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Association for Natural Medicine in Europe e.V.

... for natural health promotion in Europe!


Association for Natural Medicine in Europe e.V.

... for natural health promotion in Europe!


"Together for a unified Traditional European Medicine"

Traditional European Medicine (TEM) on the way to an European representation?

Report about the special event on 17.6. framed of the 1st TEM Forum in Switzerland, St. Gallen - 12.6.-18.6.2023, by Nora Laubstein

For one week it was all about "Traditional European Medicine": In the five-day online forum, in the well-attended hybrid conference on Saturday in the monastery's Abbey Library, and very practically on Sunday in the botanical garden of the historically significant town of St. Gallen, which has a population of around 80,000. The presidium of the TEM Forum, Dr. Karl-Heinz Steinmetz, Christina Thum and Louis Hutter, had made it their task to present the centuries of history, the cultural heritage, and the current situation in seven European countries and Iran.

In the run-up to the conference, active users and their diagnostic procedures and treatment methods presented themselves to the audience in the online forum. Numerous participants from eight countries, including Liechtenstein, attended the conference on Saturday. It started with a welcome by the members of the Presidium, an introductory assessment of the current situation and the current challenges for the independent healing system of TEM in Europe. Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that the European dimension is different. The respective national and regional circumstances are very different and are fully respected. To elaborate on this, I was given the opportunity to present in my power point the current situation of T&CM in general and TEM in particular. One focus was the presentation of relevant health policy areas and their actors at global and European level.

The host of the conference, Stiftsbibliotekar Cornel Dora, referred to the 1250-year tradition of the library of the St.Gallen monastery. His scientific work can be read, among other things, in his book "Abracadabra Medicine in the Middle Ages".

Sybille Binder (IG-TEN) succeeded in presenting the training concept of a naturopath for TEN in Switzerland in a unique way. It was particularly interesting for me to divide the examination evaluation into three different valences in order to demonstrate quality.

Thomas Spies, naturopath in Germany, presented the situation of TEM in Germany and pointed out the difficulties caused by latent attacks of the skeptic ideologists. He added that the situation was aggravated by the fact that in addition to the abbreviation TEM, terms such as Traditional European Naturopathy or Traditional Occidental Medicine were also used.

Milena Simeoni, the well-known leader of the SALUS network, emphasized the urgent need for interdisciplinary health work in Italy, noted a lack of cooperation between the stakeholders in Italy and stressed the aspect of a Mediterranean TEM - TEMM.

Afterwards, Maud Joliat (IG-MTE) formulated the Hippocratic claim for TEM in French-speaking Switzerland and France.

Prof. Dr. Annette Kerckhoff from the College of Health Education in Berlin presented "Women in Naturopathy" (book tip!), including Grete Flach from Gründau and Magdalena Madaus.

Romana Drobec, BSc, (Optikermeisterin) pointed out that the term „TEM" is already firmly established throughout Austria. The term "Traditional European Healing-TEH" is a regional term whose healing knowledge is recognized as intangible cultural heritage by the Austrian UNESCO.

Shahrzad Irannejad, currently working in Mainz and in close cooperation with the Orient Institute in Istanbul, astonished the audience with the statement that Traditional Iranian Medicine, better Persian Medicine, is nowadays an integral part of the universities in Iran. There, work is being done on a standard terminology for Persian medicine at university level.

Pavla Vackova (tem-peratio) reported from the Czech Republic that the term TEM, Traditional European Medicine, is completely unknown. Furthermore, a close connection to Christian monastic medicine is seen rather negatively. In this context, she referred to the Slavic roots and stated that Chinese medicine, TCM, has a better standing.

The round table discussion that followed dealt with topics such as future networking, further events, possible publications and an e-journal, content-related questions on a common language horizon and possible harmonization, as well as public relations work and possible health policy appearances. After briefly touching on these topics, it became clear that this would mean a lot of work and those present were asked to participate in large numbers.

The expert lectures on Sunday in the Botanical Garden of St.Gallen covered a broad spectrum of methods in TEM. Jens Bomholt, practicing naturopath for TEN in St.Gallen, moderated this day and referred in his impressive lecture to the now already 3200 years lasting history of TEM. The diagram he developed will soon be published on the ANME website with his permission (see also: Walahfried Strabo-Hortulus-Reclam Verlag).

Technical director Christina Thum and her team assured that the film recordings of all contributions made by the PR team of the Austrian association "Silberschnur", specialized in the medial dissemination of traditional European and holistic healing knowledge, will soon be made accessible online. The specially created website of the TEM Forum provides a good overview and will be further developed in the future, among other things to prepare the follow-up meeting, the 2nd TEM Forum on 24 June 2024 in Vienna.

Comment and assessment:

For ANME, the support of such initiatives at European level is a statutory mandate, which we are happy to fulfill with this. This initiative in the form of an informal forum could lead to a real political representation of TEM at European level, whether as an umbrella organization or a professional society. However, this also came out clearly, the difference in relation to an existing TEM profession in Switzerland and a possible profession in the Czech Republic shows how big the differences in national circumstances are - and this is only one example. Whether the Presidium is able and/or willing to achieve a legally relevant formal format in a timely manner? It would be necessary. This first kick-off meeting gives cause for great hope!