Traditional Chinese medicine bridges Argentina, China

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is becoming increasingly popular and serving as a bridge between East and West in a city in Argentina.

Located in Godoy Cruz, a city in Argentina’s southwest Mendoza province, the Higher Technical Institute of Chinese Medicine under the Latin American School of Traditional Chinese Medicine is training medical professionals in such techniques as acupuncture and Tuina, a type of therapeutic massage.

Luis Glielmi, director of the institute, said the school differs from its equivalents in Argentina and other Latin American countries, because “we may provide certificates with a direct approval of the Ministry of Health, while others only have an approval of the educational authorities.”

The institute founded in 2004 has already enrolled some 130 students, a fair number in the small province with a population of under 1.5 million.

Maria Josefina Daract, headmaster of the institute, said tailwinds favor the development of TCM in the country.

“The senior acupuncture technician has been officially granted as a profession by the Mendoza General Directorate of Schools. And the provincial health department also decided to certify students in the field,” said Daract.

Mendoza is still the only province in Argentina which recognizes the study of acupuncture as “working in the public health system,” said Daract.

Considering a growing number of students recognize the benefits of TCM and choose the profession, the situation may change, said Irene Mora, secretary of the institute.

The institute reached agreements with China’s Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. The school in Beijing has established ties with at least 108 universities and research centers in more than 30 countries and regions around the world, helping to strengthen global recognition of TCM.

Glielmi, a physician and acupuncturist who has graduated from the Latin American School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is also a professor of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and Qigong, a practice to cultivate and balance the body’s vital flow of energy.

“We proposed a biostatistical study to show the efficacy and effectiveness of acupuncture in (treating) the most common conditions, such as injuries, lower back pain and neck pain, and cases of anxiety, depression, neurosis or anguish,” Glielmi said.

Treatments were carried out in hospitals in cities in Mendoza since 2008, and the agreements are expected to be renewed in the near future.

The institute has work agreements with medical services and acupuncture treatment clinics at medical assistance centers, which regularly provide free TCM treatment to many people and at the same time provide real-life experience for students.

Teachers and students at the institute travel each year to Guangzhou and Beijing for hands-on training.

“We have direct training and almost all of us have traveled to China to study … In that way, we have a foot planted firmly in the West and a foot planted firmly in China,” said Glielmi.