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December 2022

The role of alternative medicine: the Finnish experience

Abstract: Finnish law does not recognise alternative medicines. Only medically qualified doctors are allowed to practice medicine, which is interpreted as the right to diagnose and take fees. Acupuncture, however, is accepted as part of orthodox medical practice and is included in the medical curriculum. The field of alternative medicine is heterogeneous; there are ancient systems of traditional folk medicine as well as popular alternative medicine ie. manipulative therapies, natural remedies and spiritual healing. Traditional medicines are used by the older, less well-educated rural population. Newer forms of alternative health care are used by a younger urban population. There are no payments from private or public funds for alternative medicine.

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