Acupuncture Course, China, 2016

Aug 30, 2016 / Student Blogs

Sunday, June 12, 2016: Carolina Garcia

We used the Sunday before starting our acupuncture course to walk around Beijing, a city which is very big and full of history and culture. Our day started at 9:00 am, we had a delicious breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express hotel which included Chinese/Western type of food: noodles, rice, dumplings, eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. Following breakfast, we took the convenient subway to the Hutongs to start our tour with our good friend Hu.

Garcia China

Our first stop was the Bell and the Drum tower in Zhangye, which are located directly across from one another. Bells and drums were musical instruments in ancient china and were used to announce the time during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. We bought a ticket to enter the towers and took some steep stairways to get to the top where the massive bronze bell and drums are located. The bell weighs 600 kilograms and is decorated with dragons, tigers and beautiful patterns, is in perfect condition and is not rung anymore. The drums were previously beaten to mark the hours until the telling time changed to use slow burning coil of incense. Nowadays, you can take part in the activity of knocking them, appreciating all kinds of folk-customs, such as the dragon and lion dance. Unfortunately, we arrived 10 minutes after the show had ended and didn’t get to see it.

After the towers, we had lunch and tried the famous Chinese dumplings at Xian Lao Man. They were delicious and so much needed after walking all morning. Our next stop was the temple of Confucius, which is one of the best and most beautifully preserved temples I have seen. The interior walls and ceilings are decorated with bright colors especially blue, red green and gold, there are four courtyards and all the doors have nine studs. This was very peculiar to me therefore I asked Hu about the number nine and he explained that it has a very special meaning in Chinese culture and every multiple of nine is reserved and mostly used in relationship to the emperor. The reason behind it being that in China, odd numbers were known as being masculine and even numbers as being feminine and since nine is the largest single digit, it was known as the “ultimate masculine” and symbolized supreme sovereignty. Confucius is known as one of the most famous teachers ever produced in China and his ideas still influence the Chinese today, he was known as “The Master”, His principles were based in common Chinese tradition and his golden rule was “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”

Following Confucian temple, we walked to the Lama Temple. This is a Buddhist temple where people come to worship and pray. At the entrance, they offer incense and the ritual includes 3 joss sticks which are lighted and raised above their head to form a trident; then they close their eyes and pray. This is repeated three times and the number nine is a reference to the nine emperors. As you walk through the Lama Temple the statues of Buddha got larger and larger until you get to the largest Buddha to be carved out of a sandalwood tree. A very impressive masterpiece that is currently in the Guinness World Record Book.

The day ended with a short tour to the silk market and after a long day of exploring the city, we headed back to the hotel and got ready for our first day of our Acupuncture course.

Monday, June 13, 2016: Gosia Pajak

Today was our first day of classes at the College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University.

Pajak China

In the morning we fueled up with a delicious breakfast at our hotel. Among a large variety of foods we were offered, drinkable kiwi yogurt and steamed custard buns were definitely one of my favorite morning treats. After breakfast, we took a short bus ride, followed by a 10-minute walk, which

became our everyday route to school. Our walk turned into a frantic sprint, as we got caught in a big storm.

Upon arrival to the University, we were welcomed by Professor Liu and a group of his students. After a short introduction, they gave us a tour of their school and we took our first group picture.


During lunch-time, Chinese veterinary students led us to a student cafeteria, which consists of 4 levels. Each floor offers a variety of dishes, anywhere from noodles, rice, dumplings, soups, to pizza and hamburgers, for those that want to stick to a familiar cuisine. With the help of Chinese veterinary students, a nice restaurant was chosen. We sat at a round table and ordered all kinds of Chinese specialties that we all shared as the table has spun. Having tried Chinese food in America, I must say that it is completely different from the authentic Chinese food, in China itself. We tried purple yam, sweet and sour shrimp, lotus root, sausage and tofu soup, Chinese green cabbage and many more. In between bites, we learned some basic Chinese words as “Xie xie ” (thank you), “Shi” (yes), “Bu Yao” (no).

