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Bridge linking German Biological Medicine
with English speaking practitioners worldwide - since 1972!
History of OIRF | OIRF Story | About
See our continuing story at
Institute Celebrates 40 Years Advocating Biological
The "Life" Story & Adventures
After two years of preparation, planning and dreaming Occidental Institute made its first appearance on July 2, 1972 in a small office/warehouse in a suburb of Toronto, Ontario Canada. Our founder, Dr. Walter Sturm was a teacher, a researcher and an acupuncturist. Looking for a way to share his unique set of skills and training led us to form the Occidental
Institute of Chinese Studies.
With the exception of an elderly Chinese gentleman who
was teaching some acupuncture in Vancouver, BC Canada,
Occidental Institute was the first organization to offer
traditional Chinese acupuncture training in North America.
Only a few months later, then US President Richard Nixon,
visited China with the usual retinue of press and security.
Much to everyone's surprise one of the press secretaries
had an acute appendicitis attack and required immediate
surgery. The entire operation was completed with acupuncture
anesthesia. Acupuncture then exploded into the public
consciousness of North Americans.
Teaching acupuncture to students throughout the English-speaking
world via their unique Extension Training (Home Study) Program
our little school of a hundred students blossomed into a
thousand students virtually overnight, and of course brought
Occidental Institute into that same spotlight of attention.
The authorities eventually branded the Institute as an “illegal
medical school" (even though acupuncture itself had
not been defined as the practice of medicine). In July 1975
we packed our bags and moved our offices and staff to Montreal,
Quebec Canada. With that explosion of interest in acupuncture
our Institute once again doubled in size over the next few
But then politics and the special interests of the medical/pharmaceutical
profession once again interfered. Quebec passed the now
famous "Bill 101" which among other things,
made it mandatory to publish in French even though 99%
of our students were outside of Quebec and did not speak
French. Add to this stewpot, the menace of once again
being labeled as an illegal medical school and we were
packing our bags for another move - this time to Miami,
Florida USA. In July 1978 OICS established the Occidental Institute
of Chinese Studies
Alumni Association (the longest name in corporate history
I think!) essentially as the graduate arm of the Canadian
The major function of the OICS Alumni Association was to coordinate the activities of its graduates on a worldwide basis, and serve as a back-up organization to the general membership of some nine hundred.
During this time Dr. Sturm's background and vast knowledge
of the field brought about a major shift in the interests
of our members and the Institute staff. Because of his
German-speaking background, his personal interests had
already turned to Germany for training and education in
emerging new technologies and methods. Dr. Reinhold Voll
had been invited to give several North American lectures
on his method of Electro-Acupuncture (or EAV). Already
aware of and using this method in his private practice,
Dr. Sturm was able to introduce it to our members with
English-speaking lecturers such as Dr. Hartwig Schuldt.
As well, Occidental Institute initiated resident training
programs for our traditional acupuncture students. Through
ongoing seminars and workshops, the Institute was able
to introduce information on BioResonance Therapies (MORA)
with Dr. Franz Morell and Erich Rasche and Biological
Functions Diagnosis (BFD) with Dr. Hans Kupka.
After three years in Miami, the Board of Directors decided
to relocate the Alumni Association to California because
of the healthier climate for acupuncture and the licensing
of acupuncture schools. Ironically, while loading the
moving vans, the state of Florida served them with a "duces
tecum" subpoena demanding (among other things) all
of the membership records and contending that they were
in actuality an acupuncture school.
As an acupuncturists' organization first and foremost,
with many members in Florida and other US states practicing
underground by necessity, it was impossible for us to
comply with that 'fishing expedition' subpoena without
jeopardizing them. Fortunately, all those membership records
were already on their way to California, and Florida later
dropped the matter.
In the San Francisco area of California, the OICS Alumni Association (under the umbrella of a U.L.C. charter) was involved with such aspects as continuing education for its members; translation, research and publication of advanced acupuncture materials such as the Master of Acupuncture materials; legislative matters; Newsletters; and, of course, a continuing series of seminars and workshops including the first seminars for Dr. Helmut Schimmel (VEGA), Dr. Erwin Schramm (NBT) and Dr. Ernst Kojer (Mayr). Special German Electro-Acupuncture Tours to Germany were initiated, and gradually due to demand from members and personal interest by the staff, our research and emphasis shifted further away from traditional acupuncture and encompassed more of the modern German techniques. Publication of the German Electro-Acupuncture Manuals was finalized here as well.
