Traditional doctor prefers work at the grassroots

SANG Jiuhua is a grassroots doctor in traditional Chinese medicine in Jing’an.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Sang Jiuhua applies a treatment at the Pengpu Town Community Health Center. 

SANG Jiuhua is a grassroots doctor in traditional Chinese medicine in Jing’an. His great skills in acupuncture, heat therapy and manipulation massage have won him a widespread following.

Patients from as far away as the US, South Africa and Brazil come to the community health center in Pengpu Town to seek Sang’s treatments.

“I remember an elderly man from America with facial paralysis paid a visit,” Sang said. “He said US doctors didn’t take his condition seriously and told him it wasn’t necessarily to treat it.”

In hospitals, doctors might give such patients medicine or injections in large doses, but Sang said that’s the wrong approach.

“High levels of medicine can be harmful, and, in fact, medicines can hardly reach such tiny facial nerves,” he said.

A safe therapy like acupuncture is very precise, he said. It is now listed as the most effective method to treat backache by the American Medical Association, he added.

Many people from outside China regard the concepts of traditional Chinese medicine as mysterious. They are scared at first when they come here, but then they come to appreciate its effects.

“Acupuncture can be a very expensive treatment abroad,” Sang said. “But here in China, it’s relatively cheap.”

Sang works at least five days per week, from 8am to 5pm. Every day, he sees more than 100 patients, and every treatment fee is between 200 yuan (US$29) and 300 yuan.

He could choose to work in one of Shanghai’s top hospitals, but Sang prefers to stay rooted in the community.

“Youngsters prefer the large, reputable hospitals,” he said. “They go there even for minor ailments. But most of the elderly prefer community health services close to home. I am much more needed there.”

Another advantage, he said, is that he doesn’t have to waste a lot of medical paperwork.

Last year, he started a project of 3D printed insoles. So far, he has made 30 pairs of the insoles and distributed them to needy senior citizens in the community.

The insoles help prevent falls, which is a contributing factor to deaths among seniors. The insoles help the elderly stand and walk more steadily.

But the project is limited by the high cost of 3D printing and the time and energy it takes to oversee the work. Sang said he’s a doctor and doesn’t want to become a businessman.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A woman with cervical vertebra problems receives acupuncture.

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Leiyunshang sells a variety of sachets. The sachets this year are sometimes designed in the shapes of cartoon chickens to honor the Year of the Rooster.

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Acupuncture plaster

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