Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Visiting Beijing's 'TCM Guru'

I went to see my Chinese Doctor again. I never know in advance which therapy he has for me in mind on that day. Acupuncture, heat therapy, cupping or acupressure massage? It turned out I will have it all.

First acupuncture. I hate needles. I used to almost faint whenever a nurse gave me an injection. Although, acupuncture does not really hurt it is not comfortable for all body areas. That visit, I got two needles in my face, ouch!  Near my nose below the eye - after telling him that my sinus is blocked often.

Then the friendly assistant put warm pillows on my belly where the doctor had put other needles and covered me with thick blankets. Candles, joss sticks and soft Chinese music provided a relaxing atmosphere. After some minutes, the assistant started to give me a very gentle neck massage. In my first session the doctor found that especially the right site of my neck is very stiff which blocks the sympathetic nervous system that leads to my lack of energy. During the treatment I always try to listen to my body and feel the connections between the different areas. Funnily the neck massage caused a warm feeling around the acupuncture needles in my belly. And the warm pillows seemed to burn me,  although with the time the heat should diminish.

After the massage he took out the needles and I had to turn around. I hoped for another massage on my back but gave up when I heard the lighting of a flame. Cupping was on the menu. Today, the cupping did not make me feel like my skin is burning, like it did the first time. Strangely it was a cool feeling. In my opinion cupping must have been a torture tool until they found out that it makes the victim feel better afterwards. It apparently takes out the toxic of the body. And when the spots are dark purple, not only at the border but the whole circle, then it was really time for you to see the TCM doctor. The next session of cupping will show a better result, reddish border only.

40 minutes later my session was over and I got a little bag with herbal medicine from the doctor's wife. Again brown pills for warming up my belly, to swallow with warm water twice a day. There is no doctor's invoice or certificate. I payed cash into a vase on the floor in the living room: 100 RMB for the treatment, and another 100 RMB for any herbal medicine.

Is this TCM treatment cheap? My doctor says, he appreciates that we are willing to pay him 100 RMB out of our own pocket. When we go to western hospitals in Beijing we get charged 90 USD for one consultation only. But this is covered by our insurances and we do not pay anything out of our own pocket. That is why the Chinese medicine students that want to make money follow western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine is dying.

But again, is he really cheap? His 100 RMB per session is about double the price that other Chinese doctors charge. But he is the one who speaks English. Therefor his medical practice is attracting more foreign patients, less locals.

He is smart, he is friendly, and he has a good team. Above all, he is dedicated to his work. He is very popular with expats. Lots of people I know go to see him. Almost every expat has heard of him. He seems to be the ‘TCM Guru’ in town.

Who is he? - Dr. Paul (Jiriu) Lan's background is Osteology, Orthopaedics and Traumatology. He has worked as a resident physician at the Beijing College of Acupuncture for five years and at the Wang Jing Hospital in Beijing from 1997 to 2001. Since 2001 he is a teacher and attending physician at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Since 1998, he is a guest lecturer at the Bio Medica School in Switzerland. In 2003, he has developed his own method, the Yi Fang TCM System, which has refined and integrated various useful theories and techniques on medicine both of the East and the West. The focus of this method is on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases.

Sometimes, he is also teaching expat groups the basics of the logic of Chinese Medicine in his living room. I had the chance to take part in these lessons. A second course was on "Tai Ji": the relationship between Yi Jing, TCM and Qi Gong - and Tai Ji practice, the way to use mind, heart and body.

I would say his "followers" are about 90% foreigners. And out of them about 70% are female. The average age of the female patient is around 40 years. I think this is when you get aware of the limits of your body and need to get some issues solved that western doctors cannot solve that easy because of unclear symptoms. - So far my personal analysis.

And the result after four TCM sessions? - Do I feel better? - Yes, I do feel lighter, taller, more relaxed, more energetic. The result is better than after any traditional reflexology massage that just feels good but does not really do much to the body. So I decided to continue with my ‘TCM Guru’ after the holidays.

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TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine
100 Rmb = 10 Euro = 12 USD (about)


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Update 2013:
After those two needles, six years ago, I never ever had a blocked sinus again!

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1 comment:

Krisna said...

i find ur blog very interesting. me and my bf is planning a vacation to beijing this july. we are interested with acupuncture. is it ok if u give me some infos on where to find your doctor. if u dont want to post it here u can send it to my email, maritakrsna@gmail.com... thanks in advance :)

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