IRIIM Completes 35 years for Healthy Life (1981 – 2016)
We would like to draw your attention to an organization in West Bengal, India, called Indian Research Institute for Integrated Medicine (IRIIM) in which a group of Physicians, Researchers, Health & Social Workers have devoted themselves for the development and propagation of an integrated system of medicine by exploiting the wisdom and scope of the traditional system of therapy (such as acupuncture, yoga, naturopathy etc.) and integrating it, whenever necessary, with the alternative therapy (such as homeopathy) and conventional (such as allopathy and allied modern medicine) therapeutic methods for the benefit of the common people of India through practice, research and training.
IRIIM was established in 1981 as a medical research institute with a social dimension by a group of medical graduates who were students of Dr. Bejoy Kumar Basu, a member of the historic Indian Medical Mission to China (1938-1942) who has pioneered the practice of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, the traditional therapeutic modalities, on Indian soil from an integrated viewpoint.
Being inspired by the teachings of late Dr. Basu and Dr. D.S. Kotnis, the founders of IRIIM felt the necessity of developing a institution devoted to the propagation and development of an integrated and multi-dimensional approach in health care so that a cost-effective, safe, easily accessible and modern health care delivery system for the service of the common people.
While advances in medical research and western medical practices have brought about a revolutionary change in the diagnostic methods and related treatment of human ailments, it is also evident that this kind of medical care has become very expensive. Only a small section of the Indian society is able to benefit from this modern medicine.
As a matter of fact, almost 80% of the Indian people rely on alternative and traditional forms of medicine, such as ayurveda, unani, homeopathy, yoga-naturopathy, acupuncture etc. for most of their medical needs. As public realization of the limitations of orthodox medicine has grown, so to have interests in alternatives to it. Even today the medical school curriculum focuses entirely on disease. Students learn how to diagnose and treat disease once it is established in the body. They learn less about how to prevent disease and even less about how to maintain health and encourage the body's natural healing mechanism. Virtual omission of any instruction in nutrition in the medical curriculum is a glaring defect in the training of the modern doctors.
The fact that the high-tech medicine can often be dangerous is not recognized widely. Its methods are often potent and invasive, and it is sometimes harmful. This is quite evident in the amount of drug toxicity caused by modern prescribing practices and over-prescription of antibiotics. While Western medicine has provided vast improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of acute disease, it has more or less failed to live up to the same success for chronic disease or low-grade disease. On the other hand, holistic practices have a limited arsenal for treating severe or acute conditions. Very slowly and sometimes very reluctantly, the medical profession is beginning to respond to demands from consumers in the way medicine is practiced.
The need to promote integrated medicine for a complete approach to health is now being recognized gradually. Over the last few decades there has been a worldwide recognition of the positive role played by alternative and traditional medicine, and currently various efforts are being made (even in developed countries) to integrate the Western medicine with so-called alternative medicine as practiced in traditional societies.
The above observations indicate the need to restructure the existing health system and to develop a scientific institution, especially in an developing country like India, which will lead to evolve a holistic approach to the integrated medicine based on sound philosophical principles that recognize the need to harmonize the individual patient with the environment and utilization of the wisdom inherent in traditional medicine.
IRIIM has made a modest progress in this endeavour.