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German student embraces traditional medicine

By Zheng Wanyin in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-01 08:06
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Joel Mikael Walker from Germany practices Chinese kung fu. CHINA DAILY

Locals who frequent a traditional Chinese medicine hospital in Zhengzhou, in Central China's Henan province, are often surprised when they are treated by a German practitioner specializing in acupuncture.

Joel Mikael Walker, who hails from Dresden in eastern Germany, went to Henan province in 2015, when he was 20, because it is widely considered to be an important center for medical practice, education, and research for traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM.

The province boasts numerous renowned TCM hospitals, practitioners, and schools, as well as fertile land and a favorable climate for the production of herbs used in TCM.

Following a year of intensive Chinese language study, he enrolled in the Henan University of Chinese Medicine, one of the earliest of its kind in China, and after an eight-year study journey, Walker, as a master's student nearing graduation, has developed into a proficient practitioner.

"He excels in techniques such as pulse diagnosis, acupuncture, and cupping therapy. He is fully capable of practicing independently," Yu Dongdong, Walker's mentor and an associate professor at the university, was cited in media reports.

Having fully adopted the lifestyle in Henan, Walker has not just involved himself in TCM but has also delved into the culture of the region, which has made him an online sensation on Chinese social media platforms.

Walker, who is also known by his Chinese and screen name Wuming, is now an influencer with more than 1 million followers. He speaks fluent Henan dialect in front of the camera and is dedicated to promoting TCM and popularizing local customs and practices.

"Without seeing his face, you wouldn't be able to tell that he's a foreigner speaking," read a comment on his video.

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