By Hesham El Abd
How does a woman from China’s Guizhou province end up helping and healing Egyptians with Chinese medicine?
My parents are both western doctors back in China, but I have always felt called to traditional Chinese medicine. I studied traditional Chinese medicine at Yun Nan University and earned a Master’s degree. I did my residency and also worked at the Chinese Quiyang National Orthopedic Hospital.
I am continually looking to expand my knowledge. Always being fascinated by the medical traditions of the ancient Egyptians, I came to Cairo to learn more. Cairo is my home now. I instantly fell in love with the city, the people, and the culture.
Tell us a little about Chinese medicine. What kind of ailments do you treat?
Chinese medicine uses techniques such as acupuncture, the best known, which involves inserting very thin needles through the patient’s skin at strategic points. It has primarily been used to treat pain, but a broader understanding is growing of how acupuncture can stimulate the human body’s own self-healing mechanism, so it can be used to treat overall wellness.
People tend to think of traditional medicine as “alternative” medicine, something to turn to when all else fails and pain persists. I would like to see traditional medicine work more hand-in-hand with Western medicine which depends too heavily on drugs that often come with side effects.
How many sessions does a typical patient need?
Most patients need 3-6 sessions to either fully heal if it’s something simple, or to jump-start the body’s own healing mechanisms. Many of my patients in Egypt have chronic conditions that have either been long neglected or for which Western medicine has not been effective.
So they come to me very skeptical. Chinese medicine isn’t magic, it’s science, and some chronic conditions will require more sessions because it will take more time for their bodies to heal.
I use a combination of acupuncture, sometimes with electrical stimulation, and therapeutic/deep tissue massage, among other techniques. At the end of a normal session, most patients feel at least some partial relief.
What kind of ailments do people typically come to you for?
I see a lot of older people, who have led a sedentary lifestyle and have developed back, leg and neck pain. When they are helped by acupuncture and trust more in the ability of Chinese medicine to heal, they will often ask for help with other issues, for example, stomach problems classified as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
I have begun to see people looking for help dealing with the long-term effects of Covid, ‘long-Covid’ as it’s called. The list is growing all the time, as everyone from expectant mothers who experience morning sickness and back pains, to dental patients are discovering how acupuncture can help them.
I have even had requests for cosmetic acupuncture, which celebrities are now referring to as the “new Botox” — and the rejuvenating results are amazing.
Where do you practice?
I am working at the Oasis Clinic in Sheikh Zayed and will soon have hours at the New Cairo Clinic under the supervision of various doctors there. Oasis Clinics is in the process of establishing a Center for Chinese Medicine.
You’ve been in Egypt for about a decade now. How do you see our medical care progress?
Egypt and China have enjoyed excellent relations for over 65 years, but Egypt’s culture is much older. I am impressed with Egypt’s current efforts to introduce a national health care system so that all people can access affordable health care.
It’s my hope that through efforts such as the Center for Chinese Medicine at Oasis Clinics, that traditional Chinese medicine can have a role in delivering cost-effective health care for the people of Egypt, the Western model of medicine has a very high cost that even in America they can’t afford.
Egypt actually has a history with traditional Chinese medicine. Between 1976 and 1985, a team of top doctors from Egypt went to study acupuncture in China and brought their skills back to both Cairo and Alexandria hospitals with great success. I hope I can help to rekindle that interest.
How do you balance your work with being a young mother?
It is said that if you do what you love, it’s like never having to work a day in your life. I am truly dedicated to easing the pain of my patients. Seeing them pain-free is a great happiness for me. Of course, my two sons are the joys of my life — one wants to be a doctor, and the other wants to be a chef!
A Session with Dr. Lui Ruiyu
By Hana Abdel Aziz
Acupuncture is among the best-known alternative therapies, originating in China a few hundred years back. With a session booked to see specialist Dr. Lui Ruiyu at Oasis Clinic, this patient was growing impatient, curious to experience the hype.
“Dr. Lui began by assessing my back injuries; she made me feel extremely at ease and talked me through the whole process, which reduced all concerns I originally had. Dr. Lui then began to insert fine, solid needles in the appropriate locations – these are my acupuncture points.
She continued to explain in detail the purpose and benefits of this procedure. She explained how the movements between opposite forces, i.e. Qi, is an essential element in the healing system of traditional Chinese medicine.
During the first 30 minutes, I was even more intrigued than when we started. I felt I was in another world as the areas in which the needles were placed gave me an electric shock – especially on my lower back. I’m not going to lie, it was painful.
However, she explained that this is a normal part of the process as my muscles were naturally tense. Therefore, you are supposed to feel some resistance since the adrenal activation and release signals are releasing pain, disease, and illness from the body.
Once my session was over, I immediately felt lighter in the sense that the heavy weight I felt I was carrying earlier was now lifted. I was amazed at how, after just one session, there was immediate improvement.
Generally, it takes about three sessions to make an impact, and I will gladly consider acupuncture again. Not only did it help with my back pain, it is also a proven stress-reliever.
The results were better than I expected and therefore, I highly recommend the healing hands of Dr. Lui at Oasis Clinic, and I appreciate her continuously making me feel comfortable throughout the process.”