Health is really a multidimensional phenomenon. Therefore, integrated medicine attempts to respond to the challenges of health in at least four discernible but interdependent levels - social, philosophical, cultural & economical.
It is, therefore, inherently multidisciplinary in nature embracing such subjects as ecology, sociology, economics, social anthropology, all branches of the natural sciences and medical science proper. To the extent that the science of integrated medicine is an emerging and frontier field, the scope of work of integrated medicine is yet to be fully defined and articulated.
- Social Challenge
- Philosophical Challenge
- Cultural Challenge
- Economic Challenge
Social Challenge :
Integrated Medicine is born out of Universal illness
Health for all is not just a question of modern health care delivery systems. In the developed world, due to the existence of various social security systems, even the poorest of the poor have access to at least some form of modern health care despite the very high cost. But one can hardly argue with any degree of conviction that populations in the developed countries are healthy in every sense of the term given the very high incidence there of Cardiac and Carcinogenic Disorders, Hypertension, AIDS or Psychological Neurosis arising from the stress and strain of living in a post-modern high speed environment threatening technological civilization. As for Health for All in the less developed world, the less said the better.
The concept of integrated medicine is born in the womb of such postmodern universal illness. Right from its genesis, integrated medicine is a holistic concept and its point of departure is the recognition that the issue of health cannot be properly understood in isolation from the broader issues of the interrelationships between Man and Society and between Man and Nature. Integrated Medicine and IRIIM, therefore, approach all questions of health keeping in mind the significance of the interrelationships between the three distinct but interdependent levels of health - individual, social and natural or ecological.
Integrated Medicine treats the patient and not the disease
But this notion gradually neglected through ages in the area of Modern Medical Sciences. The differences between Modern Medicine and Post-Modern Integrated Medicine are similar to the differences between Newtonian Mechanics or the Physics of separate particles born out of the same cultural and philosophical background as the Industrial Revolution and Classical Physics on the one hand and modern Physics or Ecology born out of the cultural and philosophical background of the ongoing post-industrial, post-modern era of human history on the other. While Newtonian Physics and Modern Medicine tends to be reductive & analytic and view the events or individuals as discrete particles very like the balls on a billiard table interacting in linear time sequence only when they collide and not having any interpenetration or intercommunication with each other. The Modern Physics, Ecology or post-modern Integrated Medicine tend to the synthetic & intuitive and see the synchronous occurrence of different phenomena that form a particular pattern. This sharp dichotomy between the two philosophical approaches has major implications for both theory and practice of health care for deciding what therapeutic modalities are to be adopted for treating particular conditions.
Integrated Medicine seeks to preserve the heritage of the past by integrating it with the break through of the future
The crushing wheels of the modern technological civilization tend to destroy the entire varied heritage to our past. Predominantly, in the eyes of Modern Medicine, all traditional and alternative therapeutic modalities are just so much mumbo jumbo of the prehistoric medicine man. But the crisis of modernity is upon us and it is growing daily to the extent that to tackle this crisis, modern man today has no alternative but to hark back to the dim and distant past and to the rich heritage of the sum total of human knowledge that our ancestors has delivered us. The efficacy of ancient or traditional systems of therapy such as Acupuncture & Moxibustion (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Yoga, Ayurveda or Unani is now being rediscovered. In the classics of these Traditional therapeutic schools one can discern that a dynamic notion of body-environment interrelationship forms the philosophical basis of these schools. Besides the traditional therapies mentioned above, one may also mention two other relatively modern but otherwise holistic approaches to health care, namely Naturopathy and Homoeopathy which too have many adherents today.
In short, IRIIM looks at all traditional and alternative healing arts not as relics of the past but as the not-yet-fully discovered frontiers of the future. IRIIM seeks to place all traditional and alternative therapies in general, and Acupuncture & Moxibustion, Yoga and Naturopathy in particular, at the forefront of medical research so long as they represent fully worked out, rational, cost-effective and safe systems of medicine or health care based on the post-modern philosophy of synthesis and holism.
Integrated Medicine focuses on use value and not exchange value
In this age of commodity fetish where the demand for and the supply of almost everything are determined by market forces, health and health care ton have become commodities that are bought and sold on the market. Doctors are today taking courses in business management to ensure proper management of their earnings, hospitals have become corporatised, drug companies bother more about their bottom lines rather than the insidious side effects that their products may have on patients, patients are spending more and more money in buying medical insurance cover as the bill for treatment of even a common cold may eat upa month's salary and consumer courts are being set up to deliver judgment on malpractices in the buying and selling of health care.
Integrated Medicine and IRIIM seek to reverse this process of alienation and instead return and integrate health to its rightful owner-the individual integrated Medicine, therefore, focuses on the doctor-patient relationship and urges the patient to participate as much as the doctor in an integrated manner in the healing process. And, in such a way what health care becomes easily available and at a low cost by lowering the dependence of the patient on high cost drugs or unnecessary surgical procedures through diet control and adoption of natural and healthy way of life. Integrated Medicine also focuses on the development of manpower dedicated to the cause of proving health care as a service to Mankind - as an use value essential for healthy, humble existence rather than as an exchange value to be bought and sold on the market for commercial gain.
To that end, IRIIM is engaged in the task of developing appropriate and trained manpower who will provide health care to suffering humanity as their main mission in life rather than merely a lucrative career. Also, as a long-term goal, IRIIM intends to develop into a full-fledged medical college which can offer Diploma / Degree courses in Integrated Medicine in a fashion such that health workers, irrespective of their previous educational background, get an opportunity to progressively expand their knowledge horizon by going through more and more advanced courses.