This is a recent article I had published in the HangzhouFeel Newspaper
Just like most people in Hangzhou we have been avidly watching the CCTV news. Its been wonderful to watch the selfless actions of the doctors, nurses and the citizens of China working together to fight this Covid-19 virus. But now the focus has moved to the rest of the World and we are seeing chaos as people fight for toilet rolls and empty the shelves in supermarkets as they panic at the news.
One of the smaller news items which also caught our eye was the increasing number of people buying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the West. So we contacted our friend Tim Vukan, who we featured a few months ago, as he is a TCM practitioner and lecturer here in Hangzhou. He is currently in Hamburg, Germany, his home city. One of the benefits of being stuck at home is we have had to learn how to use online platforms to teach so we were able to chat using Zoom.
I first asked him about how things were in Germany. He told me it (Monday 16thMarch) should have been the first day of the new school term but they have all closed down and will probably stay closed until the end of April. The main problem, he said, was because of the school holidays many people were returning from holidaying in Italy so this movement of people brings with it the risk of infection. But he was confident that the German government would cope with the situation and that there would be no food shortages and no major panic.
This lead Tim to talk about how his medical traditions of Tai Chi, Wing Chun and TCM can underlie our responses to this virus crisis. It’s important not to panic, he counsels, we should accept the situation and try not to be anxious or over worry as this is bad for our health. We need to manage our emotions, take some exercise and try to have good sleep patterns. This is good for our immune systems and keeps us strong.
He is sure that we cannot go on living like we do and maybe this new situation will give us, the World, a chance to reconsider how we live. We will have to learn to live at home, and move away from constantly consuming. This can help us become stronger and less anxious about the situations we find ourselves in, and may continue to find ourselves in, for some time to come.
I mention to him my surprise at how TCM is being bought by people in the West as they search for things to help keep themselves safe. He tells me that what they are probably buying is Qinq Fei Pai Du Tang 清肺排毒汤 which has, in some patients, seen a 90% improvement in their conditions. Tim is at pains to point out that however, TCM does not kill the virus, but aims to reduce the symptoms that the virus creates in a person’s body.
There are different stages of the illness that TCM can be effective for, the preventative stage, the early stages and the later stages. However, there is not one cover all formula. People are different so the treatments will differ as the TCM doctor may want to treat heat in the lungs, dampness or reducing toxins and so on. There will be differing diagnoses for each person.
However, Tim’s main counsel is to stay at home, as instructed, do not focus on media panics. It is possible to be calm and relaxed and still take the correct precautions. Remember, you are not the last person on the planet, and you do not have to experience social distancing on your own. Reach out to your friends, talk to your neighbours––connect to your friends and family online, start using online platforms for communicating so you do not become isolated. Focus on your emotions because being too anxious will affect your immune system. Have a good mood. Everyone can do this.
xǖ yào zhī shí fāng zhī yǒu
A friend is never known till a man has need.
Find Tim Vukan here