Mar 11, 2014



Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Malta

With its 20 year anniversary next month, Malta's centre for traditional Chinese medicine is enjoying increasing popularity, as an alternative medicine in Europe.

The Mediterranean Regional Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Paola treats up to 10,000 Maltese patients per year using the ancient treatment techniques of acupuncture, massage, and sometimes physical therapy, the clinic's director Wang Xiaolan told Xinhua.

The natural treatments, part of a holistic, functional approach to medical therapy, are effective on more than 50 types of complaints relating to aches and pains, internal organ disorders, like hyperthyroidism, skin problems and also weight gain, according to the clinic fact sheet.

The Maltese know the clinic by word of mouth, Wang said, because it's been here for 20 years.

They know our centre, they know TCM. The results are important -- as long as the patients have good results, they will keep coming here. Now we are getting more and more patients, she explained.

It was marvelous. They're amazing, said John Felix, a 78-year-old patient suffering aches and pains, testifying to the success of the treatments.

Long popular in East Asia, the strictly therapeutic TCM treatments, which unlike painkillers, have no side effects, are increasingly in demand in the West recently, as an alternative to pill popping.

In Malta's neighbor Italy, some one in seven of the population of some 58 million have recently used some form of natural, alternative medicine, according to a European research network, CAMbrella.

Another Maltese patient, Josianne, 37, said she's been coming for 10 years.

Someone told my husband and we started to buy this product. It really works, she said.

Internationally, China has sent a total of 23,000 medical team workers to 66 countries and regions since 1963, as part of overseas medical aid missions, according to statistics. So far, 11 medical teams have visited Malta over the years.

Two of the TCM doctors work outside of the Centre, running outpatient services at two state-run hospitals, one on Malta and the other on its sister island, Gozo. When it opened in 2008, the TCM clinic at Malta's Mater Dei hospital was the first of its kind at a European public hospital.

Many patients come with one of the problems for which the natural therapies are most effective, referred to the clinic by their regular doctors.

Some of the patients visiting the Malta Centre come only as a last resort, after conventional treatments have failed to cure their problems, the director said.

The director encourages more people to give it a try.

I hope more (patients) can learn about us and if they have slipped disc, neck problems or arthritis (we can help) because acupuncture and massage is effective for this, Wang said.


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