With full stomachs, we returned to classrooms and began our adventure with acupuncture. Professor Liu gave an introduction to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). We talked about its history, applications, and development over four thousand years.

In the evening, we went to a dumpling place and local bakery “Holiland”. We were very lucky to always have some Chinese students with us, to help us translate. Most of the menus and signs we encountered were in Chinese, and without Chinese speakers we would have a much harder time doing what we wanted to do. We ate a delicious dumpling dinner, stocked up on some pastries, and went back to a hotel for a good night’s rest with heads full of new knowledge and excitement for the upcoming days.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016: Alyssa Baratta

Going to a new country poses many challenges. The language barrier seemed like the toughest to me. Having arrived in Beijing just two days before, I was still adjusting to everything. The use of picture cards to point to what I wanted to eat, the “non-Western” toilets, and the rush onto the chronically crowded public buses every morning were different. Yet, making sure I understood what I was being told required the most effort, especially in the beginning.

Baratta China

Without much previous knowledge of traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, I was grateful our professor was starting with the basics. On this day, we were learning about yin, yang, the five elements, and the zang-fu organs. Imagine trying to learn completely new concepts in a foreign country where the children are taught the same subjects while in elementary school. It was a lot to take in over just six hours.

In a huge oversimplification, here is a brief snippet of those basics. The yin and yang theory boils down to everything in nature having something that opposes it, allowing for balance. Neither yin nor yang can exist without the other; failure to do so leads to disease or even death. In very broad terms, the yin-yang theory can explain bodily functions, anatomical locations, or even disease states. Yin is considered anything interior, cold, or deficient while yang is considered anything exterior, hot, or in excess. If that explanation doesn’t seem intuitive to you, you’re right where I was. As a trained science-based thinker, I was struggling to make it work.

After a full day of trying to wrap my brain around all of this new information, I wasn’t looking forward to venturing out on my own for dinner. My roommate, Sara, and I already had a rough time at lunch. After looking over pictures of food options, we both decided to get a bowl of noodles that was supposed to have pork in it, and our cashier assured us we’d like it. As it turned out, “pork” wasn’t quite descriptive enough. We discovered our noodle bowls contained intestine after trying the chewy bits. I wasn’t ready for organ meat, and neither was she. Scarred from unknown dishes, we were both weary for dinner.

As a special treat, our student-hosts from the university decided to take our large group to a hot pot dinner that included a traditional mask-changing opera known as Sichuan where the actor changes his mask using a technique called “bian lian” to convey different emotions and characters. Having the students with us to translate directly really made the evening go smoothly, and there were no surprises in what we ate. Everything they helped us order was absolutely delicious, and they took excellent care of us. There really is a comforting feeling that comes from eating good food, particularly when abroad. We all talked about the day and laughed about our lunch time misadventures, promising each other we’d have better luck tomorrow.  Besides, it’s the misadventures that make the best stories.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016: Emily Wechter

Today was the third day of our acupuncture course.  Finally, a dry day where we didn’t have to worry about waiting for the bus and getting soaked in the rain!  Taking the bus was, once again, an adventure.  As we waited at the stop, each passing bus seemed to be more and more packed. Ours finally arrived (yes, the most packed bus we had seen yet), and we all squeezed together as much as we could until the bus driver could get the doors shut.  Luckily, it was only about 15 minute ride (although it felt like much longer), and we were finally released!  We walked through campus in the blazing hot sun to find our classroom.  Though the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in sight, it was hard not to notice the abundance of Chinese students carrying umbrellas to avoid to sunlight.  At first it seemed a little funny, but by the end of our walk through campus we all wished we had brought a sun umbrella as well!

