Chinese Medicine- What's the Deal?

Gretchen Trupp
July 16, 2015

During our time in Beijing, it was inevitable that we were going to come across different types of medicine from our own at some point. And not just the kind where the language on the perscription is different. The kind where the methods for curing illnesses and staying well are different than the home remedies that you grew up with, where you're not really sure just what it's doing but you kind of cross your fingers and hope that it works.

As someone who isn't too well versed on American medicine, I'm still well aware that most of our cures are much more chemically based than in other places around the world. For example, we're way more likely to take some Ibuprofen for stomach pain than to drink warm water and put a scented heating pad on it. In my experiences, there's a lot of discourse in America about "Chinese" vs. "Western" medicine, done by a lot of people who haven't really studied either, but while on this trip I finally got to experience Chinese medicine myself, and through others. 

The medicines pictured here are for sunburns, bug bites, green tea oil(used for headaches and to relieve fatigue), and a salve that works pretty much like Vicks. While they might look and smell different from what Americans use back home, they are just as effective, if not more so! 

The purpleish circles that are also pictured are a result of cupping and scraping, a technique used to draw blood to certain pressure points to do anything from relieving stress to taking out toxins and relaxing muscles-- you'd be hard-pressed to find this in the U.S. as the thought of someone doing this to your back is very scary, especially if one doesn't know the benefits. 

The unknown can be terrifying for some, and if you've never tried a certain type of medicine or cure it can be hard to put your trust in something unfamiliar. I think that's where most of the American dislike/distruct towards Chinese medicine comes from, but rest assured these are methods that have been used with great success for thousands of years-- they aren't just there to look "cool", they exist to fix injuries and make the body well again. 

Gretchen Trupp

<p>Hi, I&#39;m Gretchen, and I&#39;m currently a prospective Languages and Linguistics Major at Swarthmore College, PA. I was born in Rota Spain, and have grown up in various places around the states (notably Hawai&#39;i), and am very excited to be participating in the Beijing Summer Language Intensive program! I&#39;m really into all different types of art, and exploring that interest through all sorts of avenues (this blog will be one of them). On this trip I hope to gain not only language skills, but innumerable friends and experiences that last a lifetime. Join the adventures of an unapologetically queer, short (but not tiny) college student navigating one of the biggest cities in the world!</p>

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