The recently concluded 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) left attendees in awe with an array of innovations in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Among the highlights were robots capable of acupoint-massage treatments that mimic human hands and a 24/7 hotline providing bilingual TCM consultations for English speakers.
These innovations reflect the smart evolution of TCM, a cherished facet of Chinese culture, as it makes its mark in the modern world. By blending tradition with innovation, TCM is rejuvenating the global healthcare landscape.
China has significantly increased its policy support for TCM in recent years, fostering a period of high-quality growth in the field and accelerated international outreach.
Wu Zhendou, head of the international cooperation department of the National Administration of TCM, emphasized the substantial results of international cooperation in TCM during the event, which took place from September 2 to 6. Wu cited cooperation agreements signed with 40 foreign governments and regional authorities, introducing TCM to 196 countries and regions worldwide.
“Initiatives to enhance international cooperation on TCM have paved the way for establishing high-caliber overseas TCM centers and cooperation hubs. From 2016 to 2020, the cumulative import and export trade volume of TCM products surpassed 28 billion U.S. dollars,” Wu noted.
One standout TCM company expanding globally is Tongrentang, a venerable TCM pharmacy with a heritage spanning over 350 years. Capitalizing on the momentum of the Belt and Road Initiative, this centuries-old pharmacy has been rapidly disseminating TCM worldwide, boasting a presence in over 28 countries, including a network of more than 160 outlets encompassing retail pharmacies, TCM clinics, wellness centers, and cultural hubs, all contributing to the global reach of TCM.
One of the most remarkable innovations showcased at CIFTIS was a precision acupoint treatment robot, demonstrating the fusion of traditional Chinese medicine heritage with cutting-edge healthcare innovation. Developed by Zhongke Shangyi Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., the robot features advanced capabilities, including mirror image processing technology, dual robotic arms, and a three-dimensional graphical visualization system.
According to company representative Wang Yawen, the robot efficiently collects real-time meridian data from the human body, transmits it to a data-processing center for analysis, and displays continuous tracking on a three-dimensional visualization system. Wang explained, “The robot has received official regulatory approval and is primarily tailored for treating chronic lower back pain.”
This innovative robot not only offers holistic treatment but also provides digitally-driven therapy for specific ailments, ensuring precision through digital technology, promoting safety, non-invasiveness, and a comfortable journey to recovery.
During the Belt and Road TCM development forum, a sub-forum of CIFTIS, officials and scholars made a noteworthy announcement, underscoring the increasing global acceptance and utilization of TCM as a healthcare option. This is backed by data from the World Health Organization, which reveals that 113 WHO member countries officially acknowledge the efficacy of acupuncture.
Furthermore, according to the National Administration of TCM, more than one-third of the world’s total population has received some form of TCM treatment, solidifying its role in global healthcare.