Overseas Travel: Chinese Medicine & Caring for the Body

I had the blessing and the privilege of teaching English in Shanghai, China for three years. I was the head of English for the French/German Shanghai School, which was an expatriate campus for the children of business people and the diplomat community.

I also had a side gig with Johnson & Johnson. All their managers were either from Taiwan or from Shanghai and their English was pretty limited. What they had learned in school was basically to read the words, but not to pronounce them, and many of them had to take trips overseas to check on the supply chain for that big company. What I learned in China about Chinese Medicine was really interesting.

If you know the history of China a little bit, you know that there are a lot of people and there have been famines and wars and pestilence for centuries. So the Chinese have developed a way of eating. If it moves, it’s food, it’s good to eat. So when you go into a Chinese restaurant, not a Chinese restaurant in the States, a Chinese restaurant in China, you’re going to see things you’ve never seen before. Snakes, I mean, I’m sorry to say this, but bats, turtles, obviously various types of fish.


It’s a little bit of a culture shock to go into that environment and to try to understand how the people live, but it’s a very important lesson to understanding people around the world. Once you leave America’s shores, you realize America is not the world. There’s a lot more out there.

I visited some Chinese medicine pharmacies, which are not like the pharmacies here. They’re just shelves and canisters and glass jars filled with herbs. If you have any of the following:

  • headache
  • neck ache
  • migraine
  • foot pain

The pharmacist will pick some of this and some of that, fold it up into a triangle parcel made out of the newspaper and provide that to you. You’re instructed to go home, boil it and drink that for three days.


That’s one way of understanding how Chinese medicine works.


In China, there is no such thing as chiropractic, but I have also been amazingly helped by a Chinese doctor. I had thrown my back out when we had a flood in our apartment. At the time, it was the middle of the night, I was cleaning up the water, and threw my back out.

I was hobbling around for days, and finally, a Chinese person, a local person, explained to me that once a week the doctor came to visit that apartment complex and he was very good. So I went to see him. He looked at me, he felt my spine, put me on my side. He did a little torso twist, just like the chiropractor does, and I got a little pop in the lower back and I was in alignment again. And the charge was $2. It was an amazing experience.

They wanted to do acupuncture on me. I didn’t feel like the hygiene was up to my standards. Didn’t see them actually cleaning the needles from one patient to the next, so I declined that. But it’s a wonderful experience to be able to travel overseas and learn about other people’s way of caring for the body.


I want to wish you a really good day. I want you to live your life on purpose, and I want you to be as healthy and as happy as you can. Stay tuned for next time.


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