Some interesting news. In just over a week, I will be leaving for China for 4 weeks. It's a trip organized by a group affiliated with the medical school. While I'm there, I'll be studying the language and the culture, as well as interacting with some of their medical students and checking out some of their medical facilities.
I'm incredibly excited about the trip, not just because I get to go to the other side of the world for relatively cheap, but because I'll be able to observe firsthand the "Eastern" or "alternative" medicine that people here in the states try to tout when they're promoting their supposedly "natural" cures. My expectation is that what we consider to be Eastern medicine will be very similar to Western medicine (albeit with some alternative medicine flavor thrown in at times), at least as far as the medical education establishment goes. I'd expect to find higher usage of alternative medicine in perhaps more rural settings, but who knows. That's part of the reason why I'm going. As a person enormously interested in technology and a supporter of the free exchange of software and ideas, I'm also anxious to see what the general feeling is over there with regard to the Great Firewall of China. People love to talk about China's people, culture, medicine, etc. but how much of that is actually accurate? That's what I hope to find out.
I plan on blogging about the experience as much as I can. A few students who went on the trip last year told me we'll probably be asked if we'd like to experience "cupping" (I swear it's not as dirty as it sounds). If I'm able to try it out, I'll be sure to let you know if it's the best treatment ever and takes away all of my back pain and fixes my eye sight, or if it just relaxes me for a couple hours (a byproduct of the heat and the placebo effect, from what I've read).
This is the first time I've really gone out of the country, and it's about as far out of the country as I can get. I went to a resort in the Dominican Republic for vacation for a week a couple years back, but nothing quite like this. It will definitely be one hell of an experience.