Daniel Spigelman treats a patient with acupuncture at his clinic in Sydney, Australia, June 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
Daniel Spigelman treats a patient at his acupuncture clinic in Sydney, Australia, June 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
SYDNEY, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Located in a serene, five-storey building in Potts Point, a suburb east of Sydney's city center, is the clinic where Daniel Spigelman treats his patients.
A native-born Sydneysider, Spigelman is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner who has spent years in China learning and practicing the treatment. Back in Australia, he hopes this ancient wisdom will be of benefit to more and more people.
Spigelman's interest in China started with his family. His father used to visit China before the turn of the century and his sister studied Chinese at Fudan University, Shanghai.
"I visited my sister there and that was my first time in China. It was like a whole new world opened up to me, and I was very curious as to what was going on in China, behind the scenes and the culture," Spigelman told Xinhua.
Being a martial arts enthusiast, he suffered repeated shoulder injuries that prevented him from competing at a higher level. After trying several treatments with little progress, he looked to traditional Chinese treatment forms, including acupuncture.
"That experience really opened my eyes to a lot of the value of traditional Chinese culture. I really saw the benefit, and it's something I want to share in the West, because even though it comes from a Chinese culture, I believe it can have a benefit to any culture," Spigelman said.
He started studying traditional Chinese medicine in Sydney and worked at the local branch of Beijing Tong Ren Tang, a prestigious pharmaceutical company in traditional Chinese medicine with a history of over 350 years. It was here that he felt "a real thirst to dive in deep". He later applied for a scholarship in China and started his journey.
Spigelman spent his first year at Shandong University, studying only the Chinese language, from where he went to the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine to study acupuncture and herbal medicine, and trained alongside doctors outside university learning.
He also spent one year in Wudang Mountain in central China's Hubei Province, a place famous for Taoism and martial arts tradition, learning acupuncture techniques and knowledge about traditional herbal medicine.
"It's very different to the city where you have a pharmacy that everything's already made up for you. There you will pick the herbs yourself. You've got to really have an appreciation of how nature and natural cycles were involved in Chinese medicine. They were some of my teachers over the years," Spigelman said.
He has also applied the idea of being in touch with nature into creating a more holistic treatment for patients as he saw this as something that may be helpful for people living in a stress-filled society.
"There is a part of Chinese medicine that is culturally specific, and you do need to understand the culture to understand that, but there is also a part I think that's universal and applies to every human on the planet ... We are all human beings having the same organs, being affected by the sun and the seasons. All these are universal."
"If you don't follow the natural cycle consistently over a number of years, that can cause health problems."
When he communicates with patients, he tries to use more of the universal side of traditional Chinese medicine, relating it to anatomy to help with patients' understanding. Sometimes, results speak louder than any explanation.
"I get a lot of patients who come in with skepticism. A lot of people in the West will say acupuncture is all in the mind, all psychosomatic, all placebo effect. But (after treatment) they have a feeling that something is actually happening in their body. It's not just all in their head. Often in the clinic, they'll explain to me 'Oh, this is this. I'm feeling this down here'. So that often happens," Spigelman said.
Besides his clinic, Spigelman has put out a podcast named the Purple Cloud Podcast for a number of years. It aims to help people learn more about Chinese medicine under a cultural context, and about what's going on in China.
He is working on translating interviews he conducted with several traditional Chinese medicine doctors during his trip in China and putting them up on his Youtube channel. He is also looking to do a Master's degree in China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) classics related to healing exercises.
"Beyond just acupuncture, I believe Chinese medical theory and the way of looking at the world has a great impact on health, because of the way it involves natural cycles, seasons, this kind of thing. So while people are coming in for acupuncture, I can teach my patients about what's going on in the season, and how to act, and how to live according to the season to have a better and healthier lifestyle," he said.