In February of this year, I received an invitation in an email from Juicertrip. I was asked to come to China for a Traditional Chinese Medicine study. Not knowing who they were I almost threw it away as spam. But I checked them out instead.
I went ahead and opened the email from a great guy named David Dou.
He explained that Juicertrip worked with different companies and the China Tourism department. They bring bloggers and photographers to China to promote different projects.
I decided, what the heck, it could work. After I filled out the application.
I guess I am lucky or I am living right. Really, I don't know which.
One of their more prolific tours is a study of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing.
Three months later I was in Jerusalem, Israel on May 10th.
When out of the blue I got the following letter from David:
Please kindly check this attached file and check with me ASAP:)
This was the attachment:
Visit Beijing and experience the Magic Traditional Chinese Medicine
(Beijing Tourism Board, Ctrip, and Juicertrip)
Campaign time: June 1st-10th
Duration: 6 nights and 7 days
Experience Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment and Explore the City of Beijing
Details: The whole campaign is to boost Chinese TCM to the western world. According to the Chinese TCM theory, there are altogether 31 different chronic diseases that could be treated and cured by the TCM, such as massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping. Like what the TCM says, the Chinese treatment goes to the place where the cause of the disease comes from, and the gradual treatment is highly valued. That is why it may “require” you to stay in Beijing for a week.
During the spare time of treatment, you will be taken by the Ctrip & Juicertrip to go and explore the “secret” areas in Beijing, such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the historical Hutongs. We’d like you to write, to shoot and record the entire experience of this TCM trip, to share this upcoming fabulous experience to your friends, your families and fans. Finally, we are going to make this trip into a product to those who love Chinese culture and TCM.
Requirement: We’d like to have the travel influencers with the cross-social media fans and followers over 50k as a minimum. We’d like to have at one post of this trip on your blog, 15 cross-social media shares as a minimum either on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on. At the same time, we will need at least 10 photos of this trip and we are only using these references for the non-commercial use.
TCM Trip Itinerary
What's included: Ctrip & Juicertip will take care of your China visa, your international flight (economy class) your accommodation in Beijing during the trip, meals, and tours.
I could not believe that I was being given a trip to China all expenses paid. That I would be able to try and then write about the different types of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The oldest culture in the world had been using this for thousands of years. All before my home country of the United States was even in existence.
The logistics would be very tight for me to make the trip due to the time frame I was working with. I had to go from Israel via Istanbul where I had already made commitments on the 19th through the 22nd of May. I flew out of Istanbul on a red-eye on the 23rd of May and arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand on the 24th. Went to bed almost as soon as I got there to let my body catch up. Then on the 25th headed to the dreaded Chinese Consulate in Chiang Mai.
I had heard such horror stories about getting a Visa for China outside of your home country. I was prepared for a long process and a ton of questions. When I walked in armed with my application and what I believe was the necessary information. I had a letter of invitation from Juicertrip, itinerary, hotel reservation and flight information. The young lady behind the desk looked it over, showed everything to her superior and smiled. “Please come back on June 2nd and pick up your Visa.” After 15 minutes and having the correct information to hand them, I was out. I had to get home and begin preparing to get ready to head to China.
I will be flying to China on Sunday the 4th of June for what the chance of a lifetime. Here is a list of the places I will be visiting, the treatments and more.
Seven Day and Six Nights Itinerary
Pick up at Beijing International Airport and check-in at the hotel
Opening ceremony at Tianyang Valley
(Day spent experiencing different Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments)
Lunch at Tianyang Valley
Dinner at Quanjude Beijing Roast Duck
Mutianyu Great Wall excursion
Lunch at Yidonglou Restaurant
Visit the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine University and Museum (Duration, 3 hours)
(Founded in September of 1990, the Museum of Chinese Medicine at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine is a professionally managed museum with a rich collection of traditional Chinese medicinal relics and substances)
Dinner at Imperial Restaurant
To visit the Beijing Tongrentang (Tongrentang, or Tong Ren Tang, abbreviated as TRT, is a Chinese pharmaceutical company founded in 1669, which is now the largest producer of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The company is headquartered in Beijing.
