18th annual Congress for Integrative Medicine

Innovative 21st century medicine, along with alternative and ancient healing traditions, convened for a week of learning and appreciation at the 18th annual Congress for Integrative Medicine. The congress contained both modern and traditional elements in venerable recognition for the contributions and wisdom of Kos’ most famous citizen: Hippocrates.

Hippocrates was born around 460 years BCE and is the biggest pride of the citizens of Kos. He is considered the founder and main supporter of the development of modern medicine. Hippocrates studied the nature, the climate, the customs and the characters of human beings and collected valuable knowledge as he travelled around.

 After he returned home, full of experience, Hippocrates began evaluating the rich scientific material he had collected. In the medical school of Kos, he researched the medicine of the priests of Asclepius and visited medical wizards as well as practical physicians. He studied the medicine of athletes and philosophers, applied new therapeutic methods, simplified the religious formalities and condemned the charlatanry. His passion was to teach young people, whom he offered new medical perspectives. His most influential quote you may recognize as the Hippocratic Oath: “Make a habit of two things: help, or at least do no har.” 

In an even more profound famous sentence, one can see the important values Hippocrates wanted to pass on to his students, “Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.”

For Hippocrates, Mother Earth and its nature was a great leader. To him, only a philosophically thinking physician could be a capable doctor. For this reason, he regarded medicine as inextricably linked to philosophy.

In this rich historical and cultural setting, the consequences concerning the 18th KONGRESS FÜR INTEGRATIVE MEDIZIN were clear. Health met Culture. Medicine interconnected to philosophy. Tradition married innovation. Chinese met Vedic met Western Medicine. Hands-on-healing styles came across tele-medicine styles of treatment. Complex theories from socio-psycho-biological chains interrelated to ancient Greek philosophy. And Medics got a glimpse on possible ways to not only think new, but also have a chance on changing the structure of Medical Governance in the future, starting today.

For Hippocrates, a doctor should be humble, clean, pious, trustworthy, benevolent, not greedy or materialistic of any kind, patient, gentle, and modest.

In living out this integrated sense, the congress was held by three organisations, which all have the same goal:  Finding ways to accomplish this very task of serving and caring for people with noble motives like mentioned above, bringing about  “One Health” with approaches from various perspectives. The three organizations were the IGNK (Internationale Gesellschaft für Natur- und Kulturheilkunde), the founder and main organizer, as well as the EMA (European Medical Association) and the EUSG (European School of Governance).

Hippocrates quickly became famous everywhere and everyone called for him and his services in healthcare. He helped to stop the epidemic plaguing of Athens, healed the Democritus after the call of the Avdiriton and the King of Macedon Perdiccas II, who suffered from mental deterioration.

At the congress, the EUSG’s Cultural Health Lab director Hartmut Schröder (IGNK) premiered the EUSG’s new specialized certification course in Healing Culture The course, which started in Kos and will finish with coursework in Berlin, is called the Healing Culture – “die HeilKultur”—and combines the sense of an ancient Hippocrates with our present epoch, meaning as much as “attitude and design from the inside and outside”.

Inner attitude collaborates with impulses of the outside. Self-awareness interconnects with the relationship between client and therapist. Internal values combine with nature and social surroundings. Considering all of these aspects, Healing Culture is anything dealing with health as such. On the speaking, teaching and training board were experts from fields like acupuncture and TCM, psychology, psychiatry, traditional Chinese medicine, the healthcare industry, sports biology, music education, consulting, homeopathy, specialized cancer treatment, cybernetics, manual therapy, philosophy and more.

To give this wide range of ideas a frame, the IGNK identified eight main topics of Healing Culture:

–       Culture of Attitude: How healing impulses develop through empathy and resonance.

–       Culture of the Cognition: How rituals and mental hygiene cultivate consciousness.

–       Culture of Mindfulness: How culture is connected with eating, moving and resting in everyday life.

–       Culture of Design: How healing environment in pharmacies, clinics and practices can be created.

–       Culture of Encounter: How resilience develops through health coaching.

–       Culture of Self-efficacy:  How potentials and resources become visible through chronobiology and personality diagnostics.

–       Culture of Expression: How patients can express and release matters through Arts like drawing, music or moving.

–       Culture of storytelling: How patients tell themselves healthy by their own story.

These eight topics were woven in between the K.R.O.S. Training (which stands for Communication, Ratioemotive Therapy, Organisation development and Self-management), the beautifully diverse morning-lectures, the exposition of innovative healing methods and pharmaceutic products and other very inspiring workshops on therapeutic issues like integrative medicine or pain medicine.

To wrap it all up, the last day included both. The ceremony of taking the Hippocratic Oath in the Askelpeion; the mythic, magic, healing spirit of the ancient mythology; the energy of something inexplicable, on one hand wasfollowed by the farewell party right at the beach, by the mythic, magic, healing spirit of love, music and laughter, by the energy of something new arising, on the other hand.

In this sense, the 18th KONGRESS FÜR INTEGRATIVE MEDIZIN ended with loving, dancing and laughter, or as Hippocrates might have said, “Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.”

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