China Trip: Treatments Available

Chinese Medicine

Wow! Another few weeks have flown by at Liaoning Univerity in Shen Yang, China! Below is a summary (with a few videos) of a few different treatment rooms we explored for my internship.


Moxibustion (moxa) is a herbal therapy that is used mostly to move what we call stagnation in the body. Moxa is very effective for pathogenic stagnation of cold and blood. Generally speaking moxa is usually a herb called Mugwort. However, here in the hospital a blend of up to 20 herbs are used. The herb is lit on fire and left to smoke in a small box (called a moxa box). Student practitioners are busy all day applying boxes to injured areas and then covering the boxes with blankets so as to concentrate the smoke into the skin. The warmth and medicinal qualities of the herbs then enters the body and meridians. In the rehabilitation department patients undergo consistent moxibustion treatment. Check out the video below for a demo:

Music Therapy

Certain instruments are traditionally related to certain organs or constitutional types. The hospital has areas for the 5 elements (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal) that contain music and color associated with that element. The music is emitted though the bed creating a vibration. In theory the rooms are used for ailments affecting corresponding organ systems. For example -- problems related to the heart would be treated in the fire room since the heart is a fire element organ. In practice though, we were informed that not many patients use the rooms and we never had the chance to witness a treatment.

Herbal Packs and Steams

Another form of herbal therapy; herbal packs are applied as plasters to the affected body part. This is either done with a cloth soaked in the medicinal herbs or pressed onto the skin with wax. Herbal steam baths are also used where a enclosed foot or leg bath is infused with fresh herbs and then steamed to support healing.

Chinese Medicine

Eye Acupuncture

A style of acupuncture based on the theory that the body is represented in the space around the eye. Much like reflexology uses the theory that the whole body can be treated by points or areas on the feet or hands, eye acupuncture posits that by needling eye points the whole body can be treated. We spent a week with Dr. Tian - a highly respected doctor who solely uses eye acupuncture for treatment. It was pretty amazing to watch him work - he treated over 200 patients every day!!

So I have to admit - I was a bit of a skeptic at first on this one. And then.... we saw a few cases of very serious acute pain and injury go from severe to mild after one treatment! A man literally got out of a stretcher and began to walk around. Starting with gasping and groaning from very genuine pain due to a lumbar sprain he slowly regained his ability to walk and in 20 min. he was in pretty good shape!

I had the pleasure of trying it out myself one day when I had a terrible headache. I was thoroughly surprised by the effectiveness of the treatment and the immediate relief it provided. Check out the video to see my treatment in action:

Jennifer Raye - FINAL.png