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August 14, 2010

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TCM treatment for free

A BURNING stick moved closer to the right temple of Frenchman Philippe Le Gall. His face was tense and he looked nervous, but he didn't move because it was moxibustion, a traditional Chinese medicine therapy for headaches. Three minutes later he relaxed and said he felt refreshed.

Visitors, including many from abroad, are going to the Baosteel Stage at the World Expo to receive free TCM treatment from Liu Guangrui, the successor of a famous TCM pharmacy in Chongqing Municipality that originated during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Liu set up a small TCM clinic to serve visitors during Chongqing Cultural Week, which began on Thursday and continues through Monday.

Liu said Le Gall felt better because the burning stick had a mix of herbs that invigorate blood circulation and relieve pain by stimulating an acupuncture point.

Since he opened the clinic on Thursday, more than 10 foreign visitors have visited every day. Most asked Liu to feel their pulse and provide brief treatment. Others get a massage to relieve tired muscles after walking and standing for hours.

Liu also gives prescriptions that patients can take to any TCM pharmacy. An English interpreter was on hand for patients to communicate with Liu.

After feeling Le Gall's pulse and briefly touching his spine, Liu said Gall must feel dizzy often because his brain does not get enough oxygen while his cervical spine was a little strained.

Le Gall said the doctor was right because he always feels tired. After the moxibustion and a massage, he said he felt refreshed both mentally and physically.

Frenchman Pierre Bouculat, who has lived in Shanghai for seven months, said he believed TCM is effective because it's based on an accumulation of experiences over thousands of years.

However, some therapies for old wounds may seem a bit extreme.

A visitor surnamed Zhao wounded his right knee 15 years ago and said he never fully recovered even though he has seen doctors in several hospitals.

Liu took out a hollow needle and inserted it into the wounded area. He then used cupping therapy.

Zhao said the procedure hurt, but that he believed it would cure the old injury.

The municipality's culture week also features painting and calligraphy. Folk music, dances and Chuan Opera are performed daily at the stage at 11am, 1pm and 3pm until Monday.


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