Dr. Liu began class by introducing us to the concept of qi and body fluid.   As a western veterinary student, the idea of qi seemed quite abstract and foreign.  It is defined as the fundamental substance constituting the universe.  In veterinary medicine, it relates to both the essential substances of the animal body, allowing the animal to perform and maintain vital activities, including the activities of the zang-fu organs and tissues.  I imagined it as a form of energy – nothing that can be visualized, palpated, or quantified, but what many westerners may perceive as a soul.

There are two sources of qi in the body: congenital qi and acquired qi.  An animal is born with congenital qi and is passed down from the parents, while acquired qi is obtained from the air that the lungs inhale, as well as the food consumed by the animal and transformed by the spleen.  Qi has many different functions throughout the body, including promoting growth, maintaining proper body temperature, and defending the body against exogenous pathogens.

Figure 1- From “Veterinary Acupuncture” by Liu Zhongjie and Fan Kai, Chapter 12

Body fluid is a collective term for all fluids in the body: saliva, gastric juices, intestinal juices, tears, synovial fluid, nasal discharge, sweat, and urine.  Qi has a very close relationship with body fluid.  Both of them originate from the essence of food consumed by the animal, and in a sense, qi governs body fluid.  It promotes the production, distribution, and excretion of body fluid.  Qi is carried by the body fluid, which is necessary for existence.

After lunch, Dr. Liu introduced us to the concept of meridians and collaterals.  They are pathways in which qi and blood circulate across the body, and are distributed both internally and externally.  There are 12 regular meridians, six of which are related to the zang organs (yin / interior meridians) and the remaining six pertain to the fu organs (yang / exterior meridians).  There is a cyclical flow of qi and blood through the twelve meridians, as you can see in the figure below (Figure 1).

There are eight extra meridians, as well as 12 collaterals.  Collaterals are large branches of the 12 regular meridians.  Meridians and collaterals are responsible for transporting qi and blood and regulating Yin and Yang, resisting pathogens and reflecting symptoms and signs, as well as transmitting needling sensation and regulating the functions of the internal organs.

Once class had ended, a few of the Chinese students organized a trip for some of us to get a traditional Chinese massage.  When we arrived, we were instructed to change into pajamas that they had left on the tables for us.  Most of us were expecting something soothing and relaxing, however we quickly found out that was not the plan.  It was more of a deep tissue massage – I had no idea it was possible to be in so much pain from just a foot massage!  My masseuse would find knots in my feet (who knew you had knots there??) and work them out (very painfully I might add).  In the end, I was very glad and my feet have never felt better or more relaxed in my life!  We were all so worn out after our hour-long massage that we walked back to the hotel and immediately collapsed in bed.

Thursday June 16, 2016: Ashley Suwanski

On Thursday, June 16th we woke up and had breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express. There were a wide variety of breakfast items in a buffet manner from the traditional eggs, sausage and coffee to the less common fried rice and dumplings.  It was cloudy and rainy on our walk to the bus across the street from the hotel. Many of us were in rain jackets or huddled together under umbrellas provided to us from the hotel. We took the bus most of the way to the China Agricultural University and walked the rest of the short distance.

Our morning lecture included gathering the knowledge we gained from the previous couple of days to help diagnose and treat equine patients with specific signs they present with for certain diseases. For lunch, we went to the university cafeteria where there is a variety of different noodles, vegetables, dumplings and bubble tea to choose from. Below the cafeteria, on the bottom floor, is a small grocery store and a few shops where we bought small items such as hand-held fans and stationary pieces. In the afternoon lecture we discussed the use of moxibustion, cupping, aquapuncture, and electroacupuncture. We practiced a few of these techniques on each other such as using specific cups with a flame to cause negative pressure on an area of interest.  We also practiced using moxa sticks and flame to cause mild stimulation on specific acupoints.

Later that evening, we walked with students from the university and watched an acrobatic show. It included performances such as ladies balancing 6 or more rotating plates in each hand, men climbing to daring heights and showing their acrobatic skills with no safety nets, plus many other performances showing the strength and agility of the human body. After the show, we walked back to the hotel room to get some sleep and prepare for the next adventure Beijing had to offer.

Friday, June 17, 2016: Jason Tarricone

I awoke this morning at 7:30, just in time for a shower and a quick bite to eat before heading off to class. . I’ve been away from home for two weeks now and the Holiday Inn Express is beginning to feel like home. I traveled to Dubai & New Delhi for the week prior to coming to Beijing. I’m frequently reminded of the cultural differences even as I pass through the breakfast buffet. In America, you would expect to see waffles, toast, eggs and other breakfast staples, however, in China “breakfast food” isn’t part of the cuisine so I help myself to some fried rice and pork dumplings.  Our commute to class has become routine by now. Beijing has a great public transportation system and the hotel is only four stops away from the university.

Today marks the end of our first week of class as well as the last day discussing the theory behind traditional Chinese veterinary medicine.  Our lesson started with a discussion of the different techniques behind acupuncture and moxibustion.  Prior to this trip, I thought that traditional Chinese veterinary medicine simply consisted of acupuncture. As a matter of fact, TCVM consists of much more then placing a needle in an acupoint. For example, the practice of  moxibustion is the technique of adding heat to either an acupoint or along a meridian. This addition of heat is intended to treat “cold” or “yang deficiencies” which are two components that can upset qi and cause illness. Additionally, we discussed the various ways that acupuncture needles can be used. There are a several types of needles in TCVM, which can be used in several different techniques. The filiform needle is the typical type of needle that westerners associate with acupuncture. However, there is also a fire needle and a needle intended for bloodletting. One indication for bloodletting is increased redness of the tongue which can be due to polycythemia (an excessive amount of red blood cells). I found this particularly interesting because we still treat polycythemia in western medicine with bloodletting!

After lunch, we had a lecture from Dr. Ferguson summarizing the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat pain.  I was aware that acupuncture was poorly studied in the literature but I hadn’t previously given it much thought. I hadn’t realized that it is particularly hard to eliminate the placebo effect and bias from human acupuncture studies, simply because it is extremely difficult to create a placebo for acupuncture. Although, he discussed many things that were slightly over my head, I did find one element particularly insightful. A study performed compared correctly placed acupuncture needles to a placebo and found that the acupuncture needles were statistically significantly better at reducing pain. Additionally, in order to validate the placebo, a study was performed comparing the efficacy of incorrectly placed acupuncture needles with the placebo. This found that the inaccurately placed needle was more efficacious, although to a lesser magnitude then a correctly placed needle, for treating pain then the placebo. I found this reassuring as a new practitioner of acupuncture that even if I miss the acupoint when placing a needle I will still help my patient more then if I had done nothing.

After class, we returned to the hotel via our familiar bus route. Tonight, we’re off to Wudaokou, an area with nightlife that is popular with international students. It’s not going to be to wild a night though as tomorrow we have a full day tour exploring the forbidden city and several other temples around Beijing.

Saturday, June 18, 2016: Gongjoo Paik

The first week of classes flew by so fast! It’s been a great week of delving into the background and theory behind veterinary acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. As much as we were excited to learn about acupuncture, we were also very excited to explore China. So when the weekend rolled around, we were pumped to go sightseeing.

Today we visited several famous historic places of China guided by our wonderful tour guides, Tao and Robert. First stop was the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is China’s most well preserved and largest royal park. It stretches miles and miles and it was unfortunate that we only stayed there a little less than an hour. Within the Summer Palace, there were many different halls and temples however one thing that stood out was the Marble Boat. It served as a peaceful pavilion where the royal family could get together and enjoy a feast coupled with a beautiful view.

