Got a lot of first hand experience today.
First, sat in on a Zhongshan Medical school’s Chinese Medicine course, taught at a nearby affiliated hospital. Witnessed acupuncture and fire cupping done on patients, and caught glimpses of the theory behind it through the few technical phrases I could understand. Actually there’s not much true theory per say—as they reiterated, Chinese Medicine is an evidence-based medicine, one that often works well (especially for common pains and ailments) but can’t be tested by the rigor of true Western science standards. I volunteered to have fire cupping demonstrated on me, and now I’ve got a really purple, slightly sore upper back.
In the afternoon, went with my advisor to see a cataract patient, and got to help administer dilating eye drops and even fiddle with the slit lamp. One thing I picked up on, it seems this patient had also been previously prescribed an eye drop for her cataracts. When I asked my advisor about why doctors would do this even when there is no effective medicine, he simply said, “It’s a great way to make money.” Another thing I witnessed was the family’s willingness to give money and gifts in such a matter-of-fact manner, and their surprise when my advisor told them the exam was free of charge.
What sincere gratitude—makes you really want to be in a position to offer that kind of service.