Kurdistan market growing

Regulatory vacuum for alternative medicine

ERBIL, January 30 — In the Kurdistan Region, the burgeoning market for alternative medicine is aiming for more structured oversight by the Ministry of Health. This sector, encompassing practices like cupping therapy and acupuncture, is sparking debates among specialists regarding its limited scope in the region.

Despite the global presence of approximately 60 different types of alternative medicine, the Kurdistan Region has limited its offerings to a few: herbal treatments, cupping therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy.

Jalal Karim Omar, a representative of the Kurdistan Herbalists Association, informed 964media, “Since receiving our official license in 2014, we have established ourselves as the authoritative body for these practices, with branches and members in every city and administration within the region.”

“People in the Kurdistan Region are increasingly considering alternative medicine, yet not all forms have gained equal acceptance. Acupuncture and leech therapy, in particular, remain underdeveloped, with acupuncture necessitating specialized expertise,” he further commented.

Omar outlined the current landscape: “The region hosts around 300 herbal medicine centers, about 200 centers for cupping therapy and physiotherapy, and a mere 10 for acupuncture. In certain cities, our association collaborates with committees to supervise these alternative medicine centers.”

He also highlighted a significant challenge: “The general public in Kurdistan is reluctant to frequent alternative medicine centers, largely due to the absence of formal regulation by the Ministry of Health. Without legal organization of these sectors by the Ministry, people remain apprehensive about seeking treatments from these facilities.”

The scientific consensus on these alternative medicine practices varies. While some treatments like acupuncture have been recognized for their potential therapeutic benefits in certain conditions, others lack substantial scientific backing.