A Trip to the Chinese Medicinal Doctor

A Trip to the Chinese Medicinal Doctor

It’s bound to happen– over the course of the year you spend abroad, you will either get hurt or sick. A trip to the doctor overseas is different enough, but how about a traditional Chinese medicinal doctor?

AcupunctureChinese medicinal doctors are very different from the normal doctor’s office. They offer a multitude of services and you don’t start by telling them what’s wrong with you. By collecting different signs from different parts of your body, they tell you what is wrong.

Are you feeling down? Tired? No appetite or slow digestion? Did you sprain your ankle or dislocate your shoulder? They will let you know and give you some traditional herbal remedies to try, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments all in the same visit for a sweet 150NT.

The Problem

Something happened to me while I was abroad– I hurt my ankle while running. I didn’t want to make a trip to the doctor because it’s a pretty difficult proposal. Which doctor? What if they don’t speak English? When will I have time?

I thought it would get better on its own if I let it rest. I was wrong.

Though I was very skeptical and that the Chinese doctor could help me fix it, my school manager insisted I pay a visit. I must admit, I’m a little frightened by the proposal as well. Luckily, there was a Chinese doctor just down the road that she recommended.

The Clinic

The secretaries don’t speak English so they had to grab help for my paperwork. I was sat against the wall with the other patients seeking help, too, trying to sneak a peek of what I was in for. It’s a very small clinic and everything is very open. I can hear the doctor’s

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It’s a very small clinic and everything is very open. I can hear the doctor’s cart wheeling across the floor as he, and only he, flies from patient to patient. Finally, it’s my turn.

We go into the office and he takes my hand to feel my pulse, I presume. I tell him I hurt my ankle a couple months ago running. We talk about the origins of my name and where I’m from.

He asks, “Are you tired?” Why, yes. I am. I am often feeling fatigued and I tell him I think it might be due to some digestive issues I have experienced. He knows this too, just from my pulse. He lets me feel the part of the pulse that has to do with my lower intestine and tells me he’ll give me medicine to help. Chinese herbal medicine is very tasty and nothing to be afraid of, he reassures me.

He asks me to stick out my tongue. “Are you thirsty?” he asks. Why, yes. I am. “How much water do you drink?” Well, I try to drink quite a bit and I’m getting quite good at it. “Then why are you so thirsty?” Good point. Noted. So, at this point, I’ve come to the conclusion the doctor is magic. Then it’s off to acupuncture.


He leads me to a series of chairs right next to the waiting bench. A couple locals are sitting in the chairs with needles sticking out of different parts of their body. I’ve done acupuncture before but it was a much different setting.

This is like a drive through acupuncture station. Click To TweetHe feels the lumps and bumps on my head asking, “Does this hurt?” every so often. He explains that they use different words to describe pain in Chinese medicine; something foreigners don’t really understand.

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When he asks if there’s pain, foreigners will say, “Yes, there is pain,” or “No, there isn’t pain.” What he needs to know is if there is a multitude of feelings on the point he is touching. I try to offer as much as I can. He sticks needles in my head. My leg tingles, my ankle feels like it’s on fire. Then he tells me to go lay in a bed right next to the acupuncture station.

My Turn

He comes over to the bed after finishing up acupuncture on another patient. I am laying down with my ‘head against the wall’ which means ‘on my back’. He feels my ankle and asks where it hurts, telling me, “This will be like the chiropractor.”

He yanks my feet and hips a couple times while I switch from laying on my back to laying on my stomach. Then, something very odd happens.

I stand up and walk around– there is very little pain in my ankle! The way I walk on my foot is different now, like he put it back in place. He gave me a bandage with some sweet-smelling herbal medicine to put on my ankle which really helped the swelling and pain, too.

I collected my herbal medication to help my digestion from the desk for a solid 20NT and off I went.

A note on the herbal medication– it comes in small packets and you have to down the powder. That’s pretty common here– medicine comes in packets and sometimes it’s in powder form.

You do not have to add the powder to water, you just eat it. This is my second day taking the herbal mixture three times a day after I eat. It’s a miracle. I will probably visit my Chinese medicinal doctor weekly for a dose of magic and I highly recommend anybody try it once.

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Have you ever been to see a Chinese medicine doctor? What was your experience like? Share it with us in the comments section below.

face1 (1)Michaela left her small town in the flat cornfields of Iowa in April of 2015 to explore the world before becoming condemned to a desk in an IT corporation. She has been teaching at Hess International English school in Taipei,Taiwan and shopping, hiking, and eating her way through the foreign streets. She has traveled alone and encountered many interesting experiences and hopes to aid others traveling alone as well.

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