New tours, old cures

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Innovative excursions allow visitors to Beijing to mix traditional Chinese medical therapy with conventional sightseeing.

Those who visit Beijing dreaming of health and experiencing traditional Chinese healthcare culture on their trip will be delighted to learn that the city is now catering for their needs, offering the chance to practice tai chi on the Great Wall and enjoy a massage and acupuncture in tandem with visits to scenic spots.

To attract more overseas visitors, six travel agencies in Beijing recently started offering seven special itineraries in association with medical treatment establishments, cultural centers, and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) research centers.

The itineraries, which range from one to five days, combine traditional ways of maintaining health, including traditional Chinese medicine, with trips to popular tourist hot spots such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, TCM includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, tuina - a form of therapeutic massage used in TCM - qigong (a series of deep-breathing exercises) and dietary therapy.

"These special tours are designed to meet the demands of people who want diverse tours that offer greater depths of experience of the local culture and traditions. It will help boost Beijing's inbound travel industry," according to Wang Yue, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development.

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