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 massage, physical, or complementary therapists who wish to add a new modality to their practice, or anyone who wishes 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 the Institute and indicate what protocol they use for the euthanisation of leeches, and what facilities they use 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.

Forthcoming Course

Are you a massage or complementary therapist?

Would you like to add hirudotherapy (leech therapy) to the treatment modalities offered by your practice?  Perhaps you work in a non-health-related field and are considering a career change.  Or perhaps you wish to return to work and would like to work in the complementary health area.  If so, then we invite you to spend  a little time exploring our site and learning about our forthcoming hirudotherapy course which will focus predominantly on the arthritis spectrum as well as a selection of sports injuries.

Please read our legal and regulatory documents

Please read the Terms of Service and Honour Code as well as the Privacy Policy prior to registering for a course on or using any portion of the European Institute of Hirudotherapy website, including accessing any course material, chat rooms, or other electronic services.  The Privacy Policy describes how your personal data is collected and processed when you use the European Institute of Hirudotherapy website.  If you do not understand or do not wish to be bound by the terms of the Agreements or Privacy Policy, you should not use the European Institute of Hirudotherapy website.  All of the relevant codes, rules, standards, and terms can be found under the ‘Legal & Regulatory’ tab on the upper menu, as well as on the bottom left of the footer on this page.

Vision of the Institute

To improve access to quality hirudotherapeutic care and enrich the health and quality of life of the citizens in the communities served by our members.

Next course starts 10th September

Registration is now OPEN

Course venues include Leeds, London, & Edinburgh (UK),

Dublin (Ireland), Bologna (Italy), & Hamburg (Germany)

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.


Who we are?

The European Institute of Hirudotherapy is a professional body that trains and represents hirudologists and hirudotherapists across the continent of Europe. The institute seeks to:

  • Improve the health, wellbeing, and quality of life of Europe’s citizens
  • Increase the awareness and understanding of hirudotherapy within Europe’s health care systems
  • Advance the practice of community-based hirudotherapy
  • Encourage further research and clinical trials in the discipline of hirudotherapy
Opposite, is a summary breakdown of the conditions that were treated by Institute members during 2017.
Osteoarthritis / rheumatoid arthritis
Sports injuries

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