I really like this guy PIERS Gibbons: he would eat or drink anything that would evoke a placebo effect. Just watch him:
CHINA- Rapture Barba (back problems), scares Jake Ray (no smell sense) with one of Miss Chow's many snakes.
The first thing that struck me when we got into our tiny apartment in Hong Kong was that I had totally under packed. I had no warm jacket and this place was really cold (it took me ten days to think about buying an extra blanket). We had one "touristy" outing to the highest point in Hong Kong, and it was a tough job for all three of us having a relaxed chat whilst shivering in the howling wind. But we soon got into the rhythm of trying some out as many of the amazing range of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments as we could fit in. It meant getting to grips with a whole new way of looking at health and food and medicine. We needed to learn about meridians, qi (pronounced "chee"), cupping and scraping. And we needed to get used to quite high levels of pain! Although I tried most of the remedies myself I decided not to drink a cup of herbal medicine that just smelled wrong to me. My colleague vomited his up later, so maybe I made the right decision. But anyway Iím pretty healthy and what we really wanted to find out was whether these treatments worked on our two intrepid volunteers - Jake and Rapture. They both endured some cupping - this involves having a glass vessel placed on your skin. Except before that happens the practitioner creates a vacuum (using a flame) and so when it is placed on the skin there is a sudden and dramatic sucking up of flesh into the glass. Jake said it felt like being bitten gently by several dogs. And it really hurts when the dogs are eventually pulled off. There was even more pain later with Dr. Fung and his hitting stick, extreme scraping therapy and most of all an excruciating bone setting session. I was extremely grateful for the hardiness of Jake and Rapture. No encounter with Traditional Chinese Medicine would be complete without some extensive needle action. Jake had acupuncture needles placed on precise points in his body to try and help him get back his sense of smell. After a lifetime of jabs Jake now hates needles with a passion, so this was a long afternoon. But we had some interesting results and I really enjoyed testing Jake's sense of smell with various extracts, pickles, soy sauce and red wine. The red wine helped keep me warm, too. Needles were also involved in a bit of a miracle cure later. I won't give away the secret of exactly where the needles were inserted but Rapture got some amazing pain relief. Jason the cameraman decided he'd give it a go for a persistent shoulder problem (those High Definition TV cameras feel like there's a small car sitting on your shoulder) and he too reported an extraordinary result. Now I am definitely aware that "The Plural Of Anecdote is NOT Data" but this was an impressive afternoon in an amazing fortnight. I can't wait to find out if the results last and are reproducible elsewhere in the world.
Facts: Snake Blood Remedy
From the Witch Doctor Will See You Now: China
Photo by: Bullseye Productions Ltd. and Carolyn Payne
Hong Kong is home to one of the oldest forms of medicine – Traditional Chinese Medicine.
60% of people in Hong Kong use some form of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Hong Kong has the second highest life expectancy in the world – 82, which is 4 years longer than the US.
Chinese herbal medicine is based on what is considered to be the oldest book on oriental herbal medicine, The Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic, a 2000 year old medicinal Chinese book.
Unlike Western medicine, Chinese medicine believes that the body and mind are inseparable, and a life-force called Qi flows through the body. When it can’t flow freely, the body is prone to illness.
Acupuncture, one of the most well known Chinese medicine techniques, has been proven to elicit the release of morphine like substances, which can ultimately lead to pain relief.
Chinese Herbal Remedies can contain literally thousands of different ingredients from tree bark to toxic venom. Chinese medicine believes toxic toad venom can even help with cancer.
Willow Bark is an ancient herb used in China for thousands of years to treat pain, headache and inflammatory conditions. The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin. In the 1800s, salicin was actually used to develop aspirin.
Chinese Wormwood herb was the source for the discovery of artemisinin, which is now used worldwide to treat malaria.
Some Chinese herbal remedies have been known to have western synthetic drugs added to them so that the patient has an immediate reaction and feels that the remedy is having an effect on them. Things like steroids, paracetamol, caffeine, anti inflammatory agents, anticonvulsants and diazepam (a tranquilizer).
Snakes are an important medicinal animal in Chinese medicine. Their meat, as well as blood and bile, are sold for medicinal purposes and for its supposed aphrodisiac quality.
Chinese Medicine has a reputation for using endangered animals, including tigers, bears and sea horses. Hong Kong has strict regulations in place to try and stop the trade in endangered species.
Tongue acupuncture was actually invented by Dr Sun Jie Guang, featured in the show. It is based on one of the most ancient medical books in China, Wang Di Internal Medicine, and the idea that the tongue is the intersection of all 14 meridians in the human body.
Wet cupping (cupping with bloodletting) has been proven effective in Western medicinal trials, at elevating back and knee pain.
In China, acupuncture is sometimes used in surgery instead of an anesthetic. In 2007, Shanhai Renji Hospital, in China completed the nation’s first successful heart by-pass surgery via acupuncture and only a small amount of intravenous medication as an anesthetic.
Mark Lambrecht undergoing gauze treatment.
Piers Gibbon says:
I don't think I will ever feel that I know India. Every time I visit, it feels like a whole new country.
The purpose of this visit was really clear. With my two volunteers from the USA (Charles and Mark), I wanted to find out if some ancient remedies and practices could begin to help them with their various medical issues.
One thing that became really obvious was that you can not judge an entire medical system on the basis of a quick couple of weeks. Especially a system of medicine that is more about lifestyle and attitude rather than quick fix medicines. But nevertheless we did get some really interesting results - both positive and negative.
There were several highlights for me personally. I loved how healthy I felt after just a few days at the yogic cleansing centre. I was amazed that I could be satisfied with such tiny healthy vegetarian meals. I have to confess that I had several tins of tuna hidden in my backpack (my excuse is that these form part of my emergency kit, along with water purification tablets) but after a few days my hunger seemed to disappear.
Yogi Gi was our host and guru at the yogic cleansing centre. His catchphrase was "Problem Solved" and he had boundless confidence that his regimen could solve pretty much ANY problem. But it is tough going. We had to get up at dawn and troop along to the cleansing area. The first thing that happens (and remember this is on an empty stomach) is a squirt of ghee up your nose. Ghee is a key ingredient of Indian cooking - which I love - but ghee does not feel good up the nose. However ghee is an essential lubricant when you are about to do nasal cleansing using water and then a rubber tube. The tube is poked up your nose, it finds its way to the back of your throat and then Yogi Gi grabs it and you are left to floss your own head holding an end in each hand. Very disturbing.
Other highlights included watching leeches sucking away at Mark's eczema and an extraordinary scene outside a mosque in New Delhi where people queued for hours to have blood letting. This is a therapy that has totally gone out of fashion in the West but is still popular in India. They bind your legs up and then, when the veins are popping up, the practitioner flicks a little razor blade and the blood starts oozing out. There is no medical evidence in the Western sense that blood letting can help, but it felt curiously cleansing watching my own "bad" blood being washed away in the hot Indian sun.
Fabulous guy, very open-minded!
Well I will try the nose-clearing indian method! Also the ORMUS; www.ormus.ro