Go on a traditional medicine tour
Updated: 2014-11-22 09:45
By Yang Feiyue(China Daily)
A doctor feels the pulse on a foreign patient visiting Shanghai Hongkang Hospital. TCM travel tours have been developed across China to cater to tourists' needs for healthcare. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Travel packages highlight TCM treatment across China.
The Chinese have explored health and longevity since ancient times, giving rise to a well-developed health- care, or traditional Chinese medicine, system.
With a history of more than 2,000 years, TCM covers herbal medicine, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, deep-breathing exercises and dietary therapy.
Now, TCM travel tours have been developed across China to cater to tourist's healthcare needs. Some travel agencies have even rolled out custom-made TCM trips for customers.
"We have optional choices for tourists, and so far the TCM massages and health checks are among the most popular," says Shen Chen, manager of the high-end custom service department at China Comfort Travel Group Co.
Some tourists have also offered positive feedback on the TCM diets provided along the trips, which aim to restore the balance in the human body, according to Shen.
China has diverse TCM resources. Heilongjiang province has attracted many Russian tourists for its TCM services, while Jilin and Liaoning provinces have welcomed travelers from Japan, South Korea and Eastern Europe, who come for the medical care and to buy ginseng, says Huang Jianyin, deputy secretary-general of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies.
The Inner Mongolia autonomous region is actively engaged in local TCM service-trade projects, and Hainan's Sanya has drawn a large number of tourists with its sun and sea and fresh air - and TCM, according to Huang.
Metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing have carried out TCM education, training and cultural exchanges to boost TCM travels.
But popularizing TCM travel among foreign tourists will likely remain a long-term effort.
Most foreign tourists are likely to choose TCM travel routes only if they have extra time in their schedules, after visiting famous sightseeing spots such as the Forbidden City, says Duan Yili from China Comfort Travel.
"Those from TCM research institutes or doctors who are interested in TCM may make special trips to check out TCM in China," he says.
The lack of interest in TCM among foreigners may be because they understand little of it, according to Zhang Yi, a senior manager at the China CYTS Tours Holding Co.
Still, the rich TCM resources have prompted government and travel agencies to launch specially designed routes that mix traditional Chinese medical therapy with conventional sightseeing.