The Beijing TCM Hosiptal

The Beijing TCM Hosiptal

Exploring and practicing in the Acupuncture unit of a hospital in Beijing.

Monday was our first day at the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. It is very different from a western hospital. Not only is there an Acupuncture department, but also a herbal department dedicated to sorting and preparing herbal prescriptions.  They will even prepare the herbal decotions for patients who are unable to do it themselves.

Herb Preparation Room

Straight in from the front door is the Acupuncture day unit. There are people everywhere sitting and waiting for their treatment.  The set up for treatment is very different from what we are used to in Canada. Each doctor sees anywhere from 8-14 people at a time and up to 28 people in an hour.  While patients are resting with their needles the doctors are doing intake for the next round. This makes for a very crowded and  busy room.  More often than not assistants are responsible for removing the needles to save time.  Within about 1 hour of being there they had us pulling needles as well.

Karen removing needles

The most common conditions they seem to treat in this unit are: facial paralysis, stroke, shingles, neck and low back pain, and insomnia, in addition to others.  The point prescriptions do not seem to much different from the points that we would select for patients at home.  It is reassuring to see what our instructors have taught us has given us a solid foundation for our future practice.  It reinforces what we have learned over the last 3 years. In fact, the simple 4 gate point combination for moving Qi and Blood, is used perhaps more than we use have been in clinic ourselves.

Holly removing needles

We were following Dr.  Xia who is the director of the Acupuncture unit at the hospital and seems to be very much in demand.  Despite the fact that there are only 7 beds in each room he was often treating an additional person or two seated in a chair.

Perhaps the most interesting treatment we saw on Monday was for a girl with epilepsy. When she came into the room and saw us observing she made a point to speak to Jiulin about how acupuncture had helped cure her of polio as a child.  She was very enthusiastic about the whole process.  Her treatment in particular was interesting because Dr. Xia used the traditional point for epilepsy on her.  For those of you who know Du 1, enough said.  For those of you who do not know where that point is located, don’t worry about it.

Tammie removing needles

We were supposed to be done for the day at 4:30 but because of how busy Dr. Xia   Was we did not leave until after 6.  Needless to say our feet were very tired from standing all day, running around to get out of the way.  We decided to indulge in a reflexology session and wandered up the street to a place we had seen on our lunch break. None of us are familiar with what a legitimate Chinese massage/ reflexology business looks like but based on the uniforms (short, tight) even though they accommodated us, we are thinking we did not necessarily fit into their target demographic. We all received a treatment at the same time in one large room by therapists who seemed to have varying  degrees of skill, but all in all our feet felt refreshed as we returned to the busy streets of Beijing.

By the time our reflexology treatments were done it was close to 9:00 so we only stopped for a quick bite on the way home, so we could prepare for the next day of observation.  Even though we started the day nervous and unsure what to expect we finished the d

Four acupuncture students from MacEwan University are learning and traveling in China this month.