The China Cultural Centre in Malta recently hosted a Traditional Chinese Medicine Workshop, that was led by Zhang Min, a specialist from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre at the University of Malta.

The workshop provided valuable insights into the diverse range of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments available and how they can benefit physical and mental well-being.

TCM is an important part of Chinese culture and has been practised in China for over 2,000 years. It is a holistic approach to health that focuses on the balance and harmony of the body, mind and spirit.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine is advantageous because it is safe, has low side-effects if used correctly and provides immediate results. It is also less costly than modern medicine since it uses only needles and natural medicine,” Min explained.

In her view, the most significant difference from modern medicine is that TCM treats people, not disease. Therefore, different people will get different treatments even though they have the same disease.

“There may be various causes which are leading to a person  feeling unwell. That is why we ask many questions to the patient, so that we can diagnose the real problem.”

Among the several treatments of TCM, acupuncture might be the most known. It can treat pain, the nervous system, the digestive system and many other diseases. There is the common acupuncture with needles, then there is electricity acupuncture, which is mainly used for sports injuries, and lastly, there is the warm acupuncture which uses also moxibustion to warm particular points along the body in order to be more effective.

It is safe, has low side-effects if used correctly and provides immediate results

The cupping treatment involves the use of round glass cups to apply suction to the skin to trigger the body’s self-healing process and expel toxins. It is commonly used to clear high fever or dampness from the body.

Tuina massage, another form of TCM, is an ancient type of massage that focuses on balancing a person’s energy. In China, people learn to do Tuina massage for their children to treat problems of constipation, diarrhoea and other diseases.

Taiji and baduanjin are two exercises that form part of TCM practices. During the worst time of the COVID-19 pandemic, these two exercises proved to be effective to maintain good health. Baduanjin helped to make people stronger by enhancing their immunity and alleviating anxiety and depression.

During the workshop, Min showed the audience how to activate some pressure points. One of them, known as Neiguan (PC 6), is located on the inner side of the wrist. This point is identified by placing three fingers across the wrist and then pressing at the centre where the fourth finger would be. By massaging this point for five minutes twice a day, one can calm down the heartbeat in the case of stress or agitation, or to create a sense of contentment in the case of depression.

The audience was also invited to taste rose tea which is another form of TCM, used to improve emotions, fatigue and digestive problems.

“The belief in the healing properties of certain foods and herbs is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and has been passed on from one generation to the other. TCM is also becoming more popular outside of China, with many people turning to TCM practitioners available for complementary and alternative treatments for various health conditions,” Yuan Yuan, director of the China Cultural Centre in Malta, said.

In 2010, acupuncture and moxibustion were enlisted in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“It is exciting to see that the cultural exchanges between China and Malta in the field of TCM have been exemplified by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre at the University of Malta, established in 2015, and the Mediterranean Regional Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Such momentum is a testament to the open-mindedness and inclusiveness of the Maltese people.”

Yuan also augured further collaboration and exchanges of Chinese culture in the field of TCM to further explore its potential, and bring continuous benefits to the health and well-being of the public.

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