To visit the Hutong area at Houhai (Houhai refers to a lake and its surrounding neighborhood in Xicheng District of central Beijing, … Since the early 2000s, the hutong neighborhood around Houhai has become known for its nightlife as many residences along the lakeshore)
Free day for shopping
Departure to Beijing International Airport
Looks like a huge trip and I will be very busy. Be sure and look for information and photographs throughout the trip. I will be posting information on each of my Social Media accounts.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Juicertrip and Ctrip for this tour, however, all opinions expressed here are my own.
Arrival in Beijing for the Treatments
I arrived in Beijing to begin my learning program on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese Acupuncture, Massage, Cupping, Herbal Therapy, and Qua, are a few treatments used. I had been studying the elements of treatment involved in TCM before my trip.
I am going to give you a short background on TCM. This will give you a better understanding of the treatments that I am going to experience. The practice has been around for over 2500 years in China. Much like the programs in Japan and Korea, but, each with its own traditions.
The Chinese Physicians learn that the body divides areas called meridians. Each one controlling certain parts of your anatomy. Your energy or (Chi) courses through your body and enters and exits the meridians. The stronger and healthier this inner Chi, the healthier and happier you will be
They do this in three ways. 1. Massage, 2. Acupuncture and 3. the Art of Bha Qua. Bha Qua is an art somewhat like Kung Fu or Karate but not a martial art. It is a set of movements you will make while having a strong meditation process. The use is to enhance your Chi and create a healthier state of well-being.
The Three Elements in TCM
We all know the power of these three elements. The 3rd is also achieved with other programs such as Yoga, Pilates, Meditation and more. These type programs focus on the mental aspect of good health. Everyone knows that a good mental state is a necessary part of good health. While Bha Qua is a Chinese staple of TCM the others are also well known to provide a healthy outlook on life.
Western doctors have done many studies and have agreed that elements 1, 2, and 3 can provide good health. They can aid or offset certain illnesses, to some point. There is one element not as simple to resolve and that is number 4. That is the use of herbs in TCM. There have been many studies done on all four elements and the first three all provided relief. They helped in treating illness as well as a stable healthy mental outlook.
Difference Between East and West Treatments
After working with these doctors my belief is that the Herbal medicine would help as well. Herbal medicine has is the earliest form of medicine known. It has been in use by every society in the world since almost the beginning of time. Cave dwellers even used certain herbs and leaves to help combat ailments.
Taking herbs in the Western World as the medication will never gain acceptance. There are two basic problems with using herbs. Their purity and where they originated. As a very basic comparison, a $5.00 bottle of wine is not as good as a $1000 bottle of the finest French vintages. The second is the powerful lobby efforts of organized medicine. The place where the herbs originated and the testing process can be a huge factor of any benefits you may see. I have not tested any of the drugs and cannot venture an opinion on their value. Over half of the population here in China to take advantage of TCM doctors. That alone speaks volumes on their thoughts of the benefits.
Massage And Chinese Acupuncture
This morning I went to the clinic for my initial examination and treatment. I have had some arthritis in my knees and was eager to find out what effect that could have on the problem. When we arrived outside of the International Clinic located in the Donzhimen Hospital. my tour guide called and we had to wait in the lobby. Inside the lobby was the Pharmacy which consisted of various herbs. The doctors were processing behind glass in a cleanroom. Everything was running and operating and at a very high level of professionalism.
Now back to my first treatment session. This is the first part of the treatment with the Tui Na Doctor (Chinese therapeutic massage).
I described the problems I was having with my knees and answered some questions he asked. The Doctor then began a lengthy examination of not only my knees but my lower legs as well. He was looking for the cause of the circulatory problems I have in my right leg. The examination was both assessing the movement of my legs. This gave me no pain at all but the times he worked on pressure points in my right knee gave me a shooting pain. The other part of both of my legs which were very sensitive were further down in the calves. He said that the treatment would take about an hour.
His course of treatment began with an intense massage in my upper leg above the knee. This then progressed down into the calf of each leg. I had some tension and pain in the upper leg but once again the real issue seemed to be further down below my knees. The pain in my right leg as he did the massage therapy which was intense. This did improve over the course of the treatment.
While the left leg had some of the same pain at first it was not as sharp. The entire treatment lasted at least one hour and afterward when I stood up it was like my legs were very rubbery. That feeling did pass in a few moments. He told me that my legs would be a little sore the next morning and would improve throughout the day.
After Treatment Results
Our afternoon consisted of a visit to the Hutongs (Ancient City Area). My legs were a little sore after walking throughout the afternoon. I am writing this the next morning and have little to no problems today. All in all, I am feeling fine after the treatment. I will be returning on Friday for a second treatment. I will give a complete assessment of the benefits, if any, in the follow-up article.
