesday.
Hundreds of doctors and complementary medicine practitioners who are not physicians from 37 countries including Israel will attend the unusual event, to which only professionals in the field have been invited and which is closed to the general public.
There will be physicians who believe complementary medical techniques
can be helpful in preventing and treating disease, while others are
resigned to learning more about therapies, most not evidence-based, that
are nevertheless popular among the public and even offered by the
health funds (for a fee).
Ninety lecturers will speak, and complementary medicine practitioners in
the fields of acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, reflexology,
shiatsu and others will present clinical studies they claim demonstrate
success in treating patients.
According to surveys, Israelis went to nearly three million
consultations with complementary medicine practitioners last year – 25
percent more than in 2008.
About a quarter of the population uses such services, compared to 40% of
adults and 12% of children in the US and 70% of the public in Germany.
Numerous hospitals, professional medical societies, the Health Ministry
and integrative and complementary medicine institutions are partners in
Since the government refused to accept the recommendations of the Elon
Commission on Complementary Medicine due to IMA opposition,
complementary medicine techniques and practitioners were ignored by the
Health Ministry, which did not set standards or enforce regulations that
only physicians and other licensed health professionals could treat
As a result, today, anything goes, and there are many charlatans making false claims.