TCM tourism attracts Rus­sians to Hainan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By MA ZHIPING in Sanya, Hainan mazhip­ing@chi­

Nina Kudryavceva of St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia, has stayed in Sanya for one or two months ev­ery year for the past decade, trav­el­ing around as well as hav­ing a rou­tine med­i­cal checkup and treat­ment at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

“Tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine works won­ders, and we feel much bet­ter af­ter each treat­ment. We also en­joy the lo­cal life and cul­ture very much,’’ said Kudryavceva, now on va­ca­tion with her hus­band, Alexey Kudryavcev, in the trop­i­cal Hainan prov­ince.

Kudryavceva, 68, and Kudryavcev, 72, look en­er­getic and much younger than their ages, for which they at­tribute partly to the TCM health­care func­tions.

Saren, direc­tor of the acupunc­ture de­part­ment at the Sanya TCM Hos­pi­tal, is known as “China Mom” to about 20 Rus­sian chil­dren who were vic­tims of the Rus­sia Bes­lan School hostage cri­sis in 2004 and re­cov­ered af­ter TCM treat­ments in Sanya in 2006 and 2008.

“Many of the kids, so im­pressed by their ex­pe­ri­ence in Sanya, said they would like to learn TCM skills and cul­ture when they grow up,” said Saren, a doc­tor from the Mon­go­lian eth­nic group and a grad­u­ate of Bei­jing TCM Univer­sity.

With more than 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, she is one of the few Chi­nese doc­tors in Sanya who have im­pressed top lead­ers of other coun­tries with their ef­fec­tive TCM treat­ments.

While in­dulging in the sun­shine, golden beaches and the trop­i­cal fea­tures of Sanya, on the south­ern tip of Hainan is­land, more over­seas tourists

are vis­it­ing with a spe­cial pur­pose — the ben­e­fits of TCM.

Med­i­cal tourism, which ac­cord­ing to one US re­search re­port is ex­pected to bring in $678 bil­lion this year world­wide, is gain­ing new mo­men­tum in Hainan, once a key stop on the an­cient Mar­itime Silk Road and now a bur­geon­ing in­ter­na­tional tourism des­ti­na­tion thanks to pol­icy sup­port from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to Wu Ming, deputy direc­tor of the Hainan Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and head of the pro­vin­cial TCM ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He said the State des­ig­nated Hainan as a pioneer­ing re­gion for TCM ser­vice trade in­no­va­tion in 2014 and pro­jected this year to turn the is­land into a na­tional TCM ser­vice trade and health­care tourism demon­stra­tion zone.

“Lead­ing med­i­cal bod­ies such as Sanya TCM Hos­pi­tal have ac­tu­ally pi­o­neered the devel­op­ment of TCM health­care tourism by tak­ing ad­van­tage of the lo­cal nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and tourist re­sources, start­ing in 2002,” Wu said.

He said the hos­pi­tal pro­vided tai­lor-made TCM ser­vices to Kazakh Pres­i­dent Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev, Ta­jik Pres­i­dent Emo­mali Rah­mon, Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev, Kyr­gyz Prime Min­is­ter Zhan­toro Saty­baldiyev and dig­ni­taries and am­bas­sadors from 18 coun­tries.

The hos­pi­tal has been awarded a num­ber of diplo­matic hon­ors, such as from the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment for its con­tri­bu­tion to China-Rus­sia friend­ship through its treat­ment of the hostage cri­sis vic­tims.

Around 50,000 for­eign­ers — mostly from Rus­sian-speak­ing coun­tries and north­ern Eu­rope and some from Canada, the United States, Tur­key and Iran — have re­ceived high-end tai­lored TCM ther­a­pies that eased or cured their ill­nesses, while trav­el­ing in Sanya since the health­care tourism ef­fort be­gan in 2002, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the hos­pi­tal.

“Among peo­ple liv­ing in a frigid cli­mate, there is a high in­ci­dence of nerve dis­eases such as cere­bral palsy, res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem prob­lems like asthma, mo­tion sys­tem prob­lems such as hip-joint and knee- joint prob­lems, for which TCM ther­a­pies have good cu­ra­tive ef­fects,” said Wang Tian­song, pres­i­dent of the hos­pi­tal, which co­op­er­ates with five Rus­sian med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions and com­pa­nies in ad­di­tion to a num­ber up­com­ing ties with med­i­cal cen­ters in Rus­sia, Swe­den and Malaysia.

“The nat­u­ral cli­mate ad­van­tages that are essen­tial to good health, the ef­fec­tive­ness and low cost of TCM re­sources that make TCM strongly com­pet­i­tive and the nat­u­ral means of treat­ment that are grad­u­ally fa­vored by more and more Western tourists prom­ise bright prospects for med­i­cal tourism in Hainan.”

