On Monday evening, the interns got a special tour of the Traditional Chinese healing methods at a local hospital in Zhuhai.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a wide range of ancient practices that have been used in China for more than 2000 years and this includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary therapy, and various massage techniques.
At first we were introduced to the Medicine Center where patients can get their prescription medicine. In China, most medicines are made up of different herbs that are measured and mixed to diagnose a certain symptom or sickness, and are taken as tea.
From there we were taken upstairs where we got a tour of the area where Acupuncture, Cupping and Fire Massages are done. In fact, as we were walking around there were real patients getting the procedures done that we basically stood around and watched!
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a procedure in which needles are used to stimulate acupuncture points (known as meridians) in one’s body that creates therapeutic effect, and this can be done via manual stimulation or electrical stimulation. Acupuncture is said to be one of the oldest healing practices in the world, and it is said to help with anxiety, problems with sleep and depression.
What is Cupping Therapy?
The Cupping Therapy is an ancient Chinese form of medicine in which fire is placed inside of a cup and placed on the patient’s skin to create suction. Traditional doctors believe that this creates a flow of blood which results in healing and they use it to treat the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping Therapy can be done on the back, neck and shoulders. Afterwards one is left with round red bruised bubbles where the cup had been.
We were then all able to get a sample of each procedure. They were very quick and did not tell us where we were getting our procedures done – Philippe sat down and the doctor quickly stuck some acupuncture needles in his head – this is to activate the brain cells and make you smarter. I decided to go next, thinking I was getting an opportunity to get smarter also, but very quickly, before I could react, the doctor stuck a few needles in my arms instead – this is supposed to create a sense of calmness and control anger. I wonder if she knew we both needed these specific cures… Raury (one of the Zhuhai interns) sat down next and got to experience the cupping on his neck.
Afterwards we all had the option to choose a procedure and have it done, for which we had to pay the small amount of 11.5 RMB (1.50€) for the Cupping and 20 (2.50€) RMB for the Fire Massage!
I tried the Cupping therapy, which I was told would not hurt. To clarify, I wouldn’t say it hurts, but it definitely does not feel pleasant! Once it comes into contact with your back, it sticks on your skin as a small vacuum has been created within the cup by the cooling of the hot air and gasses, and then has to stay there for ten minutes. For the duration of the ten minutes you can feel an intense sucking/tickling sensation. This didn’t feel great, but what did it for me was the thought of my blood being sucked to the surface of my skin and after that I was pretty freaked out. Afterwards we were all left with funny red circles on our backs – the more red and bubbly the spots, the more unhealthy you are said to be.
When all procedures were finished, we took some group photos with the Chinese doctors, since they so graciously gave us a free tour of the facility and a lesson on the Traditional Chinese Healing Massages. To top off the evening, we went out for ice cream afterwards.