A two-Day International Conference on “Innovations in Health Interventions: Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Methods (TCAM) In Holistic Health Care” was organized under IOE project UoH/IoE/RC1-20-030 on the dates 10-11 November, 2022 at University of Hyderabad on a hybrid mode. The conference has been inaugurated by the Honourable Vice-Chancellor Prof B.J. Rao and the special invitees have been Prof. Ghan Shyam Krishna, Director IoE, Prof. Geeta K. Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sciences, and Prof Mary Jessica, Dean, School of Management Studies. Prof. Girishwar Mishra, Former Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, Former National Fellow, ICSSR gave a key note speech on the topic Holistic Health Care: Some indigenous practices of Indian origin and Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, Member HR, Capacity building commission delivered his key note address on Learning from indigenous community wisdom in Indian contexts.

The conference deliberations included about 40 invited presentations with more than 10 International speakers and the remaining speakers from across the country from about 11 states. Scientific paper presentations done on day 2, in parallel sessions included scientific work presented by about 40 participants including research students and faculty across India.

Summary of the sessions

The keynote speakers addressed the importance of holistic approaches to health, integration of body, mind, and spirit, and community wisdom.

Day 1, 10.11.2022

Session 1 started with panel discussion on the topic Holistic Healthcare: A panoramic view integrating TCAM interventions. The discussants addressed different facets of TCAM such as, involving digital technology, alternative approaches to drug delivery, holistic approaches in palliative care, community mental health in religious spaces, existing gaps in allopathic treatment, and the importance of complementary approaches.

Session 2 started with symposium-I titled Cognitive health and TCAM interventions, highlighting the importance of cognition in public health and public policy, the link between eye and brain, the role of language and audio pathologist, and the importance of a collaborative approach through TCAM interventions. Session 2 also addressed through the invited lectures, the modern medicinal and traditional healing methods, behavioral modification methods, and traditional practices in mental and community health. The symposium-II in Session 2 titled Holistic healthcare and interventions: Divergent perspectives, addressed the importance of divergent viewpoints on holistic healthcare and interventions including patient-physician communication, benefits of yoga in cancer and mental health. The day ended with the practical and interactive session of Yoga and pranayama for relaxation and stress relief.

Day 2 started with invited talks addressing perspectives on Prioritizing WASH, IPC, and AMR for holistic healthcare and Traditional nutrition and calorie requirements in rural India.

The symposium 3, which addressed holistic perspectives in cancer care, addressed not only the need for care from the patient’s perspective, but also from caregivers’ and medical professionals’ point of view and a need for adding TCAM approaches as a part of interventions, while also including the importance of spirituality in cancer care. Symposium 4 discussed innovations in holistic healthcare management which included traditional medicine in the healthcare system, effectiveness of human resources in traditional health, and the importance of yoga therapy in boosting psychological immunity in working professionals. Session 3 ended with parallel paper presentations from scholars all over India.

Session 4 consisted of invited talks that addressed mental health from an ayurvedic perspective along with the importance of holistic healthcare for optimal well-being. Symposium 5 discussed perspectives in integrating complementary and alternative therapies in clinical practices such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and a presentation on childhood disorders from a TCAM perspective along with a demonstration of relaxation using visual imagery. The students of Centre for Health Psychology presented a skit showcasing the mental health issues in a family and how TCAM approaches can be used to deal with them.

The conference ended with the valedictory programme with the Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof R. Sarraju presiding it. While the rapporteurs presented a brief report, Dr G. Padmaja, the PI of the project and Head, CHP, presented a summary of the entire conference. The chief guest Dr. K. Ramachandran, Director, Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), Outstanding Scientist & Scientist ‘H’ addressed the audience and emphasized on the age old practices followed traditionally for the holistic health in India and how the wisdom of these practices has been making the Indians fit to survive severe calamities such as COVID 19 as well at large. This was followed by Prof. Updesh Kumar, Scientist ‘G’ (R), DIPR; Adjunct Professor, Rashtriya Raksha University addressing the gathering on the topic Preventing Suicide through Spirituality: Issues and Challenges. Dr. Manoj Kuriakose addressed the audience on the topic, creating awareness of TCAM in Holistic Health with pertinent examples.

The conference created a platform to deliberate upon an insightful base for further research and application in Innovations in Health Interventions combining the Traditional Complementary and Alternative Methods (TCAM) in Holistic Healthcare.