Sanya hos­pi­tals are be­com­ing hot spots for vis­its by those from both do­mes­tic and over­seas med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions and agen­cies seek­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and op­por­tu­ni­ties of co­op­er­a­tion.

Roshal Leonid Mikhailovich, pres­i­dent of the Rus­sian Na­tional Med­i­cal Com­mis­sion, spoke highly of Sanya’s med­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and its in­te­gra­tion with Western medicine dur­ing a re­cent trip to in­spect med­i­cal projects for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and treat­ment of chil­dren with cere­bral palsy in Sanya. He said the Rus­sian com­mis­sion had signed a frame­work on med­i­cal and health­care co­op­er­a­tion with pro­vin­cial health au­thor­i­ties, adding that he hoped to im­port Chi­nese medicine tech­nol­ogy to Rus­sia.

An­other team of Rus­sian ex­perts, headed by C. Rosoff, an aca­demi­cian with the Rus­sian Acad­emy of Med­i­cal Sci­ences and direc­tor of the Far East Res­pi­ra­tory Dis­eases Re­search Cen­ter, found broad prospects for co­op­er­a­tion with Sanya in the pre­ven­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases and the man­age­ment of chronic dis­eases.

“I would like to come to Sanya to con­duct clin­i­cal, re­search and ed­u­ca­tion work,” he said, af­ter a re­cent visit ob­serv­ing the devel­op­ment of Sanya hos­pi­tals, the Phoenix Is­land cruise econ­omy and is­land va­ca­tion cen­ters.

“A num­ber of other over­seas agen­cies and com­pa­nies also have shown in­ter­est in con­duct­ing co­op­er­a­tion of TCM ser­vice trade with our hos­pi­tal, which is serv­ing as a Sanya model for TCM health­care tourism,” said Wang of the Sanya hos­pi­tal, which has a team of 198 vet­eran doc­tors.

Wang said his hos­pi­tal will set up re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and health­care cen­ters to make full use of the pre­cau­tion and health­care func­tions of TCM to cope with health is­sues that af­fect peo­ple, such as in­som­nia, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and lum­bar and cer­vi­cal ver­te­bra prob­lems.

“More med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions, es­pe­cially pub­lic hos­pi­tals, will ac­tively en­gage in pro­mot­ing the TCM ser­vice trade, af­ter the des­ig­na­tion of more demon­stra­tion bases” to pro­mote TCM and tourism by the pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties ear­lier this year,” said Wu, head of the pro­vin­cial TCM ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Gov­ern­ment man­age­ment and su­per­vi­sion of the TCM ser­vices also is be­ing im­proved in the prov­ince.

“Hainan soon will re­lease a set of reg­u­la­tions to help stan­dard­ize and guide the in­no­va­tive, healthy and sus­tain­able growth of the TCM ser­vice trade and health­care tourism in Hainan, cul­ti­vate more lo­cal brands and projects and pro­mote in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of TCM by en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal med­i­cal bod­ies to open over­seas TCM ser­vices on a co­op­er­a­tion ba­sis,” Wu said.

He said five pro­vin­cial level work­rooms will be open in Hainan to help at­tract fa­mous doc­tors from around the coun­try who could as­sist in at­tract­ing TCM tal­ent and en­sure qual­ity ser­vices to over­seas tourists and pro­mote the over­seas TCM ser­vices trade.

“Hainan, which has de­vel­oped ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies for grow­ing south­ern herbal medicine, will also con­duct more co­op­er­a­tion on grow­ing, re­search and devel­op­ment of south­ern Chi­nese medicine with south­east­ern Asian coun­tries un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and help build in­ter­na­tional teams to en­sure sus­tain­able uti­liza­tion of south­ern medicine over­seas,” he said.

“While learn­ing from coun­tries with good med­i­cal tourism ex­pe­ri­ence such as Ja­pan, Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore and South Korea, Hainan will put em­pha­size on de­vel­op­ing light med­i­cal tourism prod­ucts that high­light Hainan’s nat­u­ral re­sources, such as hot spring spas, TCM mas­sag­ing, for­est hik­ing and golf­ing,” said Sun Ying, direc­tor of the Hainan Tourism Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion.

“Co­op­er­a­tion with the World Med­i­cal Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion, the World So­ci­ety of Anti-Ag­ing Medicine and the China Health Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion will be strength­ened to in­tro­duce in­ter­na­tional ser­vice brands.”


A Rus­sian pa­tient re­ceives tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine ther­apy at a hos­pi­tal in Sanya, Hainan prov­ince, in Fe­bru­ary.

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