ANME calls for the recognition of traditional healing knowledge and methods of complementary and alternative medicine as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage" in the sense of the UNESCO Convention of 2003.

Human development is inconceivable without cultural achievements. To this day, this cultural heritage finds expression, for example, in art, fashion, music, medicine or in the preparation of food. It also includes intangible knowledge about plants, spiritual practices, dances and ritual contexts. Traditional healing methods and their remedies have cultural roots, some of which go back several thousand years and still exist today in all continents of this planet.

This cultural heritage belongs to all human beings. It is therefore urgently necessary to protect this heritage and to preserve it in the future as faithfully as possible for European citizens and naturopathic practitioners in Europe. In concrete terms, this would mean inserting a separate paragraph on the subject in the "EU Directive on Patients' Rights", in which the right of access to the "intangible cultural heritage" is laid down. Here is the wording: "Every citizen of the European Union or of a Member State has the right, now and in the future, to benefit from the traditional healing knowledge and methods of T&CM in their original form as intangible cultural heritage.”

Another paragraph to be added is to ensure that professional practitioners can make this heritage available for use throughout Europe. Here is the wording: "Professional practitioners of traditional and complementary medicines are the custodians of this intangible cultural heritage and have the freedom to use this heritage for the benefit of EU citizens today and in the future.” Traditional healing knowledge holds great potential for health care, and the preservation and use of this knowledge could be of benefit to the population. One condition is to promote the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine and its medicines by disseminating the knowledge base and facilitating access to this knowledge.

For this reason, the National Agency for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria initiated a research project in 2006, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Health, Family and Youth as well as by a private insurance company. The first step in the project was to clarify what can be considered traditional healing knowledge in Austria. Then the question was pursued in which areas of life and for which problems traditional knowledge about healing techniques can be relevant for people today.

Another focus of the project was the question of the compatibility of complementary medicine methods with biomedical methods. One of the aims of the project was to provide a precise description of the individual forms of complementary medicine treatment. The methods were assigned to categories so that a systematic overview could be given. In a further step, criteria for the seriousness and safety of the offer were developed, which are a prerequisite for later evaluations.

In addition, an archive for the documentation of complementary medicine methods was established. With publications and the creation of a homepage, this traditional knowledge was generously made available to the public. The target groups for this knowledge are, on the one hand, citizens who can thus make decisions more easily and, on the other hand, professional users who, for example, need to know about complementary treatment methods for their patients. In the meantime, the documentation centre in Vienna has been closed. However, the information on traditional and complementary healing knowledge can still be accessed at the Swiss KAM-Barometer, which was commissioned by the ErfahrungsMedizinisches Register EMR, see: