Having needles inserted into one’s skin might not sound like the best way to reduce pain, but acupuncture is revered around the world as a tried-and-tested traditional therapy that’s been producing positive results since it originated in China about 3,000 years ago.
Used to treat pain, excess stress and a variety of other conditions – from sexual dysfunction to phobias – acupuncture works by stimulating the body to rebalance itself and revive its natural healing power. It has become one of the most sought-after alternatives to Western medicine, which tends to be more invasive and often fails to get to the root of the problem.
If you’re vaguely intrigued but not sure who you can trust with needles around here, then our list of English-speaking acupuncture experts is a good place to start.
All of the following clinics come highly recommended by both seasoned expats and medical professionals in Guangzhou, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re in great hands.
Jon Hanlon at the United Family Guangzhou Clinic
A highly trained and experienced acupuncturist and prior TCM columnist for That’s PRD, Jon Hanlon is a great resource for expats who are interested in – but also somewhat intimated by – acupuncture and TCM in general. He’s here to calm your needle-induced nerves and leave you with a deeper understanding of Chinese medicine.
Of course, you might be wondering: why see a foreign trained acupuncturist when there are so many local practitioners here in Guangzhou?
To start, you will be communicating with a native English speaker, which means your concerns will be fully understood and you’ll have the opportunity to question your diagnosis and treatment plan at any time. Consultations are not rushed, and sessions follow a standard Western-style bedside manner.
Plus, while Hanlon’s techniques are grounded in the knowledge framework of Chinese medicine, they’ve been slightly modified to make them more appropriate for foreigners (the needles he uses, for example, are thinner than those used by most local practitioners). It’s still Chinese medicine, but practiced with foreign patients in mind.
Now in his 10th year of clinical practice, Hanlon is currently working at United Family Guangzhou Clinic, where he recently started as a full-time Chinese medical practitioner. To make an appointment, call 400 891 9191.
Hours: Mon 9am-7pm, Tue 10am-8pm, Wed 1pm-8pm, Thu 10am-8pm, Fri 1pm-7pm.
Cost: RMB700 per treatment (unless covered by insurance).
Dr. Sherily Xiao's Clinic
A licensed TCM and acupuncture practitioner for nearly 20 years, Dr. Sherily Xiao specializes in providing a variety of healing services for expats at her private clinic in Yuexiu District. She completed her master’s degree at the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, one of the four oldest TCM higher education institutes in China.
Dr. Xiao says acupuncture is often used to help treat spine, muscle, joint, liver, skin and infertility problems, among others, and that a typical session lasts 40 minutes to one hour.
“Most of our clients have never done acupuncture before, so we’re used to helping them feel comfortable during their first visit,” explains Dr. Xiao.
She recommends making an appointment 1-2 days in advance. The first consult is free.
Hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm by appointment; weekend hours limited and by appointment only.
Cost: first consultation is free; one session without insurance is RMB400, with insurance is RMB1,000 (to be reimbursed by your insurance company later).
Suiantang TCM Clinic
Founded in 1818 by a doctor named Wen Sui’an, the Suiantang TCM Clinic is committed to providing natural treatments to both local and international customers.
Over the past 200 years, the clinic family of seven generations has passed down the knowledge of TCM diagnosis methods as well as therapies like tui na (acu-point massage), acupuncture, cupping, gua sha (scraping), food therapy, Chinese herbal medicine and more.
But what can you expect on your first visit?
“Every foreigner will be briefed on TCM consultation and treatments on their first visit,” says Leo Li, the sales and marketing director at the clinic. “They will then be given a TCM consolation and following that, there will be a treatment plan containing disease, diagnosis and treatment items and costs. The customer can decide whether to start the treatment that day or at another time that is suitable.”
Acupuncture session times vary by treatment plan, but always follow a massage.
Suiantang TCM Clinic has more than 40 certified doctors and therapists, five of whom speak English and one who is proficient in Japanese.
Hours: Mon-Sun 9am-8pm.
Cost: varies by ailment. The consultation fee is RMB200, acupuncture is RMB280/20 minutes and a conventional massage is RMB280/45 minutes. Other treatments such as the tui na, an intensive massage, are more expensive.
Linwards TCM and Acupuncture Workshops
Read this far but still feeling a little wary about making an appointment? Come learn more about acupuncture first at one of Linwards' ongoing workshops on traditional Chinese medicine. Understand how qi (energy) flows through the body and how it relates to physical balance.
At the class, you’ll have a chance to learn about the history of TCM and common therapies as well as receive an individual diagnosis and treatment from onsite professionals (well, only if you want to). There’s no better way to explore the fascinating practice of traditional Chinese medicine!
Hours: workshops are held about every three months; the next is scheduled for Saturday, May 27 from 9am-noon at the Suiantang TCM Clinic (Zhujiang Xincheng location).
Cost: RMB300 for entry, includes all written material.
Follow 'Linwards' (official WeChat) to reserve a spot and learn about upcoming workshops.
[Cover image via rd.com]