Li Hong and Villa Giada: Chinese medicine in Rome

Li Hong and Villa Giada: Chinese medicine in Rome

Dr Li Hong is Vice President and Secretary General of the Chinese Medical Association of Italy.


What substantial differences did you find when you moved from China to Rome in 1993 and how did you try to integrate your knowledge in such a different environment?

Our theory of Chinese medicine , although so ancient, is well suited to the needs of health , the meaning of health and disease is the same in all peoples. In the early days it was difficult to communicate, because the knowledge of Chinese medicine is lacking here and the mentality is different.

Most Italians turn to doctors when they are sick, while prevention is equally important to us. They are used to treating the symptoms, to adopt a therapy for a diagnosed pathology, we try to identify the root cause and cure the organism as a whole .

For example, headache is a symptom to be eliminated but it is also the expression of a body language, indicates an imbalance that can depend on various causes: we analyze the symptoms and treat from the inside to eliminate the root of the disease.

What has changed in recent years in Italy in relation to Traditional Chinese Medicine?

I have found an ever-growing interest especially from below , while there is a need for official regulation.

In addition to his recognized competence as a teacher, he currently holds positions in the Chinese Medical Association of Italy. What do you spend your energy on most?

I work with the WFCMS ( World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies ) to expand communication and exchanges with our colleagues from all over the world and with Italian associations , to make our medicine known and developed.

The World Day of Traditional Chinese Medicine took place in Rome on 11 October. What is the most important significance of this event?

This day, established by the WFCMS during the Rome Congress, is very important because on the same day many dissemination and knowledge activities gather around the world.

This year about 40 countries participated with conferences, open studios, art events , to bring people closer to Chinese medicine.

Tell us what “Villa Giada” is …

For me Villa Giada stands out because it offers a complete training in traditional Chinese medicine with seriousness and honesty.

The School has been active for thirty years, has grown over time and today includes Acupuncture , Moxa , Tuina , Yangsheng long life methods, Qigong , Dietetics and Phytotherapy . Villa Giada collaborates with the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the World Medical Education Committee of the WFCMS to ensure the training of future doctors and practitioners in Traditional Chinese Medicine according to world qualification standards.

Last year it was among the organizing bodies of the XV World Congress of Chinese Medicine which took place in Rome.

The Master in Advanced Clinical Acupuncture and Chinese Manual Therapies is about to start in Rome. Is this a sign of the growing interest in this medicine?

I think so, it is certainly a positive sign of interest but for now the Masters are rather discontinuous, I hope they can be repeated every year.

It would also be good if the universities set up complete training courses for the attainment of the degree .

In Italy acupuncture can only be applied by medical graduates, while shiatsu and tuina (techniques related to Chinese medicine theories in any case) also by recognized professional operators. What do you think of this?

I am happy that Tuina can be applied, as an integral part of Chinese Medicine, by recognized professional operators.

On the other hand, as regards the exercise of Acupuncture and Phytotherapy, I hope that the degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine obtained in China will soon be recognized , as already announced in 2004 in the context of the mutual recognition of academic qualifications between the Chinese and Italian authorities, an agreement which, however, was not implemented.

The WHO in 2019 recognized Chinese Medicine as an official medicine , therefore the Degree obtained in China and in training institutions that meet certain training standards valid globally should be recognized. 

Do you think it is difficult for a Western doctor to enter a new paradigm (such as that of TCM) and use both medicines?

It depends on the person … it is not so much a question of being a Doctor or having another type of training, it is the difference in mentality that is the difficulty to be overcome , through a greater knowledge of the subject and of the logic that governs it.

What message do you consider important and do you want to “launch” to promote the concept of “health” and “care” here in the West?

I want to say that traditional Chinese medicine is a wealth of the whole world . What I do and try to do is serve the whole world and help Italians!

Dr. Li Hong studied at Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (China) from 1979 to 1984.

After graduating, he worked as a TCM Doctor at Tianjin City Hospital until 1993.

He then moved to Rome where he continued his clinical and research activities. He currently holds the positions of Vice President and Secretary General of the Chinese Medical Association of Italy. At Villa Giada he teaches Basic Theory, Dietetics and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

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