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Uzma Aishah’s Journey in Chinese Medicine

12 May 2021

I am Uzma Aishah and I am an IMU Chinese Medicine alumna. I always knew I wanted to focus on holistic medicine before I even decided to enroll for my degree. I started doing my research in Chinese Medicine and discovered that it has a strong art and history element that seemed very attractive to me. I did further my research on local universities and found that IMU has a Chinese Medicine course that is taught in English. Seeing that IMU is a reputable university, I figured this was the best choice for me to learn Chinese Medicine. Even though the course was taught in English, there were still a lot of translation that needed to be done for better learning. The acupoints, herbs, herbal formulas as well as certain terms are taught in Hanyu Pinyin. It was very daunting and challenging at first since Mandarin is not a language I was familiar with at all. I was blessed with having very kind classmates and lecturers who helped me a lot with the translation. Even as I was struggling, I kept discovering new, fascinating things about Chinese Medicine that kept me going. When acupuncture was first introduced to us, the Chinese Medicine students during my second year, I pretty much fell in love with it. It was and remains to this day my favorite component of Chinese Medicine. I was intrigued with the feeling and effect acupuncture had on people. From then on, I knew acupuncture was going to be my main focus in Chinese Medicine.

During my 3rd year I had to take a break due to some health issues. After I felt better, I decided to take a 3-week solo trip for the first time to China as IMU has always taught me to be proactive and practice a lot of independent learning. I went to Shanghai and Beijing before volunteering at a hospital in Zhangjiakou, Hebei. The acupuncture department where I volunteered at, had local interns who were very helpful and friendly.

On my off days I helped my host family to teach local children English at their tuition center. After a year off, I came back from my trip, refreshed and motivated. I was definitely not as lost as when I first started the degree and I finally managed to handle my stress better. My grades were also showing improvements.

Final Semester Practicals
During my final semester at IMU, I had to do my practical which involves treating real patients. I felt honored to observe and shadow experienced physicians at the IMU Chinese Medicine Clinic as well as Tung Shin Hospital. They were very generous with their knowledge and are always keen to help. I feel that IMU makes sure students are well equipped with real working knowledge before graduating with a lot of hands-on learning. I also appreciate their emphasis on the importance of professionalism and hygiene.

Chinese Medicine is unique in that the techniques used are customizable. At IMU, our lecturers have different styles which exposes us to a wide range of unique techniques that we can try and choose from. They are encouraging and always open to our ideas. I continue to constantly learn and experiment with different styles of treatment and acupuncture to provide the best individualised treatment for patients until today. The common pathway for IMU Chinese Medicine graduates is to continue their internship in China after graduating. However, due to financial issues, I decided to start working straight away. I did house calls for a short while before attending a short course in Beijing on cosmetic acupuncture. Not long after, I was hired as a Chinese Medicine practitioner at Sensei Acupuncture Beauty & Wellness Center. As an independent Chinese Medicine practitioner, most of my work consists of acupuncture but I also do guasha, dry and wet cupping as well as prescribe herbal medicine. So far it has been a wonderful working experience. My patients come from diverse backgrounds from kids to elderly, locals to foreigners, male and female. Not being able to converse in Mandarin has not been much of an issue for me to gain trust from my patients, as most of them are able to speak in English or Malay.

Main areas of Interest
Two main areas that I am interested in are cosmetic acupuncture and treating mood disorders. I believe that cosmetic acupuncture is more than just about looking good on the outside but also to feel good on the inside. Mental health is just as important as physical health and they are intimately connected in Chinese Medicine. People coming in with emotional imbalances such as anxiety, depression and PTSD are more common nowadays. Other than these two areas, I do get many patients with various ailments like menstrual and digestive issues, pain management, nerve disorders and dermatology among others.

Up to this day, I am still constantly learning whether through online courses and workshops, or reading international books to broaden my knowledge. I love treating people and seeing amazing results from them.

I will forever be grateful to IMU for providing me with the incredible experience and opportunity to study Chinese Medicine. It wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth it.

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