Veterinary Acupuncture Course in Beijing, China

Jan 13, 2014 / Student Blogs

June 3, 2013: Becky Wissel and Jessica Chapman, University of Illinois

was our first day of the acupuncture course at China Agricultural University.  We were met by 3 university students who graciously escorted us on the bus route to the campus.  On our way through campus to our classroom, we got to walk through the veterinary teaching hospital- what a sight!  The building was smaller than our teaching hospital but they were well-equipped with radiology, laboratory, internal medicine, surgery, and large treatment rooms where the owners can accompany their pets while they receive IV fluids and various other treatments.  It was interesting to see owners walking all through the hospital with their cats in their arms – no carriers or leashes in sight! We were greeted by several professors in the classroom and were given a warm welcome before the day officially began.  Dr. Zhongjie Liu dove right into the material and we were given a brief history lesson on Tradition Chinese Veterinary Medicine.  It dates back nearly 3,000 years to the Western Zhou Dynasty!

Modern day TCVM students at the University are still required to know by the heart the earliest book on Chinese Medicine Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine).  After our history lesson we were taught about the theory and applications of acupuncture and about Yinyang and the Five Elements. Acupuncture is a very versatile therapy that can treat all different species and even different body systems within an individual animal.  There are virtually no harmful side effects and effects can be seen very rapidly.  It is an easy attainable skill, though not so easily mastered.  More than 200 diseases are known to be treated with acupuncture. To understand the theory of acupuncture and its use in medicine, you must have an understanding of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.  The basis of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is the Yin Yang Theory and the Five Elements.  Yin Yang may be a popular idea across the world, but there is more to it than a black and white symbol.  The Chinese believe that everything has a dual nature, composed of Yin and Yang.

Yin and Yang are symbolized by water and fire, since they directly oppose each other.  Things with properties of fire, such as heat, movement, and brightness pertain to Yang.  On the other hand things that have properties of water, such as cold, stillness, and dimness pertain to Yin.  Yin and Yang are always relative: Yin can transform into Yang, and vice versa.  All things can infinitely be divided into Yin and Yang.  The Yin and Yang aspects of any one thing will restrict each other to maintain a balance. The Ancient Chinese divided their world into five main elements: wood, fire, metal, earth, and water.  People used this to generalize and explain the nature of organs and the relationships between them, and the relationships between animals and the natural world.  The ancient Chinese people used this theory as a basis to guide diagnosis and treatment of disease.  For instance, the character of wood is to grow and flourish.  The character of fire is to be hot and flare up.  The character of earth is to give birth to all things.  The character of metal is to descend and be clear.  The character of water is to be cold and flow downwards.  Different major organs are classified according to an element based on their function.    Early doctors used these characteristics to classify diseases and thus used the relationships between the elements to treat disease.  The goal is to balance the elements and the Yin and Yang.  As it turns out, they actually had a deep and accurate understanding of physiology by using this theory.

After our day at school we walked to a nearby shopping mall.  In order to get anywhere by foot, you are taking your life in your hands, as pedestrians do not ever have the right of way and cars just swerve into the middle of the crosswalk without any notice and miss your arm by inches. It really is like human Frogger, with slightly higher stakes. The mall was strikingly similar to an American mall – with cool white tile on the walls and floor, and neatly arranged displays in all of the stores. We wandered around for a little while (luckily the prices are written in Western numbers so we didn’t have to ask), and then headed in search of dinner. There was a cute ice cream place on the second floor, but when we got to the front of the stand there were no pictures or case of ice cream to point at, and no English to be found, so we gave up and found a Hagen Daaz on the ground floor that had a case and sample cups that we could point at. Across from the Hagen Daaz was a cute little bread and pastry store where a couple of girls bought breads filled with chocolate and shaped like panda faces. On the way home from the mall, we stopped in a local grocery store to pick up a few things, and were amazed at the size of the place – it was two stories (complete with ramp escalator in the middle that you can take shopping carts on!) and filled with stuff to buy. We didn’t spend long wandering the aisles, and instead headed straight for essentials – a hair straightener and face wash – and then called it a night.

June 4, 2013: Emily Doemland and Sarah Hoene, University of Illinois

Day 2 of our acupuncture course started off much smoother than yesterday.  Most of us enjoyed a great breakfast at the hotel.  The selection is varied, including things we all associate with dinner foods, like noodles, fried rice, and a salad bar.

Our group managed to catch the bus without our guides and make it to school without a hitch.  Dr. Liu’s morning lecture started off with a detailed discussion of the Zang-Fu organs. There are six zang organs and six fu organs. There are also extraordinary fu organs. Zang organ functions are to manufacture and store the essential substances of the body like qi, blood and body fluid. The fu organ functions are to receive and digest food and to receive and excrete waste. As you can maybe guess, the fu organs would be the gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bladder and the triple burner. Triple burner means the anatomical location of three areas of the body: the thorax, the abdomen from the diaphragm to the umbilicus and the umbilicus down to the toes.  The zang organs are the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidney, and pericardium. The zang organs are yin organs and the fu organs are yang organs.  The zang and fu organs have different functions but they are connected by meridians. We learned about meridians a little bit later.  The theories he describes require such a different way of thinking, but it’s fascinating how ancient they are and yet so close to modern medicinal thinking.

