Monday, June 4, 2007

The Special Chinese Medicine Training Session at the 2002 World Medical Students Annual Assembly

A friend of mine is a smart and talented medical student in Taiwan. Interestingly, he is also a writer wannabe—he likes to write down the thoughts and experiences he has had as a medical student. One article from his daily journal describes how foreign medical students from different countries came to Taiwan and joined a traditional Chinese medicine training session that they organized several years ago. Here I share this interesting story with our blog friends~

Before the official start of this year’s assembly, two students from Taiwan’s leading schools in Chinese medicine conducted a training session. There were one hundred medical students—all from different backgrounds—gathered together to learn about Chinese medicine.

Talented Chinese medicine students from Taiwan’s Chang Gung University and China Medical University that have participated before in international medical conferences became the most suitable candidates for this consultative team. We were called the “Pre-General Assembly Group” in the World Medical Students Assembly. In a period of six months, the group traveled from north to central Taiwan during holiday breaks, and held numerous online and telephone conferences with a variety of experts in the field. The objective was to build a foundation from Chinese medicine’s five major categories, which are theories, diagnosis, drugs, prescription, and acupuncture.

To explain Chinese medical terminology in English is not a simple task. We must first convert abstract descriptions into understandable languages. Then we must replace them with Western medicine’s clinical terminology. For a starting medical student, it is quite an incredible challenge.

On the first night of the training session, the trainees were divided into five small groups of ten members and into the five categories of Chinese medicine. We examined the newest skills and used the program booklet to adopt the most fashionable learning methods. After much laughter and noise, we increased each other’s knowledge of Chinese medicine.

On the second day, our fatigued staff conducted review and improvement procedures. Our Chinese medicine stand gave a brief introduction on the idea of “natural flavoring” in Chinese medical theory. Each student had the opportunity to taste liquorices and matrimony vine types of non-toxic medicinal flavors. Lastly, we ran desk examinations as they do in medical schools, asking students to cite face to face names of medicines, natural flavors, etc. To our surprise, more than half of the students, who had never encountered Chinese medicine, were able to recite each terminology with great ease. We discovered international competition is farther superior that we ordinarily thought.

In the prescription class, we allowed everyone to experience how to mix, rub and combine original materials into a single product. The class resembled a cooking lesson where everyone could personally engage in the delight of flavoring.

In the diagnostics class, we encountered many questions from foreign students about vein accuracy. Even though diagnosis analysis cannot be completely taught in one short lesson, we still discovered that our draft on vein study was too weak and need to be improved.
The acupuncture and moxibustion class was a wide success in popularity. We took several students with weighty blood vessels and compared them with various acupuncture points. Many students excitedly examined their own acupuncture points and even took closed-up pictures.

On the second night, we also conducted a fitness class. Chinese martial arts have always been interesting and mysterious for foreign students. By combining air (Qi) with body and mind, we truly showed the spirit of Chinese medicine!

The medical students who participated the training session this year—big-eyed beauties from the Eastern Europe, dashing eye-browed men from Spain and Muslim friends from South Asia and Arab countries—were able to receive three nights of experiencing Chinese medicine first hand. Perhaps in the future, they might integrate Chinese medical theories into their own practices and even enter the profession themselves!

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