Interview: Behind Olympic golds, traditional Chinese medicine plays a role

A student from China University of Petroleum experiences traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapy at the TCM cultural base in Traditional Chinese medical hospital of Huangdao District, Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, April 23, 2021. (Xinhua/Guo Xulei)

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- As Gu Ailing won a historical gold in the women's Freeski Big Air at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, a doctor of the Chinese team revealed the role that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) plays in treating China's Olympians.

Zhu Jiangwei, a physician at the Sichuan Province Orthopedic Hospital, worked for China's national freeski big air and snowboard slopestyle team between October 2021 and January this year.

Along with the team, Zhu traveled to Austria, Switzerland, the United States and other countries, providing medical care to members of the team, including Gu Ailing.

"For athletes, their bones are more likely to fracture on the snowfield," said Zhu.

During the period, Gu often came to Zhu after trainings and matches. According to her physical traits, Zhu applied the "Sichuan Zheng-style orthopaedics therapy" to her as a physical therapy, and guided her to do functional exercise.

The "Sichuan Zheng-style orthopaedics therapy" is an important school of TCM in treating bone injuries and sports injuries.

"Martial arts and sports actions are used in the treatment process to help athletes recover their physical strength quickly, and prevent and treat injuries effectively," said Zhu.

"For Gu's injuries, I used TCM methods such as acupuncture, massaging, and bone setting," said Zhu.

Zhu recalled that Gu came to him many times to consult about the traditional Chinese orthopaedic rehabilitation treatment.

During the Olympic Games, Zhu and other TCM doctors are also providing medical services to the athletes.

Since the 1950s, the Sichuan Province Orthopaedic Hospital has started the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries. Among its patients are well-known Chinese athletes including Yao Ming, Lang Ping and Guo Jingjing.

The hospital has sent 24 medics to work for seven Chinese winter sports teams since they began preparing for Beijing 2022.  

Editor: Yu Huichen