Next Dr. Liu covered Qi as well as blood and body fluid.  Qi is kind of a difficult concept to grasp because there is no comparison to it really in Western thought.  Qi is the fundamental substance constituting the universe. Qi creates all phenomena through its movement and change.  Qi is the essential substance of the body.  The movement and change of qi are responsible for all the vital activities of the body. The job of the zang fu organs is to store or transform qi to be used by the body.  Qi belongs to yang.  Blood is made of food, nutrient qi, and kidney essence. Its job is to nourish the body. Blood belongs to yin. Body fluid is a term for all the fluids of the body, like tears, saliva, and gastric juices. Body fluid is also yin. There is a relationship between qi and both blood and body fluid. Qi effects their circulation and production and qi is carried by blood.

For lunch today we went back to the same canteen area as yesterday.  Some of the students went to the second floor cafe to try out the Chinese food.   Some people also got smoothies which were served in cool shell shaped glasses and came in flavors like mango and strawberry.

The afternoon session was dominated by a discussion of meridians and collaterals. Meridians and collaterals are the pathways in which blood and qi are circulated. They form a network, interiorly and exteriorly that connect the tissues and the organs to an organic whole. Dr. Liu explained specifically that they are not the anatomical location of veins, arteries, or nerves. There are 12 regular meridians. They pertain to the zang fu organs. There are 12 divergent meridians that branch from the 12 regular meridians and that connect the internal and external meridians. There are also muscle regions and cutaneous regions that help maintain motion and where qi and blood are delivered to the body surface. The system of meridians is responsible for transmitting the needle sensations and regulating organ function when you are treating or preventing disease.  It was interesting to see pictures of the human body with the meridians marked off.  Dr. Liu talked about several skin diseases that seem to follow different meridians, which was a new concept to us.

We headed back to the hotel after class to freshen up before heading out for dinner and shopping near the Forbidden City.

June 5, 2013: Alison Bizzul and Linda Yang, University of Illinois

Today was the third day of our acupuncture course. We are starting to get the hang of the bus system and getting to class on time. The buses run fairly frequently, so as long as we leave early enough to pass up the buses that are too full, we are able to get to campus comfortably and fast.

The topics we discussed in class today were etiology for disease in traditional Chinese medicine, how to diagnose disease in traditional Chinese medicine, the various types of instruments used in acupuncture, and the various methods used in acupuncture.

The etiology of disease in traditional Chinese medicine is based mainly on the six exogenous factors (wind, cold, summer heat, damp, dryness, and fire) and seven emotions (joy, anger, melancholy, worry, grief, fear, and fright). These factors are thought to cause non-infectious disease while infectious pathogens are another category. Each of these factors fall under the yin or yang category, which determine where in the body becomes invaded as well as causing yin and yang imbalance. Yin qi will invade the yin side of the body and yang qi will invade the yang side of the body. Additionally, the natural characteristics of each factor describe how the disease spreads. For example, wind will cause disease that has rapid onset, migratory symptoms, and rapid changes. Multiple factors may invade the body together, though certain opposing factors will never be found in combination (ex. fire and cold). Wind is the only primary exogenous factor that can lead other factors into the body. The seven emotions will usually not cause disease unless they become overwhelming or uncontrollable. Five of the seven emotions are tied to a zang fu organ and will show symptoms in the associated organ when there is emotional imbalance.

Diagnosing disease in traditional Chinese medicine involves observation of the patient, auscultation, olfaction, history from the owner, and palpation. This approach actually has many parallels to the way we are taught to approach a case in our conventional veterinary curriculum. Dr. Liu mentioned that history from the owner is one of the most important parts of diagnosing disease, which is also emphasized by our clinicians back in the States. In TCVM, two other important observations include the color, shape, and coating of the tongue as well as the characteristics of the patient’s pulse.

We also learned that an important aspect of treating disease with acupuncture is deciding on the type of needle to use and the method you will apply. The most commonly used needles in the US are filiform needles, or dry needles, and the most common methods used are white needling (or dry needling) and electro-acupuncture. In China, along with filiform needles there are many other types of needles, such as round-sharp needles, 3-edged needles, chuan huang needles, fire needles, eyebrow-shaped needles, gas-releasing needles, etc. used for other acupuncture methods such as hemo-acupuncture, fire acupuncture, and moxibustion. Unfortunately for us, not only are these needles difficult to acquire, the methods are not commonly accepted in the United States.

Dr. Liu explained that there are various techniques for inserting acupuncture needles, manipulating them after insertion, and removal of the needles. Needles are commonly held in one hand while the other hand holds the skin in place. Since animals have such flexible skin, there are several ways to stabilize the skin for needle insertion, such as pinching, stretching, and thumbing. It is important to prevent the skin from moving during needle insertion as otherwise the needle may be distorted after insertion and will miss penetrating the acupuncture point. Once the needle is inserted, varying levels of stimulation can be applied to the acupuncture point by either extending the time that the needle is left in the point or by manipulating the needle such as twirling, thrusting, or rotating. Needle removal usually involves holding the skin stable with one hand and twirling and pulling gently with the other hand until the needle comes out.

