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Futie Patch


Updated: 2014-07-22

Sanfu - the hottest days of the year - is the only time to get a futie patch, which consists of medicinal herbs that are applied to specific acupuncture points to treat colds. Ashley Chen and Lin Qi report

Futie Patch
Medicinal herbs are applied to acupoints to treat diseases of chronic nature that occur in winter. Yang Enuo / For China Daily

As people around the country wilt in the heat, hospitals and clinics of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are seeing some of their busiest days of the year.In every hospital the front lobby is filled to capacity with people of all ages waiting for the treatment of futie ?a patch consisting of medicinal herbs that are applied to specific acupoints.

"This patch is used to treat diseases of a chronic and cold nature, often occurring or being worse in the winter," says Dr Wang Guangtao with Beijing Massage Hospital's sub-health treatment center.

Most of Wang's patients are those with respiratory diseases, like asthma, or those with weak constitutions who frequently have colds in winter, or those with chronic pain, such as arthritis.

The patch only works if one gets it during sanfu - the three periods of the hottest days of the year, usually in July and August, Wang stresses.

First noted in Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi Neijing), the most important ancient book of Chinese medicine, this special practice has been used for ages. The use of the patch is based on restoring the balance of yin and yang in the body, which is vital for optimal health, according to Wang.

"In summer, we need to nourish the yang, while in winter nourish yin - one of the principals of TCM," Wang says.

The patch with warm and pungent herbs is used to disperse colds and transform phlegm, warm the lungs, boost the kidneys, and secure the flow of qi (energy), Wang explains.

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