Guest Blog: Excerpt from “Touring China…” by Alisa Wrinkle, L.Ac.

A few days ago, I received The Mayway Mailer, Winter 2010 issue, and read the featured article “Touring China: A Visit to Anguo and Mayway’s Manufacturing Partners” by Alisa Wrinkle, L.Ac. I found the article very interesting and informative and received Alisa’s permission to post an excerpt from it. Thank you, Alisa.

(from her Bio at the end of the article) Alisa practices “in Oakland, CA and has been a consultant for Mayway Corp. for 12 years. She has contributed to a wide range of projects such as writing and serving as the editor-in-chief for the Practitioner’s Formula Guide, the research and development of new products, consulting and teaching.”

The complete article (2 full pages) is available at

The article starts out saying in Oct., 2009, 5 Mayway staff members went to China to participate in the 80th anniversary celebration of Mayway’s herb manufacturing partner, visited an herb processing facility and 2 manufacturing partners.

The excerpt follows:

TCM in China

“We visited several hospitals as well as an outpatient TCM clinic. Not only did I marvel at the skill level of the practitioners we met, I was also intrigued by the down-to-earth manner at which they did their work. There was no mysterious, alternative ambiance and no privacy either, just very real people doing the work of medicine with other very regular people.

“On a hospital tour, we saw folks in gowns walking with IVs much as you would in any hospital in the west. On the other side of the building was the TCM wing where local folks and farmers laid with needles in their bodies, two or three to a room. The director of the small hospital we were visiting said “acupuncture is the perfect method for the farmers here, for only 1 RMB (15 cents) they can get a treatment and relief from their pain.” It took a while for the deeper significance of this to sink in.

“In this country of 1.3 billion about 1 billion list their occupation as farmer. Here in this small-town hospital, this was as much the standard of care and as acceptable as any “regular” medicine modality. In the center of the building lobby in between these two wings were the pharmacies facing the front doors. The drug pharmacy and the herb pharmacy sat side by side behind glass occupying equal space. The herbal pharmacy there in the small city of Anguo, dispenses about 1,000 herbal prescriptions per day.

TCM at Home

I marveled at the juxtaposition of the acceptance and widespread use of acupuncture and herbal medicine I saw in China with my environment in the US. Here in the U.S. acupuncture is mostly cut off from western medicine, is often not available to the widespread general population, and certainly not  the poorest economic class.

“Both the public as well as the professional medical community here commonly considers herbs, especially those from China, as dangerous or taboo. After seeing, feeling and tasting what I did on this short trip I felt sorrow about the fractured nature of TCM in the US today. Comparing it to what I saw in China I felt our system was a broken one, containing only pieces of a whole that are not strung together.  Amidst this regret, I also had cause for celebration at seeing TCM in its natural environment and wholeness. There have been times when I have wondered about the impact of what we do here in the US on the medicine as a whole and what the long-term effects might be. 

“Seeing TCM in China I saw a system in its totality and thriving. I felt a sense of relief knowing that despite any missteps or mistakes we may make in the growing process here there is a much greater entity nurturing this path.”

“As a herbal consultant at Mayway, I spend a good deal of time addressing the fears and suspicion that we face from the medical, media and general community about the work that we do. This trip renewed my commitment to the value of bringing real Chinese medicine into America and bolstered my belief that it holds a noteworthy and rightful place here…”

Author: davidv

Have been practicing community acup. since early 2008. Solo acupuncturist. No employee. Previous employments in Home Audio retail sales and Insurance claims.

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  1. My friends from China told

    My friends from China told me that Chinese medicine hospitals have only exited for about 50 years. That traditionally people were treated in their own communities by local practitioners.

    They also told me that unlike the older Chinese generations, the younger generations don’t believe in Chinese medicine. Moreover, due to China’s new economy and the dismantling of China’s universal health care system, many people can’t afford to miss work for multiple treatments per week anymore, and that practitioners are beginning to adopt higher treatment prices as a result.

  2. thanks david and alisa

    i read the article in the mailer too and was just thinking about how it would be nice to post parts of it on CAN – you must have read my mind!


  3. ha ha!

    larry, you freak. you have no idea how much i needed that today – it was my first day back to work at aimc after the holiday break. -tatyana

  4. 15centsUS (1 RMB) for acupuncture

    I asked Alisa in an e-ml what other services/products one can buy in China for ~15UScents. Her reply: ”
    in Anguo a bottle of water cost 1 R&B, a very basic meal maybe about 3-5
    R&B.” That’s way cheaper than the minimum in CA practices here.

    Also”the full article is in the news and
    events section under newsletters” in and one needs to log in to see it.

  5. LOL

    David you crack me up.  Thanks so much for posting these excerpts, I hadn’t read their latest mailer.  Great quotes; I especially like the “ordinariness.” 

    Tatyana, hang in there woman!

  6. Yay!

    I also was happy to read Alisa’s article in the mailer. I like what she said, so true from her experience and feelings of TCM thriving as it should. Thank you Alisa, too.

    Crazy I am but this is true, but when I took the State Boards I was thrilled to have case after case to plow through and now my dream is being realized and I thought I would have to go to China to get that same amazement of what passes as being in the moment I guess when working in the CA clinic.

    disclaimer: davidv and I sat next to each other one year in acup school and I shared my herb book with him. Now that is community. davidv also greatly inspired me to take CA seriously as I was a pathetic boutique acupuncturist on unemployment.