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Bavaria establishes department dealing with integrative medicine

27 Oct 2020

The state of Bavaria (Bayern) in South East Germany has announced the establishment of a new department within the Ministry of Health with a focus on integrative medicine and made a commitment to establish a Chair in Integrative Health at a university in Bavaria.

This move follows a growing trend towards integrative medicine, which combines elements from various scientific and medical disciplines into an overall concept with the aim of allowing patients access to a broad choice of individually adapted solutions. In announcing these steps, Bavaria follows similar efforts in Baden-Württemberg; both states come in line with the governments of India and Switzerland.

Klaus Holetschek, State Secretary for Health and Care explained the decision in a press communication (our translation): “The aim of 'integrative medicine' is to use the possibilities of conventional medicine and naturopathy in the best possible way in a holistic approach. In addition, integrative medicine aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and thus prevent chronic diseases caused by lack of exercise, malnutrition and stress. My goal is to further strengthen integrative medicine in Bavaria. I am therefore very pleased that the State Ministry for Health and Care will have its own department dedicated to this important topic in the future.”

The State Secretary spoke of the importance of research and the investment the State department has made in this field so far: “Modern medicine requires a patient-oriented health system in which scientific and natural medicine are on an equal footing. The future lies in the meaningful cooperation of conventional and natural medicine therapy to form integrative medicine.” He referred to the study, ‘Integrative Medicine in Bavaria 2020’ sponsored by the Bavarian Ministry of Health, and carried out at the University Hospital of Würzburg in cooperation with the Clinic for Integrative Medicine at the Bamberg Hospital; the study focuses on naturopathic applications and self-help strategies. Holetschek explained: "The aim of the study is to gain knowledge about the range and acceptance of naturopathic procedures and lifestyle interventions in various specialist areas."

In speaking of the commitment to establish a Chair in Integrative Health at a university in Bavaria, he said: "In the field of integrative medicine, we must continue to advance and expand research. We need to do more research into natural healing methods; they will develop even more in the near future. We are already on the right track here. In the past few decades, the population has been offered a wide range of healing methods which, due to their very different and often unexplored modes of action and thus their therapeutic value, require intensive and competence-based research. The usability of naturopathic active ingredients and modes of action - in conjunction with scientific medicine - is not sufficiently well known up to now. A Chair for Integrative Health will help produce in-depth knowledge of these widespread naturopathic practices and methods and examine their use for everyday therapeutic use, because one thing is clear: the demand for natural medicine is very high."

The head of the new department (Referat 74) will be Elisabeth Nordgauer-Ellmaier, whose responsibilities include health networks, medicinal rehabilitation, spas and integrative medicine.

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