Second stop was the Forbidden City. Before we were able to enter the Forbidden City, we were greeted with the portrait of Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen Gate which is a gate connecting the Tiananmen Square with the Forbidden City. One interesting fact we learned from one of our tour guides, Tao, is that the painting of Mao Zedong is replaced annually on national holidays. There used to be only one very privileged artist that was qualified to paint Mao Zedong’s portrait. Apparently now there are 2 qualified people in the entirety of China who are qualified and privileged to do this. Once we entered the Forbidden Palace, we couldn’t see an end to it. Just a couple of days ago, one of the TCVM professors mentioned that there were 999 rooms in the Forbidden City. I didn’t believe it at that time but I sure did once I actually experienced the Forbidden City in person. Every time I passed through an arched doorway into the next section of the Forbidden City, I couldn’t help but feel as if I were in a maze.

Our final stop was the Temple of Heaven. One thing that intrigued me, not only at this temple but at other temples we visited, was that although, for tourists, these temples are one of many touristy places in China one must visit, for the people of China, these were still sacred temples where they came to burn incense and raise a pray or two for blessings and longevity.

As much as we enjoyed touring through some of the famous places in China, we were exhausted and a bit sunburnt. What better way to relax after a long day of walking and sightseeing than ending the day with some fun, soothing animal facial masks!

Sunday, June 19, 2016: Sara Kessel

There are many times that I’ve felt accomplished in my life, but climbing to the top of the Great Wall of China is by far one of my favorites. It was 1,600 steps (past a snake!) just to get the top of the mountain where we could walk along the wall. Once at the top, we stopped to look out over the tops of the mountains that were numerous shades of green before beginning our hike. I felt like I could see the mountains extend forever.  The part of the wall that we walked down was one of the areas that haven’t been renovated yet which meant that a good majority of it was in ruins and falling down without the assistance of hand railings. Even though we were without the benefit of a smoother hike, we were blessed with not being surrounded by tourists every step of the way. At some points, I could look in either direction and not see a person outside of our group. There isn’t a way to describe the views without them being insufficient.

About halfway getting through the 5 kilometer hike, we happily accepted a break at the 9th lookout tower where we were greeted by a nice lady selling ice cream cones and ice cold waters. Most of us came prepared and were carrying multiple liters of water on our backs for our trek so we politely declined. A few people did indulge in an ice cream cone! We continued onwards; the second half of the trip went by much quicker than the first half. I think that it’s because the first half I was so busy taking pictures while walking through that I was slowed down. The second half, however, I put my camera away and moved away from the group so that I could hike the rest by myself. There’s something very freeing about being up there with nothing but the views and your own thoughts. I got a lot of thinking done! After reaching the bottom, we all reconvened to take a picture with a carved rock that said, “One cannot be deemed a hero until they have climbed the Great Wall.” We then enjoyed a delicious family style dinner and went home. I do believe I slept harder that night than any other night the entire month!

Monday, June 20, 2016: Nicole Wettstein

After a week of classroom lectures regarding the theory and the basics of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), we packed up our books and traveled out to the university’s farm to begin the hands-on portion and work with “horses”, aka absolutely adorable pintsized Mongolian ponies. The farm was nearly an hour bus ride from our home at the Shang Di Holiday Inn Express. Unfortunately due to the overwhelming Monday morning Beijing traffic, our bus was an hour late to pick us up. We had already learned that navigating a city filled with over 31 million people could be quite the challenge. Everyone poured an extra cup of coffee and enjoyed the extra hour of air conditioning while we waited.

The University farm was an interesting collection of small scattered buildings. Many of them had small turnout areas that extended from the sides. On the property were pigs, ducks, llamas, dogs, and several cows. In a large pasture, there was over a dozen horses which were university as well as privately owned. On more than one occasion, the small band of horses snuck out and casually wandered about. This was quite the comedy show the first time that it happened and the TCVM students tried to round up the rather ornery ponies. We all had a good laugh as the ponies began to run about. This was a pretty regular occurrence and it became a fun little afternoon break. Our new classroom area consisted of a covered concrete pad with 3 sets of stocks, two large carriages and a small thatched carriage which appeared to be an antique. Small stools were brought out for us, however many of us found it easier to take notes sitting on the floor. If you were lucky, you snagged a padded seat in one of the carriages. The most helpful tool was the pony sized equine skeleton and preserved cadaver which allowed us to locate points and related muscle groups. The preserved cadaver was incredibly helpful. Many muscle groups can be palpated and this model offered a useful guide as our new instructor, Dr. Fan, began to demonstrate and explain each acupoint and its location. Despite his extensive English vocabulary, Dr. Fan felt more comfortable using our trusty TCVM PhD student, city tour guide and most gracious interpreter, Hu to translate much of what he presented to us.

