Ancient wisdom part two

By | Category: Travel destinations

Certainly the ‘no risk’ factor, along with the introduction of more stringent industry regulation, has boosted consumer confidence and turned many people onto TCM – something Olivia Keith, a British journalist living and working in China, can attest to. “I struggled with IBS for many years and coped by popping painkiller to alleviate my symptoms,” says Keith. “However when I came to China, I found western hospitals were charging crazy prices for medication. My Chinese teacher suggested I see a TCM doctor, and, given my discomfort, I thought: why not?” Keith had her tongue and pulse points checked and was provided with an organic treatment plan, plus lifestyle and nutritional advice. “Three weeks later, the swelling had subsided and I haven’t had any stomach problems in a year,” she beams.

An avowed convert, Keith swears that she would now “always seek an alternative to drug therapy. Western medication did work to a degree in dealing with my IBS but I feel it was a short-term fix, rather than getting to the root of why my body was behaving as it did. The most effective cure for complaints isn’t always to be found on the shelves of the pharmacy, but within ourselves.”


It’s a school of thought championed by Alex Tan, a practitioner of TCM at Beijing’s Bamboo Clinic. “Never underestimate the power for people to heal themselves,” says Tan. “The true treasure of TCM involves not giving the fish, but rather the fishing rod, so people can restore and maintain their own health.”

Rosen is another who learnt that the future of his health lay not only in the ways of the past, but in his own hands. The native New Yorker was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease – a type of lymphatic cancer – at the tender age of 12. Rosen was subsequently bombarded with radiation before beating the illness, only to develop “cancer of the thyroid as a result of the treatment I received for Hodgkin’s disease,” recalls Ken. “I said enough. My belief was that western medicine had reached its limits, and this thought eventually led me to find traditional Chinese medicine.”

Guasha aka scraping

It’s clear that Ken views TCM as one of China’s biggest gifts to the world, right up there with the noodle. “Western medicine tends to view symptoms like boiling water. It puts a lid on the problem with antihistamines, antibiotics. Everything is anti,” explains Rosen. “Chinese medicine takes the lid off, allowing the problem out and helping the body to come back into its natural balance. It’s empowering.”

That’s not to say that TCM is an ideal medical system. Certainly it has its limitations in treating serious illnesses that can be seen on a scan, something Dr Himlok is at pains to point out: “The western medical approach should always be used for life threatening and major acute conditions.”

However when it comes to chronic illness, more and more people are dipping their toes into the TCM pool and discovering, in the words of Mao Zedong, that “traditional Chinese medicine is a great treasure” which can lead to a happier and healthier life. And with a history of 4,000 years, it’s a system of medicine that shows no signs of fading away …

Where to try TCM in China:

TCM: one of China's treasures?

Arha Na Traditional Chinese Medicine Holistic Wellness Centre
Building 1, Head Office Service Bureau, Chinese Medicine Administration Bureau, 55 Xinf Fu Yi Cun, North Gate Beijing Workers Stadium, Chaoyang district, Beijing, 100027
[Tel] + 86 10 6417 1056
[Mob] +86 187 0153 1685
[Skype] karennaturopathy

Body & Soul Medical Clinic
Four Seasons Hotel, Level 6, 500 Weihai Lu, Jingan district, Shanghai, 200041,
[Tel] +86 21 5101 9262
[Email] jingan@

China Medical University Hospital
2 Yuh-Der Road, Taichung City, Taiwan, 40447
[Tel] 886 4 22052121

Shanghai Sun Island International Club
2588 Shentai Lu, Qingpu district, Shanghai, 201714
[Tel] +86 21 6987 3888 (ext 8552)

Peninsula Hong Kong
Salisbury Road, Tsim Shat Sui, Hong Kong
[Tel] 852 2920 2888

Straight Bamboo Clinic
The Opposite House, B2 Level, The Village at Sanlitun, Building 1, 11 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang district, Beijing, 100027
[Tel] +86 150 1151 0363



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