After this class, we were all excited to practice these methods next week. While it is a lot of information to be learning, everything is all so interesting. It seems amazing that ancient Chinese doctors were able to do so much just based on what they saw through gross observation.

Once we were dismissed from class, a few of us, along with Dr. Hoenig, Dr. Clark-Price and three of the host students (Hu, Wang and Fan), went across the city to a silk shop and pearl market. It took us quite a while to get to the silk shop and upon arrival, we were informed that it was closed! Amazingly, the owner of the shop was there and offered to keep the shop open just to let us look around. The shop was so beautiful. They even had real silk worms in a basket to show how the silk is made! The shop had multiple floors and all of us went home with some gifts for friends and family. Our next stop was the pearl market where our student hosts had a blast bargaining with the shop owners for us. Within the market, there are many different vendors trying to sell their products. Since there is so much competition there among vendors, bargaining is expected. It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun with our student hosts. After leaving the pearl market, we all had dinner at a lovely restaurant where the student hosts suggested different dishes for us to try. One was a pear and white fungus dessert. It was delicious and quite a few of the students enjoyed it. We parted ways with our student host s on the subway and headed back to the hotel late in the evening. What an eventful day!

June 6, 2013: Bridget Heath, University of Georgia

Today in class,we learned about different methods of acupuncture and moxibustion, and when and how to use each of these techniques. There are several methods of acupuncture, including White Needling, Electroacupuncture, and Hemo-Acupuncture (blood letting). White Needling, also known as conventional acupuncture, is a method by which round-sharp or filiforme needles are used for a variety of diseases and conditions. Electroacupuncture utilizes an electrical current for therapy. Hemo-Acupuncture is a method by which wide or three-edged needles are used to treat diseases of heat and excess. Rhe amount of blood that is released can be determined by the disease, the nature of the acupoint, the size of the animal, the seasons, and the color of the blood. Moxibustion has been used in acupuncture for many years. A moxistick is lit aflame and then the moxistick is held close to the patient to improve circulation to a diseased area. The moxisticks do not set the patient aflame, but instead will slowly smoldering, giving off heat and smoke. The moxistick is not applied directly to the skin, but is instead held close to the patient’s skin, so that the heat will warm the skin of the patient. The idea is that the added heat to the affected area will improve circulation and thus help the body in fighting disease.

We also covered the subject of cupping today. Cupping is also an ancient technique that has been used for many years, even in human patients. The technique behind cupping also uses heat. A small towelette is doused with a small amount of oil and alcohol and then lit aflame. A glass cup resembling a bowl in shape, is then applied over the skin and the burning towelette. The lip of the glass cup applied to the skin will create a seal in a circular shape on the skin of the patient. The burning towelette quickly consumes all of the oxygen in the cup. The combination of the applied cup and the consumption of oxygen results in the formation of a vacuum type seal between the lip of the glass cup and the skin of the patient. This results in the formation of a type of hickey or bruise on the skin of the patient. The idea behind this technique, using heat and suction, is that the microcirculation to the applied area will increase and result in faster healing for the patient, and also has psychologically healing effects for the patient.

We went to a tea house after class today. The trip to the tea house was grueling, as it involved getting on the subway and then taking a long bus ride to the tea house. However, riding on the bus was an interesting way to get through the city and observe some of the life in the city. Street food is quite popular here, although there had been a recent crackdown on the type of food used in making the street food. Once we made it to the teahouse, it was interesting to see all of the different ways to serve tea. Some people ordered bamboo grass tea, which was served in a single serving in a glass cup, with the bamboo grass in the cup. Other people ordered tea with came in large glass tea pitchers. The restaurant was dark, and the tea pitchers were kept warm using small candles in a glass apparatus around it. The effect was both eerie and startlingly beautiful, as the candlelight flickered through both the glass of the pitcher and was bounced around the tea water inside. I ordered Chinese Red Robe tea, which came served in a small clay teapot set composed of a clay cylinder cup, a tea cup, and the teapot, all in miniature sizes like the tea sets children play with. The cylinder cup was placed right side up and the tea was poured into the cylinder. The tea cup was then placed upside down on top of the cylinder and both were grasped between the fingers and turned upside down. The cylinder could then be pulled out, leaving tea in the tea cup. The cylinder was then rolled between the fingers so that the fragrance of the tea could be appreciated before tasting. The tea itself had a very rich and soothing flavor.

June 7, 2013: Jessica Byerly, University of Illinois

Today, during our acupuncture course, we started talking about qi, blood, and body fluid. In traditional Chinese medicine, qi is considered the fundamental substance constituting the universe, a phenomenon caused by change and movement. Qi is not only the fundamental substance, but it maintains the functions of the body. It is invisible and is manifested in the function (and dysfunction) of the zang-fu organs. Changes and movements of qi explain all vital activities of the body and the functional activities of the organs. It is derived from three sources: qi inhaled by the lungs, from water and food absorbed by the spleen and stomach, and qi stored in the kidney.

