China – James Cryer

Beijing CHI Institute Acupuncture Course and Cultural Tour

James Cryer examining a dogIn May of 2017, 2 classmates and I journeyed to Beijing, China, to attend a course offered on veterinary acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. This course was not part of the curriculum at the  Texas A&M University VMBS, but instead was a pursuit that was taken up of our own volition and prerogative during an intersemester break. We each procured our own funding for the trip, and were each approved to receive a travel stipend offered by the International Program Advisory Committee. The excursion consisted of a four-day theoretical and practical course in veterinary acupuncture, preceded by an optional four-day guided tour of different cultural sites around the city.

The tour group included approximately 20 participants – a mixture of veterinary students, veterinary practitioners, and their loved ones. The day that we arrived, all students met in the evening to eat and check into the hotel, however, the three of us from TAMU did not arrive until after the rest of the students ate. As a result, we were taken separately to a restaurant where several dishes were ordered for us. Our host left us there with some very diverse and unusual food, and wait staff that spoke no english. We were exhausted, but hungry, so we ate a lot of what was provided. We then returned to the hotel to retire.

James Cryer examining a dogDuring the tour, we visited the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven on the first day, the Great Wall and the Lama Temple on the second day, and the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square on the third. We also went to several prominent and iconic markets as well. It was fantastic finding ourselves in the shadows of these iconic locales and monuments that we’ve only seen in tour guides or on documentaries. The scale of these attractions were staggering, both in size and the energy that must have gone into their construction.

On a fourth day, we were given reign to explore the city freely. The class split into several groups, each of which built their own itinerary. Our group went to a couple of markets, met with a Beijing veterinary student for lunch, then took a tour of BeiHai park.

After the free day, we all transferred to a different hotel, where the course was to be held. There we were able to meet up with the balance of our class, who had all arrived that day. The following day, we began lectures. The first day consisted primarily of conceptual lecture, accompanied by a short exercise wherein each student was challenged to find a number of acupoints on themselves. Proper needling techniques were taught and practiced, then we broke for the day.

James Cryer studyingThe second day consisted entirely of practical exercise. The class was split into groups of 5 students, and each group was paired with an instructor and a live dog. The day was spent palpating landmarks, identifying meridians, and learning acupoints on the dogs.

The third day was split into morning lectures, covering more conceptual topics, and an afternoon practical session. During the practical session, more points were discusses, as well as usage of techniques such as aquapuncture and electroacupuncture.

The fourth day of class was only morning lectures, and focused on practical integration and instruction on how to begin using traditional Chinese medicine in contemporary practices. The afternoon was given to us as an opportunity to again explore our surroundings. Our group chose to visit a local market, then explore the Olympic Park before returning for a farewell dinner in the evening.