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Uniting cultures with TCM in Australia

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-08-20 11:43

Daniel Spigelman treats a patient at his acupuncture clinic in Sydney, Australia, on June 7, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

SYDNEY-In a serene, five-story building, Daniel Spigelman is in his clinic administering traditional Chinese medicinal techniques to treat his patients in Potts Point, a suburb east of Sydney's city center.

The Sydney native is an acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who has spent years in China learning and practicing the techniques. He hopes this ancient practice will be of benefit to more and more people in Australia.

Spigelman's interest in China started with his family. His father used to visit China before the turn of the century, and his sister studied Chinese at Fudan University in Shanghai.

"I visited my sister there and that was my first time in China," said Spigelman. "It was like a whole new world opened up to me, and I was very curious as to what was going on in China, behind the scenes and the culture."

A martial arts enthusiast, he suffered several shoulder injuries that prevented him from competing at a higher level. After undergoing several rounds of treatments with little progress, he looked into traditional Chinese treatment, including acupuncture.

"That experience really opened my eyes a lot to the value of traditional Chinese culture. I really saw the benefit, and it's something I want to share in the West. Because even though it comes from a Chinese culture, I believe it can have a benefit to any culture," Spigelman said.

Real thirst

He started studying traditional Chinese medicine in Sydney and worked at the local branch of Beijing Tong Ren Tang, a prestigious traditional Chinese medicine company with a history of over 350 years. It was here that he felt "a real thirst to dive in deep". He later applied for a scholarship in China and started his journey.

Spigelman spent his first year at Shandong University studying the Chinese language. From there, he went to the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine to study acupuncture and herbal medicine, and trained alongside doctors.

He also spent one year in Wudang Mountain in Hubei province, a place famous for Taoism and martial arts, and learned acupuncture techniques and knowledge about traditional herbal medicine.

"It's very different in the city where you have a pharmacy that has everything already made up for you. There, you pick the herbs yourself. You've got to really have an appreciation of how nature and natural cycles were involved in Chinese medicine," Spigelman said.

He has also applied the idea of being in touch with nature into creating a more holistic treatment for patients, as he saw this as something that may be helpful for people living in a stressful society.

"There is a part of Chinese medicine that is culturally specific, and you do need to understand the culture to understand that," he said.


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