After discussing qi, we talked about blood from a TCVM viewpoint. Blood is derived from the qi of food essence, nutrient qi, and the essence of the kidney. Qi’s relationship with blood is multi-faceted: it produces blood, propels its circulation, is carried by blood, controls circulation of blood in vessels, and prevents extravasation. With the loss of blood there is a loss of qi, followed by fatigue. Ginseng, which you may have seen as an ingredient in your energy drink or as a nutritional supplement, is a plant thought to replenish the body’s qi.

Another important concept introduced today was the concept of meridians. A meridian is a pathway in which the qi and blood of the animal body are circulated. They correspond to the body’s organs and extend over the exterior of the body. Along each meridian there are a number of acupuncture points that can be stimulated for therapeutic effect. The meridians form a network, linking tissues and organs into an organic whole. The twelve meridians are distributed bilaterally with three on each side. Yin organs correspond to yin meridians and yang organs correspond to yang meridians. From meridians there are branches called collaterals that run transversely and superficially from the meridian “trunks.” In the context of meridians, our instructor briefly introduced us to the idea of electroacupuncture as a good technique for the new acupuncture practitioner. Instead of having to stimulate each individual acupuncture point along a meridian, one can use the start and end points of a meridian with an electroacupuncture machine for the same effect.

After class, Naeemah, Elodie, and I took in an acrobatics show at the Chaoyang Theatre in Beiing. The hour-long show consisted of amazing acrobatic feats with a fleet of bicycles, staircases, parasols, a tower of chairs, etc. There was also dancing, juggling, and other impressive gymnastic displays. In the finale, they filled a metal dome with motorcyclists one by one until there were seven riding around in circles in a death-defying stunt that had us gasping every time another person joined the fray. We thoroughly enjoyed the display of artistry and athleticism and I hope I can see the National Acrobats of the P.R. of China if they perform at the Krannert Center again.

June 8, 2013: Kelly Jones, University of Illinois

After meeting in the lobby at 8am, we all boarded a very nice bus and met our amazing tour guide, Peter.  Today is a foggy day and we are scheduled for a Beijing Highlights Tour covering many of the most popular sites in Beijing.  Our first stop was the Summer Palace.  Peter informed all of us that the Summer Palace was the home of many Chinese Emperor’s during the summer months when Beijing can get extremely warm.

We spent 20 minutes exploring the Summer Palace and then made our way back to the bus in order to ride to the Forbidden City.  Peter explained the meaning of the name “Forbidden City” according to the ancient Chinese people’s belief’s, and then explained what it meant to be a eunuch working for the family of an Emperor and a concubine chosen to live in the Forbidden City.  The Forbidden City is quite large, so as we entered each unique huge section, Peter explained the structures, how they operated, and the way the family lived.  I found it interesting that ancient Chinese people at the Forbidden City even had their own heating and cooling systems – my favorite part being that in order to stay cool, they would store blocks of ice gathered during the winter in the cellars below ground and then bring them up to place in the rooms to cool them down when the days were warm.

The architecture at the Forbidden City was amazing and the rooms were all decorated beautifully.  When we finished our time at the Forbidden City, we walked up many steps to the top of Jingshan Hill to see a temple that housed a humongous sculpture of Buddha.  From the top of this hill we were able to see a panoramic view of the Forbidden City hidden slightly by the fog which imparted a mysterious element to the scene below.  After bounding down the steps we boarded our lovely bus again and headed to lunch at a local restaurant to eat family style and chat about our interests and the happenings of the day.  Next we headed to The Temple of Heaven.  We were told that during ancient times, this is the location where the Emperor would go to pray for a good harvest.  There were even very tall lantern poles on which a lantern would be raised when the Emperor prayed.  The people of the town would see the lantern and pray for a good harvest along with the Emperor.  There was a marble circle at the top of the temple that the Emperor would stand on to pray and the placement of the marble circle allowed for magnification of the Emperor’s voice.  We all climbed the steps lined with symbols of the Emperor (the dragon) and the Empress (the phoenix) and shouted out from the marble circle just like many Chinese Emperor’s once did (the only difference was that Emperors were carried up the steps!).

Our last stop of the day was the famous Tiananmen Square.  We spent time exploring Tiananmen Square looking at the monuments and the beautiful floral decorations that surrounded it.  It was a fast-paced, enjoyable day.  In the last few minutes standing in Tiananmen Square it had just barely started to rain as we ended our Beijing Highlights Tour.  It was an amazing day.

