Role of Traditional Medicine and Acupuncture in the Prevention and Control of COVID 19 in China and the Philippines: NGO Perspectives

2 June 2020

Cooperation among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide plays an important role in the prevention and control of COVID-19. Thus, NGOs from the Philippines and China took the much needed initiative of upholding this very important role as the world continues to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippine Association for Chinese Studies (PACS) in cooperation with the Amity Foundation, KAISA Para Sa Kaunlaran, the Philippine Acupuncture Academy Inc. and the Philippines-China Friendship Association successfully co-organized the NGO webinar on 29 May 2020 on “The role of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture in COVID 19 Prevention and Recovery”.

The event attracted nearly 200 participants from 121 organizations in 15 countries that included Japan, Australia, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and the USA. Most participants were professionals in health care, research and social development work. More than half of the participants were practitioners of acupuncture.

In his opening remarks, PACS president Dr. Rommel Banlaoi said the conference was timely and relevant, not only in raising  awareness of the efficacy and wealth of knowledge in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, but also in maintaining and strengthening personal and professional linkages among peoples amidst lockdowns and quarantines. In such difficult times, distance should not be a barrier, and countries should come together to face common challenges. The event will not only help strengthen medical exchanges between China and the Philippines, but also strengthen people-to-people exchanges between land and maritime neighbors in the Silk Road region.

The two keynote speakers were Dr. Shen Jia, Deputy Director of the Health Management Center of the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Dr. Liu Lanying, Director of Acupuncture Rehabilitation Department of Jiangsu Provincial Hospital. Ms. She Hongyu, an Associate General Secretary of Amity, an NGO with headquarters in Nanjing, was the conference moderator.

In his well-illustrated lecture, Dr. Shen Jia, author of several TCM books, combined TCM theory and case studies to explain the practical role of Chinese medicine and herbs during the COVID 19 outbreak in China as well as the efforts carried out in the post-lockdown period related to the resumption of work.  

Focusing on acupuncture, Dr. Liu Lanying, explained the different stages undergone by COVID19 patients including the period of medical observation, clinical treatment, recovery and home isolation. Sharing the research and case studies of the medical team sent to Hubei by the Jiangsu Provincial Hospital, she introduced in detail the corresponding acupuncture points, techniques and alternative therapies in responding to the various symptoms of pneumonia caused by COVID 19.

The lectures were enthusiastically received by practitioners and helped raise the knowledge and interest of non-practitioners. In response to questions from participants, the two experts offered advice on how to adapt TCM and acupuncture practice to the local climate and environment.

In her concluding remarks, Amity’s General Secretary, Ms. Ling Chunxiang recalled the long-standing cooperation between Amity and a number of non-profit organizations in the Philippines over the past 30 years. More recently, there has been solidarity and mutual donations of PPES in the time of need from both sides. Amity received donations of masks from KAISA and the Philippine Liok Kui Fraternity in March and in May, donated protective gowns and masks to the Philippines through KAISA. Ms. Ling stressed the importance of removing national and ethnic barriers and the need for mutual cooperation in overcoming the current pandemic. Amity will continue to work with people around the world to confront global challenges in the spirit of agape and the understanding that we all constitute a community with a shared destiny.

After the meeting, there was enthusiastic feedback from participants.

Mr. Alberto from the Pastoral Bible Society, excitedly described how Chinese medicine and acupuncture had greatly alleviated his own pains and aches. He was impressed by the breadth of information provided and the extensive network that was represented in this meeting. He was eager to share the lecture contents with his TCM practitioner friends.

From the Philippines Claretian Communication Foundation, Mr. Lhai said that he had many friends who had undergone acupuncture treatment to cure a variety of health problems. He learned from this meeting that TCM and acupuncture can provide preventive and rehabilitation treatment for those infected by COVID19 and feels this is very beneficial.

Read Chinese version of this article here. Also read more here.

Photo Credit: Based on the Report by the Amity Foundation

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