Introduction: Complementary therapy is implemented in Switzerland on a legal basis (i.e. by constitution) and can be reimbursed if offered either by physicians or by private health insurance coverage from non-medical therapists. This survey wanted to explore different types of interventions across Switzerland and to identify the most relevant complaints treated by therapists, their job satisfaction and satisfaction concerning the collaboration with medical doctors.
Methods: This cross sectional study of therapists registered in the Experience Medicine Register (EMR) was conducted as online survey in 2017 in Switzerland in three different languages. Therapists first selected one possible treatment option as their most often used intervention for their patients. Afterwards, they indicated the complaints treated with this kind of intervention. Data were analysed descriptively.
Results: Of 17,647 initially invited therapists 3942 responded (22.3%) and data from 3638 therapists could be analysed. Therapists were often females in their own practice and they had high job satisfaction, but were less satisfied with the collaboration with medical doctors. Therapists stated that they most often provide classical massage, craniosacral therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, naturopathic practices and medical massage. French speaking therapists stated that they more often provided osteopathy and manual lymphatic drainage but less often craniosacral therapy compared with the German speaking therapists. Headache and back pain were named as the most common treated complaints.
Conclusions: Therapies used by non-medical complementary therapists varied across the different regions in Switzerland. However, we found no regional differences in the complaints being treated by therapists.