June 9, 2013: Naeemah Johnson and Elodie Huguet, University of Georgia

We can feel the excitement as we all gathered in the hotel lobby at 8:00 am sharp to board a bus to one of China’s greatest wonders, the Great Wall of China. We were informed to be ready for a strenuous hike compared to our city tour the previous day. It took us 2 hours to get to the starting point of our hike at the east tower with the five notable arrow-holes. While on the bus, we were given a brief introduction to the wall’s expansive history. One after another we took turns to read out printed information to optimize everybody’s attention. Just to give a short summary, the great mural was built by the Han populace to keep the northern nomadic tribes from devastating their agricultural plantations. The wall is about 6000 miles long and was completed over three dynasties. It reached its full length during the Ming dynasty and was then breached at the end of the Qing dynasty. The wall was abandoned and demolished by men for its resources until the Chinese government started protecting the monument in 1980. Despite the rainy conditions, we were glad to note the fog present through Saturday dissipated overnight, which allowed us to have a much clearer view of the wall. Our knowledgeable guide selected a less frequented portion of the wall for us to hike. If also considering the rain and the time of the day we walked the wall, we were thrilled to pass only very few tourists. We walked 13 kilometers. The first part of the wall we walked was non-renovated, while the second portion was reconstituted based on its original architecture.

Once we reached the top of the wall to begin our journey, the first things that were seen were the rolling mountains with dense greenery as far as the eye could see. Because of the rain, mist draped their peaks majestically. Not only were we standing on a historical structure created over two thousand years ago, but we were also standing on what divided China from Mongolia. After capturing many pictures of this monumental moment, our group began our hike along the wall. Because of the mountainous range, the wall was anything but flat. We had to carefully climb uneven stairs with loose stones; some stairs were constructed with such a steep decent and small steps that only one foot at a time could be placed sideways on each step.  As we made our way along the wall, we stopped in some of the forts that were used for purposes of patrolling and living quarters. However, they are now used by the local farmers to sell food and

We can feel the excitement as we all gathered in the hotel lobby at 8:00 am sharp to board a bus to one of China’s greatest wonders, the Great Wall of China. We were informed to be ready for a strenuous hike compared to our city tour the previous day. It took us 2 hours to get to the starting point of our hike at the east tower with the five notable arrow-holes. While on the bus, we were given a brief introduction to the wall’s expansive history. One after another we took turns to read out printed information to optimize everybody’s attention. Just to give a short summary, the great mural was built by the Han populace to keep the northern nomadic tribes from devastating their agricultural plantations. The wall is about 6000 miles long and was completed over three dynasties. It reached its full length during the Ming dynasty and was then breached at the end of the Qing dynasty. The wall was abandoned and demolished by men for its resources until the Chinese government started protecting the monument in 1980. Despite the rainy conditions, we were glad to note the fog present through Saturday dissipated overnight, which allowed us to have a much clearer view of the wall. Our knowledgeable guide selected a less frequented portion of the wall for us to hike. If also considering the rain and the time of the day we walked the wall, we were thrilled to pass only very few tourists. We walked 13 kilometers. The first part of the wall we walked was non-renovated, while the second portion was reconstituted based on its original architecture.

Once we reached the top of the wall to begin our journey, the first things that were seen were the rolling mountains with dense greenery as far as the eye could see. Because of the rain, mist draped their peaks majestically. Not only were we standing on a historical structure created over two thousand years ago, but we were also standing on what divided China from Mongolia. After capturing many pictures of this monumental moment, our group began our hike along the wall. Because of the mountainous range, the wall was anything but flat. We had to carefully climb uneven stairs with loose stones; some stairs were constructed with such a steep decent and small steps that only one foot at a time could be placed sideways on each step.  As we made our way along the wall, we stopped in some of the forts that were used for purposes of patrolling and living quarters. However, they are now used by the local farmers to sell food and

We can feel the excitement as we all gathered in the hotel lobby at 8:00 am sharp to board a bus to one of China’s greatest wonders, the Great Wall of China. We were informed to be ready for a strenuous hike compared to our city tour the previous day. It took us 2 hours to get to the starting point of our hike at the east tower with the five notable arrow-holes. While on the bus, we were given a brief introduction to the wall’s expansive history. One after another we took turns to read out printed information to optimize everybody’s attention. Just to give a short summary, the great mural was built by the Han populace to keep the northern nomadic tribes from devastating their agricultural plantations. The wall is about 6000 miles long and was completed over three dynasties. It reached its full length during the Ming dynasty and was then breached at the end of the Qing dynasty. The wall was abandoned and demolished by men for its resources until the Chinese government started protecting the monument in 1980. Despite the rainy conditions, we were glad to note the fog present through Saturday dissipated overnight, which allowed us to have a much clearer view of the wall. Our knowledgeable guide selected a less frequented portion of the wall for us to hike. If also considering the rain and the time of the day we walked the wall, we were thrilled to pass only very few tourists. We walked 13 kilometers. The first part of the wall we walked was non-renovated, while the second portion was reconstituted based on its original architecture.

Once we reached the top of the wall to begin our journey, the first things that were seen were the rolling mountains with dense greenery as far as the eye could see. Because of the rain, mist draped their peaks majestically. Not only were we standing on a historical structure created over two thousand years ago, but we were also standing on what divided China from Mongolia. After capturing many pictures of this monumental moment, our group began our hike along the wall. Because of the mountainous range, the wall was anything but flat. We had to carefully climb uneven stairs with loose stones; some stairs were constructed with such a steep decent and small steps that only one foot at a time could be placed sideways on each step.  As we made our way along the wall, we stopped in some of the forts that were used for purposes of patrolling and living quarters. However, they are now used by the local farmers to sell food and supplies to visiting tourists.

