Michelle Wesley, University of Illinois, China, June 10, 2013

Today was the first day that class was held in the Large Animal Clinic.  We began the morning session with a tour around the Veterinary Teaching Hospital led by Professor Liu.  The hospital sees over two hundred cases per day and is the largest animal hospital in Beijing.  First, we were shown the Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine wing.  It was a small area of the hospital, which contains one exam room with an acupuncture area.  As we walked through, we saw a patient receiving a consult from one of the clinicians.  The rest of the hospital looked extremely similar to ours, with much of the same diagnostic equipment.  Professor Liu informed us that everything within the hospital was purchased with funds that students and faculty have earned.  This seemed to create a great pride in the hospital, and everything was well kept.

After the tour, Professor Liu introduced the class to our new professor, Professor Fan.  On the agenda for the morning, Dr. Fan would introduce basic acupoints of the horse that were used to treat diseases of the joints and muscles.  He told us that TCVM students were usually taught all points of the face, then all points of the trunk and finally all points of the limbs.  Since our time was short, he felt a better method would be to divide up the points based on what condition was being treated.

Before we began with the acupoints, Professor Fan explained the importance of choosing proper needles and how to insure a needle was fit for use.  He passed around needles used for all forms of acupuncture (dry, fire, hemo, etc) and explained when it was appropriate to use or retire a needle.  He told us to feel for rust, make sure the needle wasn’t bent or misshapen and to check for other flaws.  After we all were confident that we could choose a proper needle, we moved on the acupoints used to treat muscle disease.  Professor Fan explained that there were three diseases of muscles: paralysis, rheumatism and sprain, and that these points could be used to cure these diseases.  Forty points in total were introduced using both the meridian as well as the Traditional Chinese Name.  Dr. Fan took the time to translate most of the Chinese names to English, to better help us learn them.  After we would cover a section of points in the book, we were allowed to practice palpating each point on the donkey.  Professor Fan patiently guided every student through each section, and repeated the names several times, making it easier to remember where each point was located.

Graduate student Hu displaying a clock he made showing the twelve standard meridians

After we returned from lunch, Professor Fan used the same method to teach us the acupoints of the joints.  He stressed the importance of surrounding the joint, however it was extremely vital never to enter the joint space.  He explained the three diseases of the joints were: acute inflammation, rheumatism and excessive fluid.  Using the same technique that he did for teaching the muscle diseases, we quickly learned and palpated the joint acupoints.  We were then allowed to independently study the points using the cadavers and the donkey.  Dr. Fan and all of the host students were available to help small groups review to ensure we were learning the correct positions of the points.