CAM-research in Denmark has, until recently, been carried out by small groups of dedicated people outside universities, mostly working for free or through small grants from private foundations. The researchers have often experienced serious problems when wishing to continue with their conventional medical career development.
Because of the limited funding, most of the research carried out has been small qualitative studies, with a few RCTs, and literature reviews. Nevertheless, reflexology research is well developed in Denmark because for many years reflexology has been the most frequently used CAM treatment.
In 2000, The Knowledge & Research Centre for Alternative Medicine (ViFAB) was established by the Danish government, after years of pressure from CAM researchers, CAM NGOâ€™s and CAM practitioners.
The medical establishment disagreed, but a parliamentiary majority decided to start the centre which has focused on information, dialogue/bridge building – and facilitating research, but not carrying out projects of their own. Since 2001 the centre has been supporting a number of small research projects, initiated by CAM practitioners and researchers outside universities. The total research budget was 1-3 mill. DKK a year. (6 DKK equals appr. 1 USD).
In 2004, the government gave ViFAB the opportunity to increase the funding and encourage universities to initiate CAM research. Total amount: 10 mill DKK. ( the condition for being eligible were that the researchers would find the resource to co-financing in equal amounts).
The task was to establish a large multidisciplinary research group and set up a scientific framework and a research programme – with a focus on the clinical effects of CAM. Vifab ended up financing (50%) two multidisciplinary research groups, with extraordinary grants from the government:
Centre for Cross-disciplinary Evaluation Studies in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, CCESCAM.
This group are going to establish a â€œbrick-lessâ€ competence-centre on multidisciplinary effect studies on CAM. The involved institutions include University of Aarhus, Aarhus Business School and Odense University Hospital.
Interdisciplinary CAM-Research at the University of Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen.
The research group will explore the potentials of reflexology, acupuncture and meditation in relation to common diseases like cancer and scleroses.
cand.comm, MPH Soren la Cour, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Except for the two multidisciplinary research groups, the largest of the ordinary annual grants from Vifab so far was 2.4 million DKK:
HELZE – a Danish study on Asthma
Homeopathy – Primary care â€“ Reflexology – Evaluation.
A one-year randomised parallel group comparison of usual therapy and the effect of adding reflexology or homeopathy in moderate chronic asthma. The project is a one year study – starting in the beginning of 2006.
The patients will be divided into three groups. One group will receive conventional treatment for their asthma. The second group will in addition receive homeopathic treatment, while the third group in addition will receive reflexology. All patients will be examined regularly for the effects of the treatment.
Â© Jesper Madsen, 2006