Utilization of TM/CAM is complex and varies among Member States. Therefore it is important to take into consideration the utilization pattern of a country to ensure that the information developed will be effective and appropriate to the specific country situation. Three broad types of utilization patterns can be recognized. The first is prevalent in countries where TM is used as the primary source of health care. Typically for these countries, the availability and/or accessibility of conventional medicine are generally limited and TM is used mainly by poor populations, as in many African countries and some Asian countries. This situation is found mainly in countries with either a tolerant or an inclusive health system structure. The second type of TM utilization, involving a few countries, entails the use and prescription of TM in conjunction with conventional medicine due to cultural/historical influence. This dual utilization pattern is found in integrative systems such as in China, Viet Nam, and the Republic of Korea or in inclusive systems in many countries in Asia and South America. The third type involves the use of TM/CAM in a complementary or alternative role with conventional medicine. This selective utilization is common in high-income countries where the health system structure is usually inclusive or tolerant as in North America and many European countries.
In countries where TM is the primary source of health care or is used in conjunction with conventional medicine, consumers are likely to be familiar with the general concepts of TM therapies. However, when TM is practised outside the context where it was first developed, consumers may not have the same knowledge about the general concepts of TM/CAM. As a result, the type of information needed is likely to vary depending on the individual context and utilization pattern in a country or region. In addition, TM/CAM utilization patterns may vary between different consumer groups within a country.