German Female Doctor’s 40 years of TCM Practices
As precious treasures of Chinese ancient science, ancient acupuncture-moxibustion and TCM have taken root and sprout in European countries such as Germany in past decades, which attribute to efforts of overseas Chinese doctors as well as support and contribution of local doctors for acupuncture and moxibustion of TCM development. Dr. Schwanitz who has been Vice President of German Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Neurotherapeutics Society and President of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Society over a decade is one of the representatives.
Dr. Schwanitz, dressed in white and wearing elegant, vigorously delivered lecture for over twenty young doctors at acupuncture-moxibustion training class held by German Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Neurotherapeutics Society. It’s hard to imagine she is 72 years old only from her appearance. Dr. Schwanitz has been engaged in research and teaching of acupuncture-moxibustion over four decades in Germany, whose name is connected with acupuncture-moxibustion especially in eastern area. Knowing good efficacy of acupuncture-moxibustion treatment on pain of sport injuries, Dr. Schwanitz wanted to teach herself acupuncture-moxibustion in 1970s. However, it’s not easy to find a TCM book or an acupuncture needle when eastern and western Germany was divided. “ I got seven acupuncture needles with the help of friend in western Germany and started learning acupuncture-moxibustion. Athletes who I was responsible for recovered soon on 2nd day after acupuncture treatment. We built work team step by step. Lack of TCM books in eastern Germany, we bought from western Germany and printed brochures and handed out to colleagues.” said by Dr. Schwanitz.
Dr. Schwanitz went to Beijing, Tainjin, Wuhan and Shenzhen of China continuously since 1986 for advanced study of TCM diagnosis and acupuncture-moxibustion, hoping to promote what she has learned in Germany. However, German medical career has always been conservative that a lot of Germans were suspicious of TCM in 1990 and criticism was endless. Dr. Schwanitz believed that efficacy is the only solution to criticism. She said“ We conducted the biggest clinical study GERAC on acupuncture-moxibustion efficacy ever since in Germany, whose results show that acupuncture-moxibustion is superior to western pain killer combined with physiotherapy on treatment of locomotive organ diseases. This is a break-out. Faced with research results based on fact,people admit that acupuncture-moxibustion is an valid therapy that we have been supported.”
Due to strong opposition from medical societies and pharmacies in Germany, acupuncture -moxibustion and TCM as foreign diagnosis and treatment methods were excluded from catalogue of medical insurance at first entrance, which means patient’s TCM costs were not reimbursed by medical insurance. With gradual recognition of acupuncture-moxibustion efficacy by masses and unremitting efforts and fights by President of German Acupuncture-Moxibustion Society Dr. Schwanitz and other medical research institutes in support of TCM, German social medical insurance started to pay for acupuncture-moxibustion treatment of chronic low back pain and knee pain since 2007. Dr. Schwanitz said:“ Some committees are unwilling to see application of acupuncture-moxibustion treatment of headache because they want to sell western medicine,thus it’s hard to include TCM into catalogue of medical insurance and we have struggled for years.”
Acupuncture and moxibustion become more and more popular in past years. Approximately 50 thousand doctors have been engaged in TCM and 2 million patients receive acupuncture and moxibustion treatment annually in Germany according to statistics. Business Dean of European College of TCM in Germany showed that the rapid and smooth development of acupuncture-moxibustion and TCM in Germany attributes to efforts of local doctors who love TCM like Dr. Schwanitz. She said: “Without their efforts, acupuncture-moxibustion and TCM are unable to develop so rapidly and deeply, Ziffer are unable to be reimbursed by German insurance companies. These are efforts of German Acupuncture-Moxibustion Society whose contributions cannot be ignored, therefore we should devote our sincere gratitude to them and remember them in TCM international developing history.”