After about 3-4 hours, our hike along the Great Wall of China came to a end. To remember this “once in a life-time” experience, we were given certificates that acknowledged our accomplishments. We made our decent from the Great Wall of China with a sense of awe at the ingenuity, sacrifice, and perseverance that went into building this historical structure so long ago.

June 10, 2013: Michelle Wesley, University of Illinois

Today was the first day that class was held in the Large Animal Clinic.  We began the morning session with a tour around the Veterinary Teaching Hospital led by Professor Liu.  The hospital sees over two hundred cases per day and is the largest animal hospital in Beijing.  First, we were shown the Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine wing.  It was a small area of the hospital, which contains one exam room with an acupuncture area.  As we walked through, we saw a patient receiving a consult from one of the clinicians.  The rest of the hospital looked extremely similar to ours, with much of the same diagnostic equipment.  Professor Liu informed us that everything within the hospital was purchased with funds that students and faculty have earned.  This seemed to create a great pride in the hospital, and everything was well kept.

After the tour, Professor Liu introduced the class to our new professor, Professor Fan.  On the agenda for the morning, Dr. Fan would introduce basic acupoints of the horse that were used to treat diseases of the joints and muscles.  He told us that TCVM students were usually taught all points of the face, then all points of the trunk and finally all points of the limbs.  Since our time was short, he felt a better method would be to divide up the points based on what condition was being treated.

Before we began with the acupoints, Professor Fan explained the importance of choosing proper needles and how to insure a needle was fit for use.  He passed around needles used for all forms of acupuncture (dry, fire, hemo, etc) and explained when it was appropriate to use or retire a needle.  He told us to feel for rust, make sure the needle wasn’t bent or misshapen and to check for other flaws.  After we all were confident that we could choose a proper needle, we moved on the acupoints used to treat muscle disease.  Professor Fan explained that there were three diseases of muscles: paralysis, rheumatism and sprain, and that these points could be used to cure these diseases.  Forty points in total were introduced using both the meridian as well as the Traditional Chinese Name.  Dr. Fan took the time to translate most of the Chinese names to English, to better help us learn them.  After we would cover a section of points in the book, we were allowed to practice palpating each point on the donkey.  Professor Fan patiently guided every student through each section, and repeated the names several times, making it easier to remember where each point was located.

After we returned from lunch, Professor Fan used the same method to teach us the acupoints of the joints.  He stressed the importance of surrounding the joint, however it was extremely vital never to enter the joint space.  He explained the three diseases of the joints were: acute inflammation, rheumatism and excessive fluid.  Using the same technique that he did for teaching the muscle diseases, we quickly learned and palpated the joint acupoints.  We were then allowed to independently study the points using the cadavers and the donkey.  Dr. Fan and all of the host students were available to help small groups review to ensure we were learning the correct positions of the points.

June 11, 2013: Jenna MacDonell, University of Illinois

Today, Dr. Fan presented the equine acupoints corresponding with internal organs and tips of the body, as well as the equine hemoactupuncture points. Many of the points relating to the internal organs are located along the spine in between dorsal spinous processes and located in the intercostal spaces.  Point #44 Qi-jia is located at the point of the withers and is used to treat lung diseases like asthma and intestinal problems like enterospasm. Point #57 Gan-shu, located in the 13thintercostal space at the level of the greater trochanter is linked to the liver and used to treat icterus, and is also used to treat conjunctivitis and keratoconjunctivitis sicca.  The points located at the tips of the body (ie tail tip, ear tip, nose, and feet) are more or less “reset buttons”. When these points are strongly stimulated, they have the ability to “reset” the CNS and reinstate proper function and bodily control. For example, hemoacupuncture at point #86 (Wei-jian ) located at the tip of the tail is used to treat shock. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses hemoacupuncture to treat diseases of heat, excess, or acute diseases. It is a very strong form of stimulation/acupuncture and, as mentioned above, is a component of various treatment plans. In addition to treating shock and heat stroke, it is used by Traditional Chinese Veterinarians to treat laminitis. Laminitis is treated via hemoacupuncture of points #115 (Qian-ti-men) medial and lateral aspects of the hoof at the level of the coronary band on the forelimb, #116 (Qian-ti-tou) on the toe of the hoof at the level of the coronary band on the forelimb, and corresponding points on the hind limb #152 (Hou-ti-men) and #151 (Hou-ti-tou) respectively.

A morning’s worth of classroom learning lead us to a break for lunch followed by a chance to apply our newly acquired knowledge.  The university had kindly provided us with a very sweet donkey to acupuncture. Dr. Fan warned us that donkey skin was much thicker than that of other large animals (especially the horse) and that we may struggle to penetrate the skin with the needles. He was not kidding! Many of us found this task rather difficult, even with special large animal acupuncture needles. Nonetheless, it was a great experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity. And, not to worry, donkey was sedated prior to our acupuncture practice session. Each of us tried at least a point or two and left feeling fulfilled.

