The World Natural Medicine Foundation, College of Integrated Medicine and the Canadian Medical Acupuncture Society has hosted 4 World Congresses of Medical Acupuncture and Natural Medicine. The congress is an opportunity for all health practitioners to come together and explore the potential of integrating a variety of cultural medical practices, including western biomedicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Native healing practices, Tibetan healing practices and other Natural Medicine practices. The focus of the congress is on improving patient care through Integrative Medicine. Health professionals from around the world will have the opportunity to share research, information & ideas. International professionals will deliver scientific papers, exploring the latest research on the efficacy of Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Natural Medicine & Native Healing.
3rd World Congress of Medical Acupuncture and Natural Medicine (1995)
On August 8, 1995, the 3rd World Congress of Medical Acupuncture and Natural Medicine opened at the Edmonton Convention Center. It was the first time the event was held outside China. A total of 1,500 people from over 50 countries attended the various activities presented by the Congress. All participants contributed in their own special way to make the congress an outstanding international success. The 3rd World Congress, like the two previous congresses held in Beijing in 1987 and 1991, was a project of the World Natural Medicine Foundation (WNMF). Founded by Dr. Aung in 1980 and formally incorporated as an Alberta society in 1994, the WNMF aims to promote natural, integrated, and compassionate medicine. Sponsoring and organizing a world congress every four years is the WNMF's primary way of attempting to realize this extremely important objective.
On July 5, 1995, in a special tribute to the 3rd World Congress and WNMF, the city of Edmonton showed considerable initiative and leadership by declaring August 8-13, 1995 to be World Natural Medicine Week.
The honorary presidents of the congress were Wang Xuetai, founder of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies, and Jan Reimer, then-mayor of Edmonton. Dr. Aung service as president of the congress, and the vice-president was Gao Shouzheng of the Beijing International Medical Exchange Center. The executive committee was comprised of many other distinguished physicians and academics from around the world.
The 3rd World Congress encompassed a public lecture series, pre-congress workshop program, scientific conference, special program, trade show, and post-congress courses. The public lecture series began on August 2, 1995 with Steven Aung's presentation on the need for compassion in healing. Other lecture topics included women's health (Carolyn DeMarco), complementary medicine (Bruce Pomeranz), alternative medicine (David Eisenberg), and mind-body harmony (Venerable Amchok Rinpoche).
The pre-congress workshop program, August 8-9, 1995 featured 26 workshops, each four hours long. The workshops were oriented toward health care professionals, but the general public was also welcome. The aim of the congress was to have recognized international experts provide a substantial introduction to various complementary therapies, especially with respect to understanding their proper therapeutic use and value. Workshop topics included energy medicine (Hiroshi Motoyama), microsystems of acupuncture (RA Dale), traditional Chinese herbal medicine (Huang Bingshan), bio-oxidative therapy (Charles Farr), and the craniosacral system (John Upledger). The workshop program attracted over 700 participants.
The scientific conference, August 10-12, 1995 also attracted about 700 participants, mainly physicians. Over 200 participants made oral or poster presentations. The plenary sessions featured keynote presentations and panel discussions (each one hour in length). Wang Xuetai, Mathew Lee, Bruce Pomeranz, David Eisenberg, Gao Shouzheng, and Amchok Rinpoche were the keynote speakers. Topics of these presentations and discussions included complementary medicine, integration, traditional healing, human sexuality, child spirituality, and chelation therapy. The multi-track sessions (15 minutes each) featured traditional, clinical, and research tracks. There were presentations on acupuncture, Qi Gong, herbal medicine, reflexology, medical hypnosis, ryodoraku diagnosis and therapy, spiritual healing, dietetics, the use of complementary medicine in general practice, and a wide variety of other topics.
Special programs were run at the same time as the scientific conference and trade show. These included Feldenkrais exercises, Reiki therapy, and the traditional Chinese medical approach to weight control.
The trade show featured 35 exhibits. There were industry suppliers (such as American Biologics and the Kan Herb Company) as well as, the information booths of non-profit organizations (such as the Canadian Medical Acupuncture Society and Discovery Wellness Center).
The post-congress course on August 13, 1995 included a meeting with Native elders and healers, a traditional Native sweatlodge and a visit to the Poundmaker's Lodge Native addiction treatment center.
At the official opening and closing ceremonies, on August 10 and 12, 1995 respectively, Buddhist and Native spiritual blessings were offered. At the opening ceremony, eight healing Buddha statues were unveiled by His Eminence Amchok Rinpoche. Responding to the personal suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Aung brought these statues to Edmonton from Kathmandu, Nepal, in order to help foster a more natural and compassionate approach to primary care. Special guests at the opening ceremony included then-Alberta health minister (Shirley McClennen), the director of the World Health Organization traditional medicine program (Xiaorui Zhang), the former president of the Canadian Medical Association (Richard Kennedy), the president of the Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Research Institute (Li Quan Gou), the vice-president of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (David Hung), and the general secretary of the International Council of Medical Acupuncture and Related Techniques (François Beyens).
The week of the congress was rainy in Edmonton, but in his opening remarks Steven Aung suggested that it was nature's way of encouraging participants to come together and forge bonds of communication in a spirit of mettã (genuine, heartfelt loving kindness and compassion). The central strength of the congress was that it brought an international array of physicians, health care professionals, and academics together to share ideas, cooperate with one another and discuss the relevant issues surrounding integrated medicine. It was also a successful venture in public education, since the public lectures and workshops were well attended and media coverage was extensive.
The World Natural Medicine Foundation was not the only sponsor of the 3rd World Congress. Numerous organizations and individuals generously contributed funds and equipment or volunteered their valuable time and expertise, which was of tremendous assistance to congress organizers.
4th World Congress of Medical Acupuncture and Natural Medicine (2000)
The congress returned to Edmonton in August 2000 with the theme of the Congress reflecting the lifelong goal of Dr Steven Aung: “Integrative Medicine: Competent, Complementary and Compassionate Primary Care for all in the next millennium”.