Thanks to the VMBS International Programs travel stipend I was able to travel to Beijing, China from May 14th to the 27th to attend the hands-on laboratory portion of an acupuncture course put on by the Chi Institute. Prior to the course, however, there was an optional Pre-Class Tour for 4 days where a tour guide took everyone to all the major tourist attractions around Beijing for a cultural experience.
Over the four days of the tour, we saw the major attractions in Beijing such as the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Lama Temple, and Tiananmen Square. In addition, we got to see part of the culture of China when we went to a Kung-Fu show, a Traditional Tea House, the cloisonné factory, and a few of the shop streets, such as Guangzhou, the Silk Market, and the Pearl Market. Everywhere we went, our tour guide would give us a little of the history of the attraction we saw or the cultural or spiritual significance of the places we went and we got to experience how business is conducted in most Chinese shops when we tried to haggle for the best price at the shops on the shop streets.
After our planned four-day tour, we had a free day in which a few of us went around to some of the local parks and got to walk through and watch the morning Tai Chi routines or exercise classes offered in the parks. One of the ones we visited was Olympic Forest Park near the Olympic Stadium built in 2008. We got to see the stadium and the surrounding forest that was preserved when the stadium was built.
The next day, we moved to the next hotel across town where the acupuncture course was held. This was a four-day lecture and lab, which reinforced the basic information learned on the online module before the course and allowed us to practice needling techniques on ourselves and a dog. The lectures covered the Five Element Theory and Zang-Fu Physiology, which was a refresher from the online modules, and extended to different treatment strategies and how to determine where to put needles for certain disease processes. Many former students who have since become certified veterinary acupuncturists attended as guest lecturers and lab TAs and we heard many case examples of how acupuncture helped animals with IBD, IVDD, and many other diseases that Western Medicine techniques weren’t able to cure.
After attending this course, I am more convinced that acupuncture has a place in veterinary medicine. It is not the cure-all that most owners hope it to be, but I now feel more confident in its ability to help in certain situations and feel like I can have a conversation with an owner about whether or not I think we should pursue it as an option for their animal. I believe having this skill will strengthen the relationship between me and my clients and give me another way in which I can help my future patients.