Our study began with a brief introduction and quickly jumped into learning the location and palpation markers for each acupoint. Dr. Fan explained that acupoints are usually broken down and introduced by their anatomical location. However, this was going to be such a expedited way of learning and he felt that it was most effective to learn the points in groups relating to what type of symptoms those particular points were used to treat. He couldn’t have been more correct. Indeed, it was a whirlwind tour of acupoints, Chinese names, and anatomical locations. He was kind enough to put together a booklet with pictures for us to label, the Chinese name for each acupoint and the number that they corresponded with our textbook. Each point was explained once in Chinese and interpreted into English. By the afternoon, we completed the entire list of musculoskeletal acupoints and were given the rest of the time to palpate each of the points that were had learned earlier in the day. After all of the students had an opportunity to palpate each point, we packed up our things and climbed back on the bus to return to the city.

As I sit watching China slowly disappear during take off, it’s a bittersweet goodbye. The language barrier and the sweltering heat of Beijing in the summer months were just two of the struggles that couldn’t be ignored. Although at the end of the day, these pale in comparison to the grand experiences of visiting the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, and tremendous learning opportunities that we were exposed to. The dedication and incredible skill of the clinicians, both Dr. Liu and Dr. Fan, who took it upon themselves to teach 16 American students a concept as abstract as Traditional Chinese Medicine in their second language was astounding. Not only were they able to give a detailed explanation and history, I feel comfortable enough to go forward and practice many of the acupoints and principles that I have learned in the past two weeks. I am excited to continue my study TCVM and pursue certification in the  future.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016: Jamie Heavey

Today was our second day at the other veterinary school in Beijing. We started the morning with a brief review of the equine acupuncture points we had learned the day before. There is an overwhelming number of acupuncture points to learn and with our little understanding of the language it was difficult to quickly pick up on the material. But with lots of repetition and help from Dr. Fan and Hu, one of the university’s students, we made the best of it! We spent most of the morning going over acupuncture points for the face, joints, tips of the body and inner organs. We discussed locations of points, how to insert the needle, and when those points should be used.  Point #59, named Pishu, is located in the 15th intercostal space and is one of the most common points used for disorders of digestion and the intestines. Point #21, Fenshui, is located in the center of the upper lip, and can be used to treat facial paralysis or sunstroke. We also learned some of the hemoacupuncture points in the horse.  Bloodletting is often used for inflammation and hyperemia. Point #116, Qiantimen, located on the coronary band of the forelimb, can be used to treat laminitis.

After we had discussed all of the acupuncture and hemoacupuncture points, we had a chance to practice palpating the locations of these points on some of the horses at the school. When we felt comfortable enough, we had the chance to place an acupuncture needle ourselves, as well. It takes a steady hand and just the right amount of force to insert the needle through the skin. It was great to finally be able to put everything we had been learning about types of tools and needles, how to hold them, and where to use them, into practice. I chose to try point #131, Huiyang, which is located in the groove between the biceps femoris and semitendinosus muscles, which can be used for arthritis in the hip joint or pelvic limb paralysis. It was harder than I thought to place the needle, but as they say, practice makes perfect!

Dr. Fan also took the time to teach us some of the traditional Chinese medicine used in humans, as well. We all had the chance to try Shidi Shui, which is an herbal liquid that you drop on your tongue and can be used to treat sunstroke and heat rash. It had a very familiar menthol taste and cooling feeling. At the end of the day, he also went through some human acupuncture points and had the chance to place them in ourselves. I placed one in my wrist, which can be used for neck pain, and one slightly below my knee, which helps with stomach issues. It is definitely a strange experience to stick a needle in yourself, but I am glad to have had the opportunity.

After class, I went with some other students to the Beijing Olympic Park, which is where the 2008 Summer Games were held.  It was cool to see the very buildings where I had watched so many of the world’s greatest athletes compete. Our timing was perfect! We made it there right after the sun had set, so the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube were completely lit up. It was another great addition to our adventure in China.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016: Brittany Cortina

Professor Fan demonstrating acupuncture points on a dog model.

After spending the past week learning about ying-yang theory, the zang-fu organs, meridians, and the basics of acupuncture, today we were able to dive into the different acupuncture points of the dog. We discussed a total of 83 different points on the dog, starting in the head region and moving through different regions of the body including the thoracic limb, pelvic limb, trunk, and tail. Many of these points were similar to those learned about in the horse, only with
different names. Just as when we learned the points in the horse, Professor Fan discussed the precise location where the needle would be inserted, the method of insertion and type of needle, as well as the indications for these points.

Upon returning from our usual lunch at the canteen Professor Fan, and Chinese PhD student Hu, guided us in palpation to find the appropriate sites for needle insertion in a live dog. They also demonstrated proper angles and positioning for the insertion of needles as seen in the photos.

We were then given the opportunity to practice inserting the acupuncture needles in a dog. Although normally animals are not sedated when receiving acupuncture treatment, the dog we used had been sedated to minimize stress. The dog was then placed on a special table made of rope, commonly used to restrain the animal for acupuncture, seen in the picture below. Everyone had a chance to pick acupuncture points they wanted to try. Below is a student demonstrating a point known as Xishang. This point is used for arthritis as well as paralysis of the brachial nerve and radial nerve.  Professor Fan was very helpful in guiding each of us and helping us feel comfortable inserting and removing the needles.

After class we returned to the hotel to get ready for dinner, which we all knew would be a real treat! One of our Chinese students, Hu, had made reservations for us to eat the famous Chinese dish, Peking Duck. It was equally as entertaining as it was delicious as we watched our duck being carved for us right before our eyes. Once dinner was over we explored the giant, never ending mall in which the restaurant was located before making the walk back to our hotel.

Thursday, June 23 2016: Julia Soeka

Today marks the last day of our course in studying Veterinary Acupuncture at the China Agricultural University.  In the morning, we continued our discussion on treating specific diseases of Equines as well as Canines with acupuncture. For example, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that to treat horses with rheumatism of the loin and hip, as well as lumbar paralysis, you should use the acupoint Yaoqian (pg. 89). Yaoqian is bilaterally located 6cm lateral to the dorsal midline between the transverse processes of L1 and L2 vertebrae. We were also taught that for dogs, another common acupoint often used is Zhongwan, which is located on ventral midline at the midpoint between the xiphoid and the umbilicus. This acupoint is used treat anorexia, indigestion, vomiting or gastritis.

After our last lectures, we proceeded to have our Closing Ceremony. Everyone was awarded a Certificate of Completion by Dr. Liu, marking a total of 54 hours in the classroom. There was a dinner scheduled about an hour and a half after our ceremony, so in the meantime some of us decided to walk around the campus one last time and enjoy some cold, deliciously refreshing boba tea since it was a blazing hot afternoon. When dinner time arrived, we walked to another part of campus which the majority of us had never explored, and found 3-4 round tables decorated and set for us to dine. The whole staff was present, including Dr. Liu and Dr. Fan as well asThe dinner itself was amazing and perfectly-fitted for our last day. There was everything from honey lemon chicken and shrimp to roasted pork and duck to vegetarian options such as baked eggplant, noodles, and salad with a tasty balsamic vinegarette.

It was hard to believe that two weeks had just about past. China was definitely a challenging, but more importantly worth-while experience. The history and culture is truly astounding and to gain a brief introduction to the world of Acupuncture from the source is priceless.