An Expat Guide: Visiting the Chinese Medicine Doctor

Photo used with permission from Spot Reporting

I’ve been in Taiwan for 11 months without setting foot in a doctor’s office. But today, this all changed.

Three weeks ago I injured my foot running. My first step was to self-diagnose myself by looking up the parts of the foot on Google images (who needs a doctor when you have Google, right?). I then self-medicated myself with a treatment of ice, a compression bandage, and a diet rich in foods that act as anti-inflammatories (pineapple, garlic, onions). When I woke up one morning to find that I couldn’t walk, I asked my boyfriend to get some crutches. Staying off it for a couple of days seemed to do the trick, and the pain eventually started to subside. At this point I could get around if I didn’t put too much pressure on it; in other words, I hopped around like a jackass.

But this all changed when I attended a retreat at a Buddhist monastery last weekend. Monks like to walk, and seeing as I didn’t want slow anyone down, I forced myself to keep up with their shockingly fast pace. By the end of the weekend, however, I was crying out in pain, and I found myself plopped down in a chair with one more hour to go, wondering how in the hell I was going to make it to the bus stop.

At this point, I surrendered.

So where to go? How do these things work? Do I make an appointment or just show up? Should I go the eastern or western route? It all seemed very overwhelming. After carefully weighing my options, I decided to go the eastern route and visit a Chinese medicine doctor.

When I arrived to the clinic for my bizarrely designated appointment time of 7:04, a nurse escorted me to the waiting room where I sat for 10 minutes before being shown into the doctor’s office. In about 5 minutes, Dr. Wu (who spoke almost perfect English) diagnosed it as some sort of issue with my tendon, and proceeded to take my pulse. After taking it, she told me “my belly was full of air”, and all I could think was, how the hell does she know that from my pulse? The doc then gave me a 15 minute acupuncture session, some Chinese medicine to take three times a day for a week (which tastes awful), wrapped my foot in a bandage with some sort of healing ointment, and sent me on my merry way.

The process took less than an hour. Even more miraculously, the whole thing only set me back $140NT ($5US).

Beat that Obamacare.

*Author’s Note

For those of you living in Kaohsiung, I highly recommend Dr. Wu at:

Ma Kuang United Clinics Of Traditional Chinese Medicine  on Minghua road (near the Fuguo intersection) next door to Ivy Kindergarten



  1. Yay I’m so glad youre feeling better!! x

  2. You’ll be running in no time.. hehe

  3. Awesome! I can’t wait to find out if it actually works!

  4. Do they use acupuncture or stim at this clinic? I hurt my achilles running and I’m thinking of heading up there for a visit ASAP. Are they in the same location?

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