The Importance of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Shanghai
The city of Shanghai, once known as the “Paris of the Orient” continues to prove itself as a world centre in medicine and complementary healing. With the opening of the Shanghai port in the mid-1800s, traditional practitioners of Chinese Medicine migrated there from across the country. With the historical influx of Europeans to the port, you find a city where East and West combine in the world’s most precious wellbeing solutions.
Once upon a time, the secrets of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were closely guarded by doctors. It seems that Shanghai’s medical ‘renaissance’ was a big factor in ending that secrecy and bringing them out into the open, to be shared and innovated upon. The city became a big attraction for health practitioners with an open mind, who wanted to contribute to the bright future of the world of medicine.
One of the early proponents of opening up TCM was Ding Ganren. A master of medicine from Jiangsu Province, he set up China’s first ever TCM school, and is known as the first to break with the centuries’ old tradition of keeping TCM within a strict lineage. As the first teacher of Western medicine in China, his contribution was truly legendary. Thanks to his efforts, over 40 TCM schools were established during the 1920s, and are still responsible for educating 80% of TCM doctors in China today.
The famous acupuncturist Lu Shouyan (1909-1969) came to Shanghai at a similar time to Ding Ganren. He set up an acupuncture clinic there in 1927, and quickly began to publicise it, writing numerous newspaper articles and lecturing on the subject. He is held to be the person who revived acupuncture for the modern world, as critics at the time had ignored the practice and even considered it a form of witchcraft!
In early-modern Shanghai you find a city where medical practitioners could share openly with each other and develop strategies to further the effectiveness of their practices, as well as the health of their patients. The open intellectual climate has served both China and the West well, and gives us wellness practices that will carry us through to a healthy future.