In July 1984 (after seven years in the USA), Occidental
Institute relocated back to Canada and the OccidentalInstitute Research Foundation
became a legally constituted entity. "Why back to
Canada?" you are probably asking. There are two major
reasons. First, over the years our
own personal interests (like the majority of our members!)
have progressed from traditional acupuncture to an almost
exclusive interest in the field then termed "German
Electro-Acupuncture". Although some registration
inroads have been made in recent years with the introduction
of ISO and international standards certification, sadly
the majority of the techniques and instrumentation of
that field are still not approved or even recognized in
the USA - meaning we had to operate on a low profile basis
in the USA. Here in Canada, the techniques and instrumentation
though not considered 'legal' are allowed and recognized,
the techniques can be taught, and can more readily be
applied in practice. This makes Canada an excellent place
from which to advocate and promote these highly effective
modern methods. At least we don't have to be constantly
worried, and can function aboveboard.
Second, Canada and specifically British
Columbia have some of the best statutes regarding societies
and foundations in the English-speaking world. The flexibility
offered us by our incorporation here is extremely vast
compared to other provinces and countries. Occidental
Institute's legal status as a foundation and nonprofit
society for practitioners of Biological Medicine gives
us unprecedented room to work in, and an almost completely
autonomous structure governed internally by our Board
of Directors. This is the same type of legal format that
most Canadian professional medical associations and colleges
have, with negligible governmental and outside control
or supervision. Since we are not a
public charity like most large fund-raising medical 'research'
organizations, our services and activities are directed
toward the practitioner (who can in turn educate his patients).
Overall, Vancouver, British Columbia was the perfect location
for Occidental Institute.
Naturally, with the Institute's offices in Canada, all
of the files, mailing lists and records are kept here,
where they are fully protected from seizure or unauthorized
use. Much of our work involves publishing specialized
medical information, and there is less chance of future
US interference with 'international' medical publications
(in contrast with those printed in the USA).
The vast majority of current members of the Occidental
Institute Research Foundation (OIRF) are now interested
in such modern aspects as: "Needle-less" stimulation;
electronic acu-point diagnosis; medication testing; sophisticated
therapy in the ultrafine biocybernetic (BioResonance)
realm; contemporary application of homeotherapeutics;
plus, methods for their objectification. We utilize the
term "Biological Medicine" to encompass all
of these, rather than 'German Electro-Acupuncture' for
truly this is medicine and not simply electronic acupuncture.
In August 1995 Occidental Institute moved into the interior of British Columbia to the city of Penticton. Here they continued to sponsor ongoing Tours to Germany where members can meet leading edge researchers and hear about the latest innovations and methods. Publication of regular newsletters; translation and publication of current German articles and the latest research papers; along with exclusive (or privately published) books and manuals have been made available to members to assist with their training and education in this field.
Sadly, in July 2004 Dr. Walter Sturm passed away after a lengthy illness. Although we all miss his direct guidance and expertise, Occidental Institute has continued to expand and works to fulfill his dream of acceptance of this medicine in North America. Our mission statement (as written by Dr. Sturm many years ago) reads:
"Occidental Institute Research Foundation functions
as an information and technology bridge linking top German
practitioners and suppliers involved in aspects of German
Biological Medicine with progressive English-speaking
practitioners around the world.
By providing information, seminars, workshops, educational materials, and facilitating instrumentation, OIRF promotes the growth of German Biological Medicine throughout North American, and in other English-speaking countries.
OIRF is a nonprofit society supported by its membership
base. As a research organization we are constantly seeking
and evaluating new approaches to health care for our Members."
During most of 2006 we constructed and renovated a brand new facility specially designed to house our medical and administrative offices; lots of room to showcase our extensive library; along with work and classroom areas right here in Penticton. Although only a short moving distance, the move into our new facility took almost a month and was mostly completed by January 2007.
On July 2, 2007 Occidental Institute celebrated its 35th Anniversary as final preparations were made for the 34th Biological Medicine Group Tour to Germany that fall. It is an exciting time of research and discovery. When a friend asked me to write an article about the history of Occidental Institute, I hesitated. I wondered how I could possibly condense so much experience into an article that would still convey the adventure and inspiration and laughter that we have shared over these past many years. But then, I thought what better way would there be to celebrate not only the accomplishments of Occidental Institute itself, but also those of our founder, Dr. Walter D. Sturm.
We are looking forward to many more years of research,
education and training and are grateful for the opportunity
to continue this great dream.
In January 2000 OIRF became a ‘members only’
organization. Due to staffing, cost and time considerations,
we no longer maintain a general mailing list of non-affiliated
customers. Instead, our priorities are directed more
toward projects and activities for our current Research
Associates. Those of you who do decide to apply for affiliation
with us can be assured of fellowship in a practitioner
oriented Society whose aims and efforts are specifically
directed to your needs.
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