(Hello Africa) Chinese acupuncture works wonders for Zimbabweans

Updated: June 11, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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A patient receives acupuncture treatment at the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center under Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe on Feb. 29, 2024. (Photo by Tafara Mugwara/Xinhua)

At an acupuncture clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, Charity Karekwaivanane remained calm as acupuncture needles pierced her body.

HARARE, June 8 (Xinhua) -- At an acupuncture clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, Charity Karekwaivanane remained calm as acupuncture needles pierced her body.

"It's a mystery that I got healed by those needles. I did not know what they would do to my body. I don't have any pain anymore. I am okay," the 69-year-old grandmother who had suffered from back pain for more than a decade told Xinhua after receiving the treatment.

The acupuncturist, Richard Mutingwende, a Zimbabwean licensed acupuncturist, opened the clinic after witnessing first-hand the wonders of ancient Chinese medical treatment.

With acupuncture, Mutingwende has a tool to fulfill his passion for relieving others from pain.

"Chinese treatment works wonders, it's like magic," Mutingwende told Xinhua. "It gives instant results, especially to conditions that don't have solutions when it comes to other systems of medicine. So you find many people come here as a last resort after trying quite several medical systems."


Richard Mutingwende, an acupuncturist, treats a patient at his clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Tafara Mugwara/Xinhua)

Mutingwende is among a group of 10 medical professionals who graduated from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture personnel training course by Chinese doctors in Zimbabwe in 2022.

The training program, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, was held at the Zimbabwe-China TCM and Acupuncture Center at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals (PGH) in Harare. It comprised theory and practice and included components of TCM such as acupuncture and moxibustion as well as diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

In November 2023, Mutingwende started his private practice to provide alternative medication at a lower cost.

Word of mouth has spread fast about the wonders of acupuncture, and he now treats about 20 patients each day at the clinic located in the Harare south suburb of Stoneridge. He hopes to increase the number to 50.

Mutingwende said people with conditions such as arthritis, sciatic nerve pain, back pain, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and even infertility and digestive disorders have received treatment. "I started this center so that many people get healed at a very low cost considering the high cost of drugs," he said.

Acupuncture is a component of TCM, a medical system with a history of over thousands of years that has been used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses.

TCM also employs techniques such as moxibustion, and cupping, and uses herbal products and mind-body practices.

"The biggest advantage of acupuncture is that it makes the body heal itself. So it means there are no side effects as compared to other systems of medicines because it's just a matter of stimulating the natural healing process in the body, then the body will heal itself," said Mutingwende.

For many patients, such as 32-year-old Vimbainashe Siziba, who was diagnosed with arthritis, acupuncture is proving to be the last resort.

"Before receiving the acupuncture for arthritis treatment, I was struggling to walk, but now I can walk nicely, I can wear different types of shoes, even heels, so I can confidently say that acupuncture has helped me to treat arthritis," said Siziba.

Gearly Madziva, 68, said she struggled with mobility for over a decade after developing a heart condition. She could not walk when she came for her first acupuncture session.

"When people saw me coming back home walking unaided, they were surprised. Even my husband was shocked to see me walking. He immediately decided to come and get treatment himself," said Madziva.

While TCM treatment is still new in Zimbabwe, people are slowly embracing it, said Mutingwende.

"There were certain misconceptions when it comes to acupuncture but many people are now testifying that this is one of the greatest medicines," he added.

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia