Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is often met with skepticism by Westerners, but a TCM museum in Maryland is helping to educate Americans about the benefits.
Michael Phelp's success in the pool at the 2016 Summer Olympics was not the only thing that caught attention. Big purple marks all over the U.S. swimmer's body, a result of a TCM technique known as cupping, also generated plenty of headlines. Cupping involves using cups to stimulate circulation and treat pains.
Cupping's debut at the Summer Olympics helped sharpen the spotlight on TCM outside China. It's the same mission at the U.S. center for Chinese medicine outside Rockville, Maryland. The 2,000-square-meter museum, said to be the first of its kind in the country, is headed by TCM professor Dr. Bo Li.
"Our exhibitions are for people from educational and research institutes, medical centers and everyday people. We let them know the history, culture and advantages of traditional Chinese medicine," says Dr. Bo Li.
"A lot of my patients who are using Western treatment have one to two large jars of painkillers every year. They had a lot of pain, and their headache comes back a lot. Acupuncture killed their headache eventually by adjusting their body environment. They don't need painkillers anymore. We hope our traditional Chinese medicine could spread to all over the world to let more people benefit from it."
Chinese medicine is based on the concept that the body is an organic whole comprised of two parts - the tangible body and the intangible spirit or Qi. And all over our body are more than 300 acupoints that correspond to all of our internal organs.