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HONG KONG, HongKong [HK]
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TCM...What are the alternatives?

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Most major cities around the world have a China town that’s filled with Chinese food, writing and the Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. Unless you have some Chinese heritage the closest you’ve probably got to visiting him is when you visited the Chinese take-away next door.

In Europe TCM is becoming a booming trade as more and more people look to alternative and more organic cures to the medicine that is peddled by the doctors, but in China it’s on a completely different level.

If you visit the hospital there is a whole floor filled with these doctors who know exactly how to treat you without resorting to manufactured medicine, when you see the dispensing area for your medicine there are two counters, TCM and Western.

Outside of the hospital you can find specialist tea shops selling a special kind of drink called Liang Cha. They are small tea rooms with a row of coffee pots on heaters keeping the tea warm and ready for customers, there are around 10-15 teas you can choose from depending on your ailment, all you need to do is tell the trained staff your symptoms and they will choose the right kind of tea for you. Whilst this is probably going to make you feel much better, the initial taste can be too much for some. It’s a very strong sour taste however they do offer dried prunes that you can bite into after taking a sip to counter-act the taste.

If you prefer a more fun and relaxing way to try TCM then why not visit one of the many massage centers around town, here there are specially trained “foot technicians” that are able to tell from the stresses and ridges on your feet if there is something wrong internally. They even offer remedies such as the need to drink more water or if you should drink a certain herbal tea. All this whilst sitting in a comfortable Lazy Boy chair for 80 minutes.

TCM can trace it’s routes all the way back to the Shang dynasty of the 14th-11th Centuries BCE, they attributed illnesses to curses sent to them by their enemies. They would use a kind of acupuncture that is now known to have been blood-letting to release the curse from the body. It is from this that TCM evolved.

Most have probably heard of Yin and Yang. This is another TCM concept.
Yin represents cold & Yang represents heat, when you visit the TCM doctor they may tell you that you have too much of one then you are off balance and need to center your energy.

Some may think of TCM as visiting a quack but I have had several encounters with TCM and have found on most occasions they have either succeeded or at least made me feel a little healthier. So the next time you’re on the way to pick up that take-away why not stop in and check your “qi” and see what the TCM doctor can do for you.

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