Traditional Chinese medicine witnesses Chinese-European joint fight against COVID-19
by Xinhua writer Wen Xinnian
LISBON, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, doctors and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) across the region have been working shoulder to shoulder with frontline health workers for the common goal of eliminating coronavirus.
After the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Portugal in early March last year, Dr. Yan Chunming, a 16-year TCM practitioner in the country and director of the Sino-Portuguese TCM Center, started his regular live broadcasts on social media in Portuguese and English, sounding the alarm to the public, raising awareness of the novel coronavirus, sharing his knowledge and recommending preventive measures.
On March 13, 2020, in one of his live video stream, which attracted more than 5,000 viewers, Yan urged the Portuguese government to close all the country's schools. The government did it on that very day.
Like Yan, more than 100 TCM practitioners from many European countries initiated a volunteers movement early on in the pandemic to provide free consultation services to Chinese in Europe and to local communities in need. Many of them tapped their resources to get TCM medicines from China..
"The Confucius Institute was quick to respond," said Zhou Miao, Portuguese president of the Confucius Institute at the University of Coimbra, which has offered TCM as a selective course for medical and pharmaceutical sciences students since 2017.
"In April 2020, our partner, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, donated to us a large shipment of medicaments, including herbal tea bags and concentrated herbal granules. This was heartily welcomed by the Chinese community in Portugal and by our local collaborators," she said.
"We translated the Chinese diagnosis and treatment protocol for COVID-19 patients into Portuguese, and we also created an online platform to offer free TCM consultation to the local community," she told Xinhua.
During the critical period of the first wave of the pandemic, hospitals across Europe soon became overwhelmed with serious cases of COVID-19. Mild symptom cases were mostly treated at home. For them, TCM offered a viable option.
Dr. Chen Zhen, who has been practicing TCM for more than 20 years in Hungary, said that TCM can help prevent mild COVID-19 cases from becoming severe.
"Over the year, the members of our team have treated 5,000 to 6,000 patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms, and none of them turned into severe cases," Dr. Chen said
In Poland, Dr. Yuan Jingshan said that TCM and acupuncture, one of its key components, have proved highly effective in the prevention and treatment of coronavirus.
"For those who test positive and stay at home with mild symptoms, such as fever, cough, diarrhea and loss of taste, we also offer a delivery service of traditional Chinese medicine to their home," said Dr. Lu Mei, founder of the Zhongkang China Health clinic in Lisbon.
Most of the people recovered from COVID-19 have been reportedly suffering from many after-effects. TCM can help speed up recovery and rehabilitation, Dr. Lu said.
"Some of our patients have already tested positive for COVID-19, while others are just afraid of being infected. In general, all our patients tend to be very nervous. As a doctor, with my professional knowledge and clinical experience, my role is to offer comfort and soothe them," she said.
Dr. Yuan Jingshan has treated several patients with post-COVID symptoms, such as profuse sweating, fatigue or loss of appetite. Using acupuncture, the patients quickly alleviated those symptoms, which often persist for months.
"One of my recent patients was a hospital laboratory researcher and was hospitalized twice with COVID-19. When she was discharged from hospital in April, she came to me supported by her husband, because she was not strong enough to walk or talk. After two treatments, she regained vitality and came on her own without any problem," she recalled.
The traditional Chinese health exercises, such as Taiji Quan, Qigong or Baduanjin, along with massage therapy are known to be highly efficient in alleviating post-confinement anxiety and physical fatigue.
"I do the Qigong exercise every day. After getting up and before going to bed, it's necessary. That is a secret course my doctor recommended to me," 52-year-old Bulgarian Mitko Stankov told Xinhua.
Early on in the pandemic, Dr. Yan in Portugal made every effort to obtain the latest version of the TCM treatment plan from China. He then forwarded it to several major hospitals in the country via e-mail, and shared it on his social media pages.
"I tried my best to set up a bridge between the doctors in China and Portugal and to eventually save lives. I feel very satisfied and encouraged," he said.
In Malta, 38-year-old physician Jiang Yawen, leader of the six-member 16th Chinese Medical Team there, has been providing TCM treatment to the local community since last October.
"We treat around 500 people a month on average, 60 of whom are new patients," Jiang said. Enditem
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