Feature: Traditional Chinese medicine in vogue in modern Istanbul
"These spots lining up along the spine of the human body, correlating to several vital organs, such as the lung, heart, liver, and kidney, are very important," Yagang Luo told his patient during a Chinese massage session in his clinic in Istanbul.
"I should act as a traffic police and open the congestion in these points," he continued, adding that "otherwise, you may get sick in the upcoming period."
After graduating from China's Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, Luo, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) specialist, came to Turkey eight years ago and opened a clinic on the Asian side of the Turkey's biggest city.
Since then, he has been healing his patients with acupuncture, a Chinese method using tiny needles to stimulate the nerves under the skin, as well as herbal medicine, and Chinese massage.
"When I first came here, I found that most patients here consider surgery for their pains," he told Xinhua in his clinic. "However, in China, we solve most cases with massage and acupuncture before the patient gets sick."
If Turks learn more about the culture and the philosophy behind TCM, they would be more comfortable in preferring these methods to cure their diseases, Luo said.
The most common complaints of his Turkish patients are obesity, smoking addiction, and especially migraine-type headaches and hernia pains.
To enlighten Turkish people and answer all their questions about TCM, Luo has been translating the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon), an ancient Chinese medical book, from Chinese to Turkish. The classic book contains rich knowledge about TCM, including its philosophy, diagnosis, therapy, and prevention of diseases.
There are also some natural herbs with healing power that Luo is using in his treatments. He has begun to grow some of these on his terrace, bringing the seeds from China, such as Codonopsis and Udihindi.
In Luo's view, in the upcoming post-pandemic era, numerous congresses and workshops will be held between China and Turkey, and this field will be even more known among Turks.
Ceyhun Dundar, a Turkish specialist, said the TCM became known after 2015 when Turkish authorities allowed Turkish specialists to perform these practices in their clinics. He has been dealing with the complementary medicine in Istanbul for six years.
"The experience of Chinese doctors is extremely precious to us as their expertise dates back 5,000 years. In addition, their views on the philosophy of TCMs are priceless," Dundar told Xinhua while placing acupuncture needles on the head of a patient who has been suffering from migraines, in his clinic on the European side of the city.
He said the concepts of yin and yang, the vital life energy, are very atypical for Turkish people in terms of having something invisible and intangible in the body.
In ancient Chinese philosophy, "yin and yang" explains dualism, expressing how opposite forces may be complementary and interconnected and widely used in every sphere of life, Dundar said.
"In that sense, working and cooperating with Chinese doctors is Turkish specialists' one of the most important advantages," he said, noting that he is looking forward to going to China and learn more about TCM in the post-pandemic era.