After a full day of learning, some of us decided to experience some of what we had learned in class the week prior. We went to a local spa and tried cupping, a method in TCM used to treat muscle aches and pains, especially back pain, and other diseases of wind, cold, and damp. It was s pretty cool experience! The tour books say it leaves “funny read welts” on your back, but in reality it leaves perfectly circular bruises. Not to worry though, they will go away in about a week, and they are not as sore as typical bruises. I cannot speak for everyone, but I was really glad I tried it! One of my goals for this trip was to truly immerse myself in the culture, and now I feel my mission is a little more complete.

June 12, 2013: Katie Kobrya, The Ohio State University

Today, we learned the specifics of canine acupuncture.  When we arrived at CAU, Professor Fan had two preserved dog models for him to indicate the correct anatomic position of each acupoint.  One was a complete skeleton similar to what we have at my college.  The organ and skin model however was really cool.  They dissected down to the muscle groups on one side of the model and then down to the organs on the opposite side before preserving the specimen.  Looking back on my first year anatomy dissection, this model would have helped me a lot to know what to remove from our dissection dog and what to keep.

We had a total of 66 canine acupuncture points presented to us as useful points in practice.  Unlike the process of learning equine points by method of acupuncture, we learned the canine points by anatomic location.  First, we learned the points along the vertebral column.  These points are either located laterally between the interspinalis space or intercostal space.  These points should be inserted between the muscle and the needle should be stopped once a reaction is observed, du xi.  The indication of these points depends on location from proximal to distal: heart and lung, diaphragm, liver and gallbladder, upper GI, reproductive organs, lower GI, and bladder.  The next points were located dorsally between the spinal processes.  Again the indications of these also depended on anatomical location.  Unlike the horse, the dog has acupoints on the ventral midline that are indicated for GI disturbances.  Many of the points were similar to points in the horse, but the names were different.

After learning the specific canine points, we were able to practice inserting needles into a live dog.  For the dog’s comfort she was sedated since everyone in the class was new to acupuncture and it would be stressful for her.  After she was sedated they brought out a treatment table made out of a metal frame with nylon rope lashed around it in a checkerboard pattern.  The dog was put into it similar to a pig sling and Professor Fan stated that most patients will be calm in this position.  It was really neat, since it allowed access to all of the points and restrained the dog at the same time.  It was a lot easier to insert the needles into the dog and I felt more confident in the positioning of the needle because the skin was not as thick as the donkey’s.

After class was finished for the day, a group of students went to the Olympic Green to sight see the buildings used for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  This sight in Beijing is free to visit and it was amazing to see the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube up close after watching the games on TV.  The city had also constructed a wall with the names of all the medal winners in each division of both the Regular Olympics and the Paralympics that were held later that summer.  It was amazing to see all the names of US Olympians carved into stone.  Along with the Olympic stadium, my group made the trek to find the much-talked about Beijing Duck.  I personally was having the misfortune of either getting lost or running out of time each day to find a restaurant that served the duck.  I finally was able to enjoy this classic dish from Beijing and it was worth the wait.

June 13, 2013: Kat Hall, University of Illinois, and Kristen Kerrish, The Ohio State University

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is made up of three main components: acupuncture, herbal/traditional medicines, and massage.  The Chinese character for veterinarian is actually composed of symbols representing these modalities.  While the main part of our course focused on acupuncture, today we were introduced to the elements of massage by Professor He Jing Rong.  Professor He Jing Rong is one of Dr. Liu’s mentors.  Massage allows treatment of acupoints by region and the precise location of the points is not as vital as it is for acupuncture.  Massage can treat mild problems, and supplements the other traditional treatments.  Also, most owners are able to perform massage treatment on their pets at home with basic instruction.  The three main massage zones are the head, abdomen, and back.  These areas contain many acupoints that can be stimulated by twelve basic techniques.

The techniques used depends on the area being massaged, the size of the animal, and the problem that is being treated.  For example, head rubbing is moving either the palm or a few fingers in clockwise and counterclockwise circles over the top of an animal’s head.  The number of circles should be the same in both directions and this method can be used to treat mild seizures, stress, and forebrain disease.  Other techniques can include pushing, kneading, wiping, pinching, and scrubbing.  Point pressing is one massage technique where pressure is applied to a specific acupoint with pressure from a finger applied perpendicular to the skin.  This is one massage technique where precise point location is necessary.   In all techniques, it is important to know the proper direction and speed for the motion.  For example, pushing is performed in a head to tail fashion while wiping is a slow motion starting at the spine and moving down the sides of the animal’s body.  While massage is a great treatment for many animals, there are some times when massage should not be used.  Learning about the times when a treatment should not be used is very important.  Massage should not be used in cases of acute inflammation, sepsis, acute infection, neoplasia/tumors, encephalopathy, weakness, severe epilepsy, and pregnancy, among others.

Massage on animals is not the same as massage on humans.  Massage for animals should be a gentle massage that keeps the animal calm and quiet.  Sudden movement or jerking of the body may injure small animals or cause the animal to bite the practitioner. Overall, massage of animals increases blood circulation, decreases pain, and can either increase or decrease temperature depending on techniques used.  Massage can also be used to treat healthy animals in order to prolong their life and improve quality of life by delaying onset of illness or reducing the negative effects of illness.  Massage can help comfort the animal as well as the owner, especially in cases where the disease process is not fully understood or where other treatments have failed.  Many animals may benefit from massage but it is important to understand the techniques and apply massage therapy to the correct clinical cases.

Throughout the morning’s lecture, Professor He Jing Rong introduced us to several human exercises.  She practices tai chi for her own health benefits and thought that we could benefit from the exercises during our breaks.  We learned five animal poses: tiger, deer, bear, monkey, and crane.  The poses were based on the animal’s behavior, such as a tiger crouching and pouncing and the deer running.  They were a great diversion and it was fun to watch everyone attempting the poses!

During the afternoon session Dr. Liu lectured us on the treatment of specific equine diseases.  He first discussed the common cold and cough.  The Chinese traditional theory of the cause of the common cold is much different than western ideas.  The two types of cold are the wind and cold type and the wind and heat type.  The symptoms of the two types differ as well as which acupoints selected.  Additionally, hemoacupuncture is preferred in the treatment of the wind and heat type.  He continued on to discuss asthma, fever, strangles and stomatitis.  Noteworthy points about these equine diseases are that hemoacupuncture is the preferred method of treatment, asthma is believed to be an issue of the day with relief occurring at night, and fever presents with a red tongue with a yellow coating.  He next covered gastrointestinal diseases such as colic pain and intestinal tympany.  Unlike western veterinary medicine ideas, these conditions are related to stagnation of Qi.  The goal of the acupuncture therapy is to remove this stagnation.  He continued to lecture on various other diseases ranging from prolapse of the rectum to laminitis.  The details of the theory and treatments were provided for us in our note packets.  What I found to conflict my previous ideas about acupuncture was that its effectiveness decreases with the chronicity of the disease.  I had the idea that Eastern medicine was more of a “last ditch effort” in the United States, but this course helped me to understand the importance of integrative medicine for optimal results.

June 14, 2013: Philip DeShield, Purdue University

Today was the last official day of the Chinese Traditional Veterinary medicine short course at China Agriculture University (CAU). Dr. Liu finished up concepts on specific canine diseases and applications methods of acupuncture. Many of diseases are neurologic in origin and included intervertebral disk disease, paralysis of the facial, sciatic, radial and hypoglossal nerves as well as urinary and faecal incontinence and spasm of the diaphragm. Dr. Liu provided several case reports and probabilities of success which were greater than 75% in most neurologic cases after several treatments. Naturally, the number of IVDD cases far surpassed any of the other neurologic disorders and is actually the standard of treatment at CAU.

Being ahead of schedule, Dr. Liu graciously provided a space to answer any final questions and concerns about acupuncture or the 2 week course. Many students were concerned about the translational aspect of acupuncture, as well as the possibility of using some sedation prior to treatment.  Dr. Liu did not have personal experience with these situations but knew of some American veterinarians who did, and recommended contacting the Chi institute.

Other questions raised included acupuncture treatment for unresponsive skin diseases and preventive treatments. Dr. Liu acknowledged that not many cases are seen in China with this presentation to TCVM, but it has been documented in human acupuncture that some skin diseases are responsive to acupuncture.  Preventative acupuncture is performed in TCVM but the efficacy is hard to determine, and owners must be forewarned.

The question of cost also was raised in the discussion. Comparatively the cost for treatments is about 6 times that in the US as China, roughly equivalent to the conversion rate, so many see it as a cheaper alternative to Western Medicine in China, while in the U.S it is more of a niche therapy.

We concluded the day early and had a little ceremony of thanks and distribution of certificates and gifts. The hospitality displayed by Dr. Liu and his graduate students extended above and beyond and was greatly appreciated. We can not thank him nor his students enough for their warm welcome and Chinese hospitality.

On the last day I came to some resolutions and insights into my own understanding of Chinese culture with respect to tradition and authenticity. The concept of tradition often connotes that of old and historic. Western ‘tradition’ is  often left untouched, just replicated. Similarly, I expected traditional Chinese medicine to be something once studied and replicated without much modification. My ignorance was long-withstanding being confused with the freshly painted buildings, and recent masonry. It was only till this last day in conversation that I realized that China has always been there,  and restoration has never stopped. As developments in construction and painting have progressed, so has the restoration and maintenance. why should I expect 100 year old rotting wood and moth eaten fabrics when the temples are still prayed at. These last days I realized that tradition is lived and is continued and created. These ancient arts are being modified just as the forbidden city is being painted with new paints and wood work. Retaining something without restoring it is not any more authentic that preserving the intent of the building using the latest equipment and supplies. Much like the restoration and rebuilding of these ancient buildings so is the science and art of TCVM continuing to being restored and rebuilt retaining its essence and original function in society.