In response to a question from the European Parliament in 1997, Belgium enacteda the law on non-conventional practices* of 29.04.1999, also known as the "law Colla" (Belgian Official Gazette of 24.06.1999) laying down the basic principles of the law on non-conventional practices. This framework act marked the start of the recognition process for four non-conventional* therapies: osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and homeopathy.
Thus far, the implementing decree (Belgian Official Gazette of 26.02.2003) recognises the professional organisations of non-conventional practices.
The legislation governing the obligated registration and recognition norms and standards for each of the four non-conventional practices is currently in process.
Osteopaths are trained to perform osteopathy on their clients. Osteopathy is a manual therapeutic and diagnostic approach to pathologies which exclusively focuses on the irregular functioning of patients’ motor system (the part of the central nervous system that is involved with movement) and peripheral nervous system.
Chiropractors deal with disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The emphasis lies on manual techniques (using the hand) including joint mobilisation and manipulation with particular focus on dislocations (subluxations). The aim is to enhance the functioning of the nervous system and to improve patients' general health.
Acupuncturists treat patients by means of acupuncture. Originally, acupuncture was a component of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves inserting stainless steel needles into the body's so-called acupuncture points. In modern applications, other stimuli could be used on certain points, such as laser radiation, low-frequency alternating current on the inserted needles, or tiny injections into the acupuncture points.
Homeopaths treat patients by means of homeopathy. The objective of homeopathy is to obtain a therapeutic effect on the symptoms and improve general health by administering a similar, dynamised and possibly diluted solution to reduce the possibility of any side effects to a minimum.
For further information on homeopathy, please refer to the FAMHP website.