Taiwanese physician Dr. Shun-chang Ian Chang demonstrate acupuncture on a volunteer in Kingstown. (IWN photo)

A Taiwanese doctor specialising in Chinese medicine, who will be offering his services free in St. Vincent until early June, has explained the benefits of acupuncture. (See schedule of visits to district clinics at end of post)

Dr. Shun-chang Ian Chang, from the Changhua Christian Hospital, is among a team of Taiwanese medical professional visiting St. Vincent, the fifth such team since 2010 when the Taiwan healthcare institution was twinned with the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

(Read: Taiwanese doctors offer Chinese medicine services in St. Vincent)

In a presentation dubbed “Get the Point: Acupuncture in Healthcare” in Kingstown last week, Chang explained why Vincentians should take advantage of the opportunity to receive acupuncture and other Chinese medicine treatments.

He explained that acupuncture is the stimulation of specific acupoints along the skin, involving various methods such as the application of heat, pressure, or laser or penetration of thin needles.

(See photos of Dr. Chang’s presentation)

“The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow — ‘qi’– through the body that are essential for health,” Chang said.

He said that qi is somewhat like air, in that it cannot be seen, but added that disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease.

Like air, qi cannot be seen, but is important for life, Dr. Chang said. (IWN photo)
Like air, qi cannot be seen, but is important for life, Dr. Chang said. (IWN photo)

Minister of Health Clayton Burgin, Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, Luis de Shong, and National Security Advisor Sir Vincent Beache were among persons who received acupuncture therapy after Chang’s presentation.

Chang explained the concept of meridian vessel, saying that it is the main pathways of qi.

The meridian vessel, he said, traverses the whole body, penetrating and influencing all major glands, the nervous system and the internal organs, making the body an organic whole.

In demonstrating how acupuncture works, Chang said an acupuncture needle can be compared to a television antennae, where the signal become clearer depending on how close it is placed to the applicable acupoint.

Dr. Chang said acupuncture can be compared to a reception of a television antennae.
Dr. Chang said acupuncture can be compared to a reception of a television antennae.

Clinical indication of acupuncture

The Taiwanese doctor said acupuncture is useful in pain management, neurologic disorder, and the treatment of stroke, sciatica, neuropathy, and gastrointestinal dysfunction.

Neuropathy: disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.

Sciatica: pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disk.

Acupuncture also has cosmetic uses, such as reducing the depth of smile folds, and can be helpful in weight loss.

Treatment can also involved the use of herbal paste for allergies.

He explained that while the effects of treatment depends on the situation, theoretically, acupuncture can treat any disease.

“But the treatment effect depends on different situations — if your qi flow is good,” he said.

Advantages of acupuncture

He said acupuncture has a wide range of advantages, including immediate effect, especially for pain relief.

It is safe, has fewer adverse effects than western medicine, and is less costly, Chang said.

Minister of Health Clayton Burgin, centre, Security Advisor to the Government Sir Vincent Beache, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Luis de Shong receive acupuncture therapy at the event in Kingstown last week. (IWN photo)
Minister of Health Clayton Burgin, centre, Security Advisor to the Government Sir Vincent Beache, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Luis de Shong receive acupuncture therapy at the event in Kingstown last week. (IWN photo)

Schedule of visits to clinics:  

Kingstown:

Wednesday, May 28, 8 a.m.: Chinese Medicine (MCMH Outpatient Clinic)

8.a.m: Chest Internal Medicine (Asthma Clinic Kingstown)

Wednesday, June 4, 7:30 a.m.: Chinese Medicine (MCMH Outpatient Clinic)

Georgetown:

Thursday, May 22, 9 a.m.: — Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine, Obstetric & Gynaecology

Thursday, May 29, 9 a.m.: Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine, Obstetric & Gynaecology

Thursday, June 5, 9 a.m.: Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine, Obstetric & Gynaecology

Stubbs Poly Clinic: Monday May 26, 9a.m.: Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine, Obstetric & Gynaecology

Monday, June 2, 9 a.m.: Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine, Obstetric & Gynaecology

Richland Park:

Tuesday May 27, 8 a.m. — Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine

Tuesday, June 3, 8 a.m. — Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine

Mesopotamia:

Tuesday May 27, 9 a.m. — Obstetric & Gynaecology

Tuesday, June 3, 9 a.m. — Obstetric & Gynaecology

Calliaqua Clinic:

Wednesday May 27, 8 a.m. — Obstetric & Gynaecology

Wednesday, June 4, a a.m. — Obstetric & Gynaecology

Barrouallie Health Centre:

Friday, May 30, 9 a.m. — Chinese Medicine, Chest Internal Medicine, Obstetric & Gynaecology