Integrated TRADITIONAL Medicines
Peace Education for Better Health
Towards an integrated world health system, on the physical, mental and spiritual levels




The Verbania Declaration 2004

  • We agree that a healthy population is an important human and social goal in every society. Attaining such a goal is not only the responsibility of doctors, specialists, and those involved in the health sector, but of every individual in our societies and all sectors in the economy. That aim of a healthy society must become a reality as a result of a collective effort to address both the material and spiritual dimensions of health.

  • We embrace the view that we are one global society within this precious and fragile Planet. That there is only one world and we must be one with nature and our natural environment. That we are strongly interdependent in all possible dimensions of life and we must strive for societies that are happy, healthy and holy, all being normal states of our human reality. That a World Congress on medicine cannot be divorced from, or be understood as, separate from those states of human reality.

  • We conclude that the primordial essence of medicine –i.e., its ability to cure and heal humanity-- is deeply rooted in love and compassion. This heightens the need to self-realize love and compassion and brings to the fore the necessity to recognize the importance of embracing a spiritual culture (energy) and, with it, a spiritual medicine in every society. These spiritual dimensions are essential if we all are to avoid the negative side effects of existing medical treatments.

  • We agree that acting only upon the symptoms of human illnesses, as they manifest physically, is not sufficient. It is important to detect diseases much before they manifest physically, as a result of multiple conditions people face since conception (within the mother’s womb). It is this interplay of symptoms (physical and non-physical) and conditions (natural and human environment) that must be carefully studied and monitored.

  • We recognize the fundamental importance of indigenous peoples and indigenous knowledge, particularly within developing countries, though these are present everywhere. Indigenous peoples’ understanding of traditional medicine is an invaluable asset for humanity as a whole and to future generations. They have been custodians of our Planet and have created many positive conditions for the healthy transformation of humanity. They have greatly emphasized the need to improve the quality of our natural environment, the protection of our biological diversity and the management of socioeconomic development patterns.

  • We see clearly the need to break-down the negative aspects of, and vicious circle associated to, some negative habitual patterns in our societies (e.g., violence, drug and alcohol abuse). Therefore, it is imperative that we move away from any form of self-destructive way of life. More often than not, these patterns respond to deeper and more subtle conditions in our lives that must be acknowledged, if people are to experience healthy and holy lives. Finding ways to change existing behavioral patterns (personal, social, global) is not trivial, as we need to go to the real roots in our understanding of the causes and conditions.

  • We realize, once again, the great importance of education for better health. Here, education is understood not only as classroom, or formal, education but as a process of constantly embracing new forms, processes, instruments and methods that significantly contribute to the enhancement of peoples’ health, including those who lack material resources, power and voice. Education must be holistic and oriented towards meaningful human experiences and self-realization. A doctor matures as more experience excels in a continuum of human interactions and transformations. New technology should positively reinforce the above processes.

  • We believe in the importance of integrating traditional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine within national health care systems. It is important to design and implement corresponding polices and programs. These include expanding research and knowledge base and seriously considering enhancing the availability, quality and affordability. The above will alleviate the burden of diseases, disabilities and suffering afflicting so many people, particularly poor people.

  • We recommend more solid and sustainable forms of financing so that more people are attended, and societies are able to address issues from human health –particularly of women and children-- to the protection of medicinal plants. These demand new forms of partnerships with the public and private sector and all organizations of civil society, nationally and internationally.

  • We support programs to train medical personnel and strengthen existing health care systems. The importance of the ethical and moral dimensions of medicine must be recognized as an integral part of any, or all, capacity building programs. The humanization of treatments and the reaching out for those who have no means to reach medical services are essential.

We recognize all the public authorities of the Region of Piemonte, the VCO Province, the City of Verbania, the Municipality of Bee, The Comunita Montana (Alto Verbano), The Ordine dei Medici, The Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment, The Banca Populare di Intra and all other sponsors, without whom this World Congress on Traditional and Integrated Medicine could not have taken place. Their human and material contributions demonstrated to be invaluable for the success of this World Congress.

Verbania, May 30, 2004

In support of the United Nations
Dedicated to the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People
& Literacy Decade: Education for All