Chinese Acupuncture Treatment
The second part of the examination dealt with a Chinese Acupuncture Doctor. As many of you know, the thing I hate more than anything is needles. I was not looking forward to the Chinese Acupuncture part of the treatment. He began by checking my pulse and in my case due to my age, he also checked my blood pressure.
I left the United States and weighing 335 lbs my blood pressure had gotten quite high at around 155/130. which was the highest reading I had ever had. After losing around 115 lbs in body weight it was back down to a perfect reading of 130/80. I attribute that to not only weight loss but the reduction of stress due to my new lifestyle and diet.
After an examination of my pulse, the doctor recommended a course of treatment. This was to help with problems that he saw in the different meridians of my body. He was able to discern those problems by the number of heartbeats was going through my body. One of the meridians that he felt had a lower than normal amount of energy. I want to point out that this is not a pulse examination like in a Western examination. It took from 5 to 10 minutes with him alternating from one wrist to the other.
The Acupuncture Treatment
He began the Chinese Acupuncture Treatment after a few minutes. He put at least 7 very tiny needles into different areas of my back. I never felt any discomfort from the treatment and did not know when any of them had been placed. He did some manipulation of the needles after insertion and I did feel that. There was no pain involved more like he was pressing a finger on that part of my back. He told me that for the treatment to have its best benefit that he would put a heat lamp on my back for 20 minutes. to increase the benefit of the Chinese Acupuncture Treatment.
The second part of this treatment involved moxibustion and it is not quite as bad as it sounds. It is another method of warming the area near the needles. Some small packages of some sort were lit on fire with a lighter. They did not flare and only smoldered as they burned the herbs that were inside. There were two of them and these were inside a small box. That resting on my back near the needles. The benefit is to increase the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort. Mugwort is a small, spongy herb, to aid in healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Chi. All in conjunction help you maintain good general health.
After the treatments, I did not have any pain except for the soreness in my legs from the massage therapy. At this point, I am not having any problems with that. I have not had any discomfort with the Chinese acupuncture treatment. I could not even tell you where the needles were used on my back. The benefits I received are being updated in my final article
Other Common Forms of Treatment
Cupping. For centuries the doctor has placed warm cups top down on the different meridian zones of your body. The heat inside the cups would allow the cup to stick to the skin and pull the skin upwards. Today the cups have a syringe on the top and the doctor can adjust the amount of suction with the syringe.
The doctor can examine the different areas where the cupping took place. The darker the area and longer it takes to lose its discoloration the more toxins you have in your body. These give the doctor insights on a course of treatment you might need. I have a picture of one of my travel mates Lexie who had the treatment on Monday. I took this photo on Wednesday and most of the cupping marks had dissipated.
More on Traditional Chinese Medicine
The average cost for Chinese Acupuncture treatment is around $80. The cost for a Tui Na massage treatment is around $40 to $50. The cost can vary on the Chinese acupuncture from $80 to $120. The first treatment is the longest and usually toward the higher end of that price range.
The facilities at the International Clinic and Donzhimen Hospital were the same as in the U.S. The hospital is a beautiful building with different types of clinics inside. There is also an herbal pharmacy on the first floor. The patient services are fast and there is no waiting for hours for a doctor. I had two doctors and a lady named B. She ushered me around the hospital to the various doctors. A very shy student with flawless English also followed along. The first doctor had only basic English skills. My tour guide who was with me the entire time as well.
My Experience with Traditional Chinese Medicine
There was no rush to finish and get on to the next patient. I received their full attention by both doctors. They were not running a chain program going from room to room working with other patients. Both Doctors stayed with me the entire time of their sessions, which was between two and three hours. Far different than the treatments you would get from a doctor in America. In the states, you usually have lengthy waits, a 5 to 10-minute exam and then sent on your way. Chinese physicians seem to care far more about the patients than those at home.
I was very comfortable with the entire process. My feeling was the people there had a genuine desire to help me with my problems. I do not always get that feeling from doctors practicing Western medicine. Should you need a TCM treatment in Beijing I would not hesitate to recommend the services and staff here. This was how I would love to feel and get treated anytime I went to a hospital for medical help.
After exploring traditional Chinese Medicine, where to next?
Check out Must Visit Beijing Destinations