The work of the institute


The European Institute of Hirudotherapy is the leading educational and regulatory body of its type on the continent of Europe.   The institute’s Professional Certificate in Clinical Hirudotherapy – Synosteology Specialisation, is delivered through blended learning – a combination of online modules and class-based tuition.  The course is suited to existing physical or complementary therapists who wish to add a new modality to their practice, or to those who wish to specialise in hirudotherapy exclusively.

Leeches and associated products

H. Medicinalis leeches are available for purchase by suitably qualified professionals for use in hospitals, private clinics, and veterinary clinics. Before a purchase order can be fulfilled, prospective purchasers should contact and indicate (a) what protocol they use for the euthanisation of leeches, and (b) what facilities are used for the safe disposal of biohazard material.

Private Clinics

There are many qualified and registered hirudotherapists across the continent of Europe who work in private practice.  Those who have passed the robust admission criteria for membership of the Institute, and who have both current professional indemnity and public liability insurance, may opt to have their practice listed on our register of qualified members.

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The Ethos of the Institute

Modern medicine regularly uses the products of science to improve health.  Until relatively recently however, medicine itself has not been practiced in a scientific manner.  The growth of evidence-based medicine is predicated upon the concept that, insofar as possible, all aspects of medical care ought to be examined with regard to the evidence.  All forms of treatments and preventive strategies should be subjected to assessments of efficacy and effectiveness.  Clinicians often distinguish between the efficacy and the effectiveness of an intervention.  Efficacy determines whether an intervention produces the expected result under ideal circumstances.  Effectiveness measures the degree of beneficial effect under “real world” clinical settings.  Therefore, efficacy and effectiveness exist on a continuum.  From a health care perspective, safety must be assessed, not only with regard to adverse effects of the particular intervention, but also in the context of a comparison to alternative treatments.  If evidence demonstrates the efficacy and/or effectiveness of a particular intervention, it may be unsafe to select a treatment for which evidence of efficacy or effectiveness is lacking.  Certainly patients should be fully informed of the evidence that is available for making rational choices.


The Ethos of the Institute

Adjunctive therapeutic modalities that support medical practice must be subject to these principles too, and this is the prime objective of the European Institute of Hirudotherapy.  While some organisations working in the field of hirudotherapy have a vague concept of compliance with best practice, it is in fact the European institute that is leading the charge to clearly define what the gold standard of hirudotherapeutic practice should be.  Furthermore, the institute is not satisfied with mere compliance, and espouses an aspiration for therapists to go from compliance to world class.