Traditional doctor prefers work at the grassroots
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.
How to protect health using natural remedies
The 300-year-old Leiyunshang pharmacy specializes in traditional Chinese medicine products to help people to keep healthy at home. Here are some of the recommendations at its flagship shop beside Jing’an Temple.
Sachets filled fragrant herbs and medicinal powders are traditionally worn around the Dragon Boat Festival in June. The aroma they disperse helps ward off insects and, it is said, evil spirits.
Ancient Chinese people wore sachets as a fashion accessory, but today, they are more apt to be hung as household decorations.
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.
Gaofang is an herbal paste made from condensed liquid herbal medicines and ingredients such as honey and brown sugar. Each paste is tailor-made for customers by traditional doctors and used in a number of different therapies.
For those who don’t have time to see doctors, Leiyunshang offers acupuncture-point plasters that hold medicinal powders. Users can stick the plasters onto painful joints to help relief the pain.
To help women maintain an upbeat mood and a health body, Leiyunshang has created a herbal tonic with three ingredients: wolfberry, milk vetch root and “female ginseng.”