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Sportsman finds magic in traditional medicine

Updated: 2015-10-06 09:54:28

( China Daily )

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Julien Vandelli treats a sportsman from Russia suffering from neck pain at the university's affiliated hospital on Sept 22, stretching his muscles with tui na, medical massage. [Photo provided to China Daily]

French sportsman Julien Vandelli didn't foresee that he would spend five years reading the abstruse ancient Chinese medical text Huangdi Neijing in a Chinese university, where he practices acupuncture and medical massage.

However, the life-changing decision to become a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner came when the 34-year-old man saw the "magic" that TCM brought to his mother's shoulder injury.

Vandelli's mother had a badly hurt shoulder and Western medical treatments such as vitamin injections and anti-inflammatory drugs could stop the pain but not the process of degradation. When the drugs' effects went away, the pain came back and became even worse.

Luckily, his mother was introduced to an acupuncturist in Switzerland who cured the "root cause" of the pain by pricking several fine needles into the shoulder.

"As a sports practitioner, I used to get a lot of injuries. Obviously it costs a lot of money and time to go to see a doctor in the hospital. I wanted to understand myself better and learn to treat myself naturally," Vandelli said.

Vandelli's mother told him that acupuncture is good in treating sports injuries, and that triggered the sportsman's interest in coming to China to study TCM.

Vandelli is among the increasing number of foreign students who have come to study at the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine.

There are currently 2,382 international students studying at the university, from 37 countries and regions around the globe. The number of students has seen an average growth of 10 percent year over year.

About 1,700 international students are taking a five-year course with a bachelor's degree like Vandelli, and there are also a large number of international students taking shorter courses for several weeks at the university like Maria Alexandrino from Portugal.

Alexandrino, 45, has worked as a microbiology researcher for 17 years, mainly in Germany, and she began taking TCM classes during weekends and holidays five years ago, getting interested by the time-honored medical science after learning kung fu and reading Huaidi Neijing.

Having just finished the three-week practice at the Guangzhou-based university's affiliated hospital, Alexandrino will return to Germany and finish the remaining courses in Western medicine.

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