New Bedford festival celebrates traditional ways | Local | News

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Traditional Chinese medicine is playing a complementary role with western practices in treating the coronavirus, according to a Bedford specialist in acupuncture and natural medicine.

“During the unfortunate spread of coronavirus in China, we are sure that Chinese medicine will play a very important part in treating this kind of virus,” said Dr. Franklyn Chen, a Chinese-Canadian business owner and co-founder of the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“Many patients have recovered through a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine,” Chen said Saturday during the first Canadian Traditional Chinese Medicine Festival, held at his school.

The number of new confirmed infections from a coronavirus in mainland China rose Friday, Reuters reported. There were 3,399 new confirmed infections Friday, bringing the total so far to 34,546, the country’s National Health Commission said Saturday.

In mainland China, excluding the 2,050 people who recovered and the 722 who died, the total number of outstanding cases stood at 31,774.

Chen praised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for saying that there is no place in Canada for discrimination fueled by fear or misinformation.

“During these hard times, we are happy to bring a positive celebration,” he said.

Organized by the college, the Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada and the Confucius Institute at Saint Mary’s University, the event coincided with the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.

Chen said the roots of Chinese culture and medicine extend back for over 5,000 years, with a central focus on prevention. That’s a tenet that’s relevant at this time of year, he said.

“This is especially important during the flu seasons, as Chinese medicine helps us to develop a strong immune system so we don’t easily get sick or, even if we get sick, we recover faster.”

This year, the Bedford college intends to bring some students on a delegation to Guangzhou, a large city northwest of Hong Kong, to take in Chinese culture and traditional medicine firsthand.

“In Chinese culture, direct knowledge and experience passed on by traditional Chinese medicine specialists is considered a rite of passage for many looking to embark on the (traditional medicine) journey,” Chen said.

“This experience will be brought back to Nova Scotia to improve the health of our communities.”

The students embarking on that journey have a range of educational backgrounds and life experiences, said Lucy Griffiths, dean of acupuncture at the college, the only teaching institute of Chinese medicine in the Atlantic provinces.

“That’s the beautiful thing about Chinese medicine,” said Griffiths during an interview.

“Increasingly, with every enrolment we have, I see a greater variety of students coming in, and now I honestly can’t say that there is a typical TCM practitioner.”

Chen initially set up an acupuncture clinic in Nova Scotia and detected demand for the practice.

“Then, about 11 years ago, we decided to establish a college to help people learn acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, and train them to become health-care providers who can meet the needs of the local community.”

About 80 students are taking the three-year program in Bedford.

One of them is Jennifer Costen of Lower Sackville, who’s on an accelerated two-year schedule. She started taking courses in September following retirement after a 10-year navy career, and she had her own positive treatment experiences with acupuncture.

“Part of my process was to find a new career,” Costen said during an interview

“This just makes sense to me in my own personal life, my own experience, so it’s very relatable once you understand it and learn about it.”


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