World Integrative Medicine Congress putting person at centre

Experts from 50 countries gather in Rome for the 2nd World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health to discuss how improved therapeutic options can complement conventional medical care.

By Gabriella Ceraso

An holistic approach, focusing on the entire individual rather than just their illness, is the core principle of integrative medicine.

This concept is being explored during the four-day discussions at the Second World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health, held in Rome and 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 congress 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.

At its center, 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.

Supported by scientific evidence, these approaches enhance the quality of life and the survival rates of patients. They also contribute to patients' emotional and mental well-being while reducing the side effects of treatments like oncological therapies.

Therefore, the congress features the presentation of cutting-edge studies and research conducted in experimental and clinical settings, as well as experiences of integration within healthcare systems worldwide, highlighting the collaborative efforts of diverse professionals in defining a holistic path to health.

Entrance to the Congress
Entrance to the Congress

Role of the WHO

A highlight for the future of integrative and complementary medicine was the inaugural address at the World Health Organization (WHO) congress.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered the opening afternoon session, while Dr. Sungchol Kim, director of the WHO's Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine unit, actively participated in the proceedings.

The Director-General emphasized the outcomes of the recent "Global Summit Towards Health and Well-Being for All" held in India last August. That summit outlined the principles and values underpinning the WHO's 2025-2034 strategy on traditional, complementary, and integrative medicines, marking a significant focus for addressing the health and well-being needs of millions worldwide.

For centuries, traditional and complementary medicine has been a global resource for promoting the health of individuals and communities. Currently, 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, sustainable resources that respect people, the environment, resources, and the rights of local communities, shaping the health and well-being landscape for the next decade.

Participants in the Congress
Participants in the Congress

Sessions and workshops on oncology, Covid, and infancy

The Congress boasts an impressive turnout with 850 registered participants, receiving 550 abstracts from all corners of the globe. 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 places significant emphasis on clinical practice and the training of therapists and healthcare professionals. Additionally, it delves into critical topics such as pediatrics and post-infectious diseases worldwide, a landscape transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, the Congress explores the intersection of art and medicine. Finally, it addresses the vital 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.

Participants in the Congress
Participants in the Congress
20 September 2023, 17:23