Occidental Institute Celebrates 40 Years
Advocating Biological Medicine


Occidental Institute was founded in 1972 as a traditional Chinese acupuncture training organization. In spite of harassment from the medical authorities, it has developed into an internationally recognized research and support organization for practitioners of biological medicine. Finally settling in Penticton, British Columbia Canada, under the corporate structure of a nonprofit research foundation, Occidental Institute is able to continue acting as an information and technology bridge linking Germany with English speaking practitioners around the world. In July 2012 they celebrate their 40th Anniversary!

Walter D. SturmAfter 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, security and so on. 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 and acupuncture 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), and 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 years.

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 Occidental Institute.

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 Occidental Institute 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, 2012 Occidental Institute celebrates its 40th Anniversary as final preparations were made for the 39th Biological Medicine Group Tour to Germany this fall. It is an exciting time of research and discovery. Several years ago 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.

Carolyn L. Winsor-Sturm
Managing Director
Occidental Institute,

Brief Author Biography:
Married to Dr. Walter Sturm, Carolyn is one of the founding directors of Occidental Institute. She acted as Administrator until Dr. Sturm’s passing in July 2004 and has now assumed the role of CEO and Managing Director. Although not a practitioner (trained as a teacher and musician), Carolyn has participated in all seminars, training programs and Germany Tours sponsored by the Institute. Her broad range of experience is now supported by an elite board of medical advisors from around the English and German speaking world.

An Celebratory Article For OIRF Supporters
From THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Written for our 35th Anniversary in 2007, and
Re-Published September 2014

© Copyright 2007/2014, Winsor/Occidental Institute, BC Canada

About the author

  • Founding director, administrator and executive director of Occidental Institute; the first English language acupuncture “school” in North America founded 1972 which over the years developed into the largest educational and promotional advocate of Biological Medicine until its closing in 2018.
  • 35 years experience with medical and technical translation and literary research in English, French and German.
  • Participation in every seminar, workshop and tour program sponsored by OIRF
  • Participation in more than 35 Medicine Week Congress programs as well as events too numerous to count sponsored by German instrumentation, homeopathic and research organizations
  • Training and certification in multiple Biological Medicine Methods including BioResonance Therapy, EAV, AMA, VEGA, Mayr Therapy, Ionized Oxygen Therapy, Magnetic Field Therapy, BioPhoton Therapy, the so-called Global Diagnostics and many others.
  • As a teacher, lecturer and author she has already trained hundreds of practitioners from diverse English-speaking countries.
  • Her passion and insight provide an overall view of the most effective German Biological Medicine diagnostic and therapeutic methods

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