Journal article

Practicing traditional Chinese medicine in the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland – an exploratory study

DOKPE

  • Bourqui, Angélique ORCID Institute of Family Medicine, Faculty of Science and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Rodondi, Pierre-Yves ORCID Institute of Family Medicine, Faculty of Science and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • El May, Emna ORCID Population Health Laboratory (#Pop‑ HealthLab), Faculty of Science and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Dubois, Julie ORCID Institute of Family Medicine, Faculty of Science and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
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  • 2022
Published in:
  • BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. - Springer Science and Business Media LLC. - 2022, vol. 22, no. 1
English Background: To curb the spread of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss government declared a state
of health emergency and ordered a legal restriction concerning the opening of healthcare institutions. In this study,
we aimed to assess the proportion of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physicians and therapists who consulted
patients regarding COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 in Switzerland, as well as the extent to
which COVID-19 affected their practices during the same period.

Methods: A retrospective study was performed by using a questionnaire from January to April 2021 among a random
sample of TCM physicians and therapists based in Switzerland. The survey included questions on demographic
characteristics, opening status of practices, channels of communication used for the medical encounter, and experience
in managing the prevention, acute, and recovery stages of COVID-19 infection.

Results: Among the 320 participants, 76% consulted a patient regarding COVID-19 at least once. Overall, physicians
and therapists consulted more patients during recovery (76.3%) and prevention (67.8%) than during the acute stage
(19.8%) of the disease. Acupuncture was the most frequently used technique among TCM therapists and physicians
consulting for prevention (80.4%) and recovery (92.5%), whereas Chinese pharmacopeia was the most used technique
among those consulting for the acute stage (59.3%). Of those who closed their practices from March to April
2020 but kept consulting, telephone (30.4%) and home visits (29.9%) were the two principal methods of consultation.

Conclusions: The restriction concerning the opening of practices induced a loss of the health workforce, especially
among TCM therapists. Nonetheless, TCM therapists and physicians consulted patients regarding COVID-19, especially
during the recovery stage. As there is a demand for the use of TCM in the context of COVID-19, it raises the need for a
better consideration of TCM in the Swiss health care system.
Faculty
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Department
Master en médecine
Language
  • English
Classification
Clinical medicine
License
CC BY
Open access status
gold
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://folia.unifr.ch/unifr/documents/320816
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