Two-week Immersion at Traditional Chinese Medicine Demonstration Hospital
In September, Victor Fenech had the opportunity to observe and interrogate advanced practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Shanghai’s Shugang Hospital. Shugang Hospital has Eastern and Western medicine branches; the Eastern branch was established in 1906 and merged with a Western medicine hospital in 1960. In 2005, the Eastern division opened in a modern 750-bed demonstration hospital built on the principles of Feng Shui with the five elements of TCM – earth, metal, water, fire and food – given prominence in the gardens and courtyards.
The goal for Shugang Hospital is to be the medical, educational and research centre of traditional Chinese medicine in Asia. The hospital has 70 departments and specialties including acupuncture, moxibustion, TCM osteology and Chinese herbal medicine. The hospital is affiliated with Shanghai University of TCM and Victor was part of an international contingent undertaking a two-week advanced internship.
TCM complementary therapy for cancer patients
Victor was particularly interested in the treatments provided to cancer patients. The TCM oncology department offers Chinese herbs and acupuncture to patients, to increase their comfort and general health, while their cancer is treated with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in the hospital’s Western medicine branch. TCM is gaining acceptance in Australia as a complementary therapy for cancer patients.
Treating macular degeneration with acupuncture
Victor was also impressed with the hospital’s ophthalmology department where experienced TCM practitioners are treating macular degeneration with acupuncture and herbal prescriptions. Needles are inserted in acupoints around the eye with the aim of increasing blood flow to the retina and Chinese herbs are prescribed for nourishing the yin.
The interns were able to observe a wide variety of conditions and treatments with the TCM practitioners treating up to 50 or 60 patients in a 4-hour period.
Advanced clinical training certification
Following the two-week hospital immersion, the interns received Level 2 TCM Advanced Clinical Training certification and returned to their practices with new needling techniques and herbal formulae.