World Integrative Medicine Congress putting person at centre

by Arjun Singh

Experts from 50 countries have gathered in Rome for the 2nd World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health. The four-day event is organized by the Artoi Foundation for Research on Integrative Oncological Therapies in collaboration with ISCMR (The International Society for Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine Research) and the European Society for Integrative Medicine.

The core principle of integrative medicine is an holistic approach that focuses on the entire individual rather than just their illness. This concept is being explored during the congress, which encompasses at least eight crucial themes including oncology, Covid-19, post-infectious diseases, nutrition and lifestyles, and the utilization of art as a therapeutic tool.

Integrative medicine places conventional medicine as the cornerstone of care but complements it with traditional treatments, complementary practices, and therapeutic options rooted in ancient traditions. These approaches have been supported by scientific evidence and have been shown to enhance the quality of life and survival rates of patients. They also contribute to patients’ emotional and mental well-being while reducing the side effects of treatments like oncological therapies.

The congress features the presentation of cutting-edge studies and research conducted in experimental and clinical settings. It also highlights the experiences of integration within healthcare systems worldwide, emphasizing the collaborative efforts of diverse professionals in defining a holistic path to health.

A highlight of the congress was the inaugural address by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He emphasized the outcomes of the recent “Global Summit Towards Health and Well-Being for All” held in India, which outlined the principles and values underpinning the WHO’s 2025-2034 strategy on traditional, complementary, and integrative medicines. This marks a significant focus for addressing the health and well-being needs of millions worldwide.

Traditional and complementary medicine has been a global resource for promoting the health of individuals and communities for centuries. More than 100 countries have established national policies for these medicines, and approximately 40 percent of pharmaceuticals are derived from natural products. The field is witnessing new research, including genomics and artificial intelligence, driving innovation and development.

The WHO’s strategy aims to integrate these medicines into health policies and tools, recognizing them as effective and sustainable resources that respect people, the environment, resources, and the rights of local communities. This will shape the health and well-being landscape for the next decade.

The congress boasts an impressive turnout with 850 registered participants and has received 550 abstracts from around the world. It is hosting 24 workshops at the Angelicum Congress Center in Rome. Several sessions are dedicated to the current and future prospects of integrative oncology, combining conventional treatments with ameliorative therapeutic options like natural and botanical products, hyperthermia, homeopathy, nutrition, acupuncture, and mind-body therapy.

The event also focuses on clinical practice and the training of therapists and healthcare professionals. It delves into critical topics such as pediatrics and post-infectious diseases worldwide, a landscape transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference also explores the intersection of art and medicine and addresses the challenge of establishing a network of researchers, clinicians, and therapists to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences, collectively advancing toward health for all while respecting nature, the environment, and all living beings on our planet.

The 2nd World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health provides a platform for experts from various fields and countries to come together and share their knowledge and experiences. It is an opportunity to explore the potential of integrative medicine in complementing conventional medical care and improving therapeutic options for patients.

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