Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

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Switzerland: A promising horizon for the profession


August 15, 2008
By Beat Stoller

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I think it is customary to start such a report by telling you who I am.

I think it is customary to start such a report by telling you who I am.

My name is Beat Stoller and I’m from the German part of Switzerland. I studied chiropractic at CMCC and graduated with the class of ’84. I still fondly remember those years in Toronto as some of the best of my life.

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Upon returning to Switzerland after graduation, and relearning the Swiss language after four years in Canada, I did my mandatory apprenticeship in Zurich, and finally opened my own clinic in Langenthal in 1988.

I took over the original clinic from a retiring colleague. The original one was rather –  let’s call it – an “antique”  and I wanted something a bit more modern, as soon as possible. The plans for new premises were realized and a new building was ready by the end of February 1990. The next nine years were rather unremarkable – I was busy growing my practice and enjoying life in my town. 

1999 was one of those years that happen once in a while, when things start to move. For me, it was meeting with an old fraternity friend from my years as a biology student in Zurich.

He and his Chinese wife were just in the process of founding a clinic for Chinese medicine in Haerkingen, a town close to Solothurn. They were looking for some professional help, with regards to the aspects of Chinese medicine that deal with manipulation and adjustments of the joints and spine – in other words, chiropractic. Since only chiropractors and manual-medicine practitioners are permitted to perform adjustments in Switzerland, that opened doors for me, right there.

This new commitment began in 2000 and has been expanding slowly, but inexorably, since. In 2003, we opened another ANMO-clinic in Grosshoechstetten, close to the city of Bern, in the premises of a closed hospital and, in 2007, after the lengthy remodelling of the old surgical tract, we moved into the rooms we practise in today.


A HISTORY OF THE PROFESSION IN SWITZERLAND

Let me review some of the developments that have occurred here in Switzerland, over the years. Most of you probably know that chiropractic came to Switzerland in the early years of the last century. Toward the end of the second decade, the first Swiss chiropractors began to practise in Switzerland. Since chiropractic was, at that time, illegal in our country, most of the early chiropractors knew quite well what a jail looked like from the inside.

That changed in 1939 when a popular vote made chiropractic legal. It took another 25 years for health insurance providers to finally recognize chiropractic as a regular medical service to be reimbursed. In the years that followed, the Swiss Chiropractic Association negotiated a tariff-contract, which regulated the exact amount to be paid for chiropractic services.

Finally, in 2007, Swiss chiropractors were recognized as medical personnel and included in the regulatory legislature. Before that, we were considered medical support personnel, like massage therapists, registered nurses and physiotherapists.

Beginning in fall of 2008, chiropractic students will be able to study for four years at the University of Zurich, College of Medical Sciences before going to Canada or the United States to finalize their education and receive their DC designation. This new opportunity has led to a marked increase in students who are willing to become chiropractors. More than 70 applications have been received to fill only 20 positions for chiropractic students in the initial four years of study!

Time will reveal how this new development will unfold, and I look forward to the changes to come. Thank you for your interest in chiropractic in Switzerland, and I wish you all the best for the future of chiropractic in your own country.


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