I thought that since I've gone to to the acupuncturist a few times in Finland and that acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and I just happened to be going to China, I should actually try acupuncture where it originated from. So, I asked my Chinese co-workers if they could make me an appointment with an acupuncturist.
One of them, Nan*, said she had a doctor friend (let's call him Dr.Boy) at a TCM hospital that she would ask if he could help us get an appointment there. I say us, because two of the girls, Nan & Cece* (I mentioned her in my previous post) decided to join me. Neither of them had tried acupuncture before and thought that this would be a good time to check it out with me. Sunday arrived and I took a taxi to a predetermined place where Nan met me and then we walked to the clinic. Celia was waiting for us and away we went. This TCM hospital is a medical place like any other where people go to get treated. Just as you and I would go to our doctor's office or RE clinic, many Chinese people go here (or to another one that is similar) when they need to seek medical treatment.
The first building we went into to find Dr.Boy ended up being the wrong building, but I got my first taste of where real** Chinese go for medical help. It was an older building that looked a bit run down. Definitely not western by any standards. There was people everywhere and they didn't look to be waiting in any orderly fashion. I mean, I saw 10-15 people in what looked like the treatment room (or maybe the admittance area), all just standing around where you could definitely over hear what the other people are saying. And I was the only foreigner there, being stared at intently by everyone!
In the second building we found Dr.Boy or maybe he found us. Before we talked to a doctor, we went to pay our visit-fee and to get me signed in as a patient/customer there. The patient booklet and card (to track my treatments) and the visit-fee cost less then 7€. We then went to the intake room where people were diagnosed before they were treated by acupuncture and cupping. The girls decided I would be first. Thanks girls! LOL. I sat there talking to a doctor trying to explain my 'pain' and what I wanted treated with my coworkers standing right behind me and several other people who were waiting to be treated also. Again, I was the only foreigner there. I started by telling the doctor that in Finland I was being treated for back and neck pain, but mainly for fertility issues also. The first part the doctor understood, but not the latter part. So, I quickly explained to the girls and they translated to the doctor. He still seemed sort of confused, so I just forgot about that issue and kept the focus on the back and neck. Sure it would have been great to have a treatment geared towards helping me get pregnant, but really I just wanted to experience acupuncture in China. After my diagnosis was made, I needed to pay for my treatment. It only cost 4€. Then it was back to the room where I was diagnosed and I waited my turn to be taken to a bed.
|The receipts, my membership card (credit card looking item) and treatment book.|
|The inside of my treatment book with my 'diagnosis' written in Chinese.|
I got dressed and then waited for the girls to finish their treatments. During this time, I was intently scrutinized by all the other patients there. Dr.Boy came to talk to me and asked questions about my experience that day and previously. He's a very sweet, young and cute guy. When the girls were done we went to have lunch and we invited Nan's friend along. At lunch, Dr.Boy explained to me the lady who did my acupuncture is ~80 years old, although I wouldn't have guessed that. She is also very well known (famous?) as a doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I was quite lucky to have her treat me, as usually it takes a long time to get in to see her. I was also told that this hospital is one of four, very well known and I believe one of the oldest hospitals in Shanhai.
|My back a bit more than 24hours after cupping.|
(Even 5 days later, some of the markings can still be seen.)
**I say real, because the Parkway Health hospital I went to previously seemed more for expats and foreigners. I could very well be wrong, but that is what it looked like to me.