Twenty years of traditional Chinese medicine in Malta

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With its 20 year anniversary next month, Malta's centre for traditional Chinese medicine is enjoying increasing popularity, as an alternative medicine in Europe.

The Mediterranean Regional Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Paola treats up to 10,000 Maltese patients per year using the ancient treatment techniques of acupuncture, massage, and sometimes physical therapy, the clinic's director Wang Xiaolan told Xinhua.

The natural treatments, part of a holistic, functional approach to medical therapy, are effective on more than 50 types of complaints relating to aches and pains, internal organ disorders, like hyperthyroidism, skin problems and also weight gain, according to the clinic fact sheet.

The Maltese know the clinic by word of mouth, Wang said, because it's been here for 20 years.

"They know our centre, they know TCM. The results are important -- as long as the patients have good results, they will keep coming here. Now we are getting more and more patients," she explained.

"It was marvelous. They're amazing," said John Felix, a 78-year-old patient suffering aches and pains, testifying to the success of the treatments.

Long popular in East Asia, the strictly therapeutic TCM treatments, which unlike painkillers, have no side effects, are increasingly in demand in the West recently, as an alternative to pill popping.

In Malta's neighbor Italy, some one in seven of the population of some 58 million have recently used some form of natural, alternative medicine, according to a European research network, CAMbrella.

Another Maltese patient, Josianne, 37, said she's been coming for 10 years.

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