TCM goes viral at the Chengdu Universiade

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Recently, the TCM culture demonstration and experiencing areas at the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games Main Media Center (MMC) and the FISU Games Village have become a popular destination for athletes from across the world as well as the officials of delegations.

Taijiquan and Baduanjin performance at the demonstration area of the MMC. [Photo by Lun Xiaoxuan] 

Learning Taijiquan (Tai Chi boxing) and Baduanjin (eight-section of brocade), getting to know more about traditional Chinese drugs and acupoints, trying pulse-taking, showing deep interest in TCM rehabilitation skills represented by tui-na (massaging)… Here, international youth have been attracted by TCM.

International friends find deep interest in TCM

At the TCM culture demonstration area at the Main Media Center, TCM culture demonstration boards are in place, and Sichuan local traditional raw medicines and an acupuncture bronze figure are also on display.

"The acupuncture bronze figure attracts people most," said Deng Hongyuan, a staff member who comes from Chengdu Integrated TCM & Western Medicine Hospital. "Among athletes, delegation officials and reporters, the most frequently asked question is whether it hurts when receiving acupuncture treatment. We tell them that different acupoints are located on different parts of your body, so the feelings will also vary. Even for the same acupoint, different manipulation methods will cause different feelings. To put in a nutshell, there could be feelings of soreness, numbness and swelling."

According to Deng, Sichuan's local raw herbal medicines on display also attract a lot of attention. "Sichuan has always been the hometown of TCM and a database for Chinese raw herbal medicines. We displayed many of Sichuan's local herbs medicines."

Performers at the MMC demonstration area perform Chinese traditional health-preserving methods like Taijiquan and Baduanjin, offering an experience for athletes, reporters and delegation staff.

At the TCM experiencing zone of the FISU Games village, pulse-taking and tui-na (massaging) services are also provided. 

After the TCM experts feel the athletes' pulses, they will give suggestions based on the pulse-taking results and their body features, including diet adjustment, exercises and health-preserving and emotion adjustment so that they could be in the best form when they compete. People can also learn to make Chinese herbal medicine sachets, which helps them know more about the history and culture of TCM.

The TCM experiencing and sports rehabilitation zones at the FISU Games Village (the Games Village) have also been popular. Tui-na massage and cupping are favored by many athletes, because these treatments make them relaxed.

"Cupping is amazing! It totally relaxed the muscles on my back," Dasun, a high-jumper from Sri Lanka said after receiving TCM treatments like cupping and tui-na massage at the polyclinic of the Games Village.

Dasun said, before coming to Chengdu, he only knew about TCM acupuncture. It is a surprise that there are so many other TCM treatment methods. "Someone from my delegation tried cupping and highly recommended it. I hope it can help me ease the nervousness before the game, so that I can perform well in the following high jump competitions."

An athlete receiving the pulse-taking by a TCM doctor. [Photo provided to]

It is reported that chief physician Lu Huaimin, also the head of sports rehabilitation department of the Affiliated Sport Hospital of CDSU, is in charge of the medical work carried out by the rehabilitation department of Games Village's polyclinic. Dr. Lu said that, since the official opening of the Universiade, more and more athletes are coming here for treatment. At first, they came because of some chronic problems, but recently more are coming here seeking treatment for acute problems.

"Athletes usually suffer from chronic muscle strains, or chronic ligament inflammation; cupping, acupuncture and tui-na are proven to be fairly effective in treating these problems," Lu said. Through the combination of TCM and western medicine, the pain could be eased, which could help athletes get back to their game in a shorter time.

In the polyclinic, Zhao Tianyu, a doctor from the rehabilitation department of the Hospital of Chengdu University of TCM (TCM Hospital of Sichuan Province) is in charge of sports protection treatments. She had a lot of pleasant experiences these days: After she provided guidance for a Philippine athlete's protection gear use, the athlete sent her a Philippine pin to express gratitude. After she gave tui-na treatment to an athlete from Sri Lanka and got to know the latter is a student of sports science, Dr. Zhao shared her expertise with the athlete given her sports medicine background. She also applied kinesio taping therapy on a female athlete from Botswana, who said she never tried it in her country and was really pleasant afterwards.

These days, the unique skills of Sichuan's TCM practitioners are growing more and more popular on the youthful platform of the Universiade, which builds a bridge for the communication and mutual learning among cultures of China and other countries.

Empowering sporting events

Before the Universiade kicked off, TCM experts from Sichuan had already had an academic meeting with officials, experts and medical staff from various delegations. 

On the morning of Jul. 26, a TCM and western medicine communication meeting on sports medicine was held at the Games Village, hosted by the medical department of the Executive Committee of Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games and organized by the Affiliated Sport Hospital of CDSU. TCM experts exchanged ideas with 60 or so representatives from over 10 countries regarding common sports injury treatment and rehabilitation technologies. The meeting has deepened the communication between TCM and their international counterparts, acting as a platform for the academic communication of sports medicine, which is a catalyst for integrating the valuable experience of TCM diagnoses and treatment methods with modern sports medicine.

The TCM and western medicine communication meeting on sports medicine was held at the Games Village. [Photo provided to]

To fulfill its responsibility of securing medical care for large sporting events, the Affiliated Sport Hospital of CDSU has not only provided medical care service for the event at different stages and in various venues, but also shouldered the management work of the zone. "The Universiade is the first comprehensive international sporting event Chengdu ever hosted. It means that there are multiple events going on at the same time, which makes comprehensive protection and security more important. Meanwhile, the polyclinic is not only open to athletes, but also staff from various countries and volunteers, so everything involving sports medicine and sports rehabilitation could be used," Lu Huaimin said.

"Before the medical team came to the Games Village, they received training about different religions and cultures," Lu said, "People from different parts of the world may have different religions and cultures. Besides the medical service, we hope we can show China's philosophy of 'everyone under heaven belongs to the same family,' and help people worldwide understand each other more." It is Lu's hope to make their work more considerate, satisfying athletes from all over the world.

Attendees taking a group photo after the sports medicine communication meeting. [Photo provided to]

In the meantime, the medical team has also integrated TCM methods into international standard treatments. They provided treatments including sports massage, physiotherapy, tui-na, acupuncture, cupping and guasha therapy, and adopted Zheng's Traumatology acupoints and Zheng's tui-na manipulation into day-to-day treatments. "In the treatments of Zheng's Traumatology, its traditional gongfa skills have proven effective in preventing diseases. It is also a type of premium traditional Chinese culture welcomed by international young people. The medical team will incorporate TCM's pattern identification into treatments, and help athletes recover to a normal level, then to a level for competitive sports stage by stage. Bringing Zheng's Traumatology methods into the Universiade enables student-athletes from all the world to learn about the features and charm of it, which also acts as an invitation for international staff to try TCM," said Wang Qiang, vice president of the Affiliated Sport Hospital of CDSU. 

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