Iceland | Cam-Regulation


Summary of the country's general legislation of CAM.

Go directly to legislation of specific CAM therapies in Iceland:
Acupuncture – Anthroposophic medicine – Ayurveda – Chiropractic – Herbal medicine/Phytotherapy - Homeopathy – Massage – Naprapathy – Naturopathy – Neural therapy – Osteopathy – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – Other treatments

Iceland is an EFTA and European Economic Area (EEA) member. Iceland is listed as a European Union candidate country and submitted its application for EU membership to the European Council in July 2009 (11). Iceland became a member of the Council of Europe on 7th March 1950 (12).

The legal and regulatory status of CAM and CAM practices

Lög um græðara (Healers Act) No. 34/2005, as amended by Act No. 88/2008 (Law on criminal procedure) regulates CAM in Iceland (146). Græðari (healer) in the law refers to those who provide health-related services outside the general health system.

Services included in the law are, among others, treatments with the aim of improving health, relieving pain, reducing discomfort and promoting healing (§2)(146). Both medically and non-medically qualified professionals are allowed to practise CAM (106). A voluntary registration system for healers is established. The healer will be registered as a member of a professional association if the practitioner fulfills the qualifications and standards acquired by the association in question (146). Regulation No. 877/2006 specifies the criteria a professional association and its members must fulfill to be accepted to the registration system, and to be allowed to use the title “registered” in connection with the CAM profession (146, 147).

Restrictions on healers health-related services is dealt with in article 7 in the healers act (146). “Treatment for serious diseases shall be provided only by licensed health workers, or by a healer after consultation with a physician” (146). Healers must not provide treatment which “entail grave risk to the patient’s health”. “The same applies to treatment of diseases which are subject to the provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act and entail a risk to the public“ (146).

Althingi (The Icelandic Parliament) has passed different acts to incorporate and harmonize The Professionals Directive 2005/36/(5) and EEA agreements into national legislation. Recognition of health professionals’ qualifications and titles have been harmonized with the EU regulated professionals database and national legislation (148). In the report to the European Commission of the changes in national legislation a list of new health laws is attached in chapter 3 (148).

The following health professions are registered in the EU professionals database: Chiropractor (Hnykkir)(149), Masseur (Sjúkranuddari)(150), Osteopath (Osteópati)(151), Natural health practitioner (Náttúrufræðingur í heilbrigðisþjónustu) – EU translation “Biologist in a specialized health institution (EN)”, Physiotherapist (Sjúkraþjálfari), Doctor of medicine with a specialist medical training (Orkuog endurhæfingarlækningar, Physiotherapy (EN)).

The governmental supervision of CAM Practices

The Federation of Icelandic Healers supervises the voluntary register for healers (§3)(146). Regulation No 876/2006 regulates the minimum insurance coverage required for a healer practitioner (146).

The Directorate of Health is responsible for issuing licences to health personnel. The General Criminal Code Act NO.88/2008 (152) regulates the penalties for violating the healers act (146).

The reimbursement status of CAM practices and medicinal products

Patients are insured by the Act on health Insurance NO 112/2008, and reimbursement for treatment is covered according to the law (153). Physiotherapy treatment is reimbursed according to article 21 (153). Other specialized health services will be covered (a co-payment may be charged) if provided by contract professionals according to article 22 (Reg. 1215/2008) and chapter IV (153).

No specific reimbursement regulations have been found on CAM treatments. If regulated practitioners like chiropractors, osteopaths, natural health practitioners and masseurs are contracted, consultation fees will be reimbursed (153).


11. EUROPA. Gateway to the European Union; member countries. Brussels EUROPA
Communication department of the European Commission; 2011 [cited 2011 November 3]; Available from:

12. Council of Europe. Council of Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe; 2011 [cited 2011
November 7]; Available from:

106. CAMDOC Alliance ECH ECPM ICMART and IVAA. The regulatory status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for medical doctors in Europe. Brussels 2010 January 2010. Report No.: 2010.

146. Althingi (The Icelandic Parliament). Healers Act No. 34/2005, 11 May 2005, as amended by Act No. 88/2008. 2005 [cited 2012 January, 25]; Available from:

147. Ministry of Health and Social Security. Regulations on a voluntary registration system for healers No. 877/2006. 2006 [cited 2012 January 25, ]; Available from:

148. The European Commission. SEC(2010)1328 COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT ICELAND 2010 PROGRESS REPORT accompanying the Enlargement Strategy and Main hallenges 2010-2011 EN {COM(2010)660}. Brussels: 2010 9 November 2010. Report No.

152. Althingi (The Icelandic Parliament). Law on criminal procedure 88/2008. 2008 [cited 2012 January 25, ]; Available from:

153. Althingi (The Icelandic Parliament). Act on Health Insurance No 112/2008 (with amendments according to Act No 173/2008 and Act No 55/2009) Act on Health Insurance 2008 no. 112, 16 September. 2008 [cited 2012 January 25]; Available from:

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