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Delivering exceptional Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy in Malta
source:Times of Malta 2023-11-20 [Medicine]
The 19th China Medical Team embarks on a mission

The 19th China Medical Team for Malta, from left, Dr Gao Jingliang, Dr Gao Youling, Dr Yang Zhijie, Jiang Chao, Yin Guanglei and Dr Feng Hua sitting in front.



The 19th China Medical Team for Malta

This year marks the 30th anniversary of China dispatching its first medical team to Malta by the Health Commission of Jiangsu Province in China. In 1994, China and Malta signed a cooperation agreement in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and the Mediterranean Regional Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine (MRCTCM) in Paola was officially established.

Annually, the Health Commission of Jiangsu Province issues a call for doctors, interpreters, and cooks interested in providing their services worldwide. Rigorous selection ensures that the chosen candidates offer the best service to the patients in the different countries. While most of the Centres are located in Africa, Malta’s Centre is the only one in Europe.

This September saw the arrival of the 19th China Medical Team for Malta which consists of four doctors, Dr Feng Hua, Dr Yang Zhijie, Dr Gao Youling, Dr Gao Jingliang, an interpreter, Ms Jiang Chao, and a chef, Mr Yin Guanglei. Based at the MRCTCM, the team acts as a small self-sufficient community.

Dr Feng Hua and Dr Yang Zhijie both hail from Wuxi TCM Hospital in the city of Wuxi, whereas Dr Gao Youling and Dr Gao Jingliang come from Yangzhou TCM Hospital in the city of Yangzhou. Both hospitals are renowned for their professional service and care, and both are affiliated with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine - one of the earliest universities of Traditional Chinese Medicine founded in China.

Ms Jiang Chao works as an English teacher at Wuxi Higher Health Vocational Technology School in the city of Wuxi. She teaches English to Chinese nurses who would like to work in foreign hospitals or are interested in working abroad. Mr Yin Guanglei works as a chef for a big catering company in Yangzhou, a city famous for Chinese cuisine. He has experience working abroad since he has already offered his services in Ethiopia for two years.

Once selected, each team member spent four months during weekends training in general English language in their own city. Thereafter, they all gathered in a base at Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu Province, where they received training for a further four months in general English, medical English with a particular focus on Traditional Chinese Medicine, general knowledge about the country they were going to work in, such as Western culture, social practices and religion, physical exercise, team building exercises including having to climb a 4-metre wall, financing and accounting, and safety training. There were three medical teams taking the training: one going to Malta, one going to Guyana in South America and another one at Zanzibar in Africa.

Dr Feng Hua is proud to form part of the 19th China Medical Team for Malta. During her PhD studies, she attended philosophy classes that covered cultural communication on the Road and Belt Initiative, and she researched how acupuncture is conveyed in Europe. Therefore, this work in Malta is an invaluable opportunity to experience this first-hand. She believes that a wider spreading and larger scale of exchange of Traditional Chinese Medicine along the Belt and Road Initiative countries would significantly contribute to the advancement of public health in the world.

“There are still many people who have never had the chance to receive any Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy. In the few weeks that I have spent in Malta, I was glad to see that many Maltese people like acupuncture and have a good experience of it. So, I think that this Centre has been very beneficial for so many years in providing various therapies to Maltese people. Like the previous doctors at the Centre, I look forward to offering my best service to our patients in order to enhance the friendship between Malta and China,” explained Dr Feng.

In previous years, two colleagues of Ms Jiang Chao had the opportunity to serve as interpreters for China Medical Teams in Africa. She is the first English teacher from her school to be sent to Malta. As a language learner and teacher, Ms Jiang Chao believes that learning a foreign language without having the opportunity to use it while living in a foreign country means nothing. In her view, languages are evolving fast. Moreover, as she discovered in these weeks in Malta, a language may have different versions in different countries.

“When I came to Malta, I had a hard time since the English that I have been taught by my teachers and the English I teach in China, are quite different from the English used here. The pronunciation, the usage and the way people talk are totally different. I think that it is very interesting to compare the textbook English with how the language is actually used. So I know that this will be a very useful experience for me, particularly when I return back to China because basically, I am a teacher. A further advantage is the possibility of transmitting the real meaning of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the Maltese people. As Traditional Chinese Medicine has been spreading across the world, there were some Chinese medical terms that have been misunderstood or distorted over the years. One of these is the practice of Chinese massage which is totally different from other practices which are described as ‘massage’. In fact, the word Tuina has now been introduced in order to distinguish Chinese massage from other practices. While serving here in Malta, I will try my best to explain to the Maltese people what is Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Chinese philosophy behind it,” said Ms Jiang.


Patients with Dr Feng Hua at MRCTCM

Patients with Dr Feng Hua at MRCTCM


Patients’ feedback about the services offered at MRCTCM by the 19th China Medical Team for Malta

Patient from Mater Dei Hospital Chinese Clinic: “This morning I visited the Chinese clinic for my therapy and was impressed with the level of care and attention to detail provided by the doctor present. It is not often that one encounters such a dedicated healthcare professional and I wanted to communicate this to the department concerned. The doctor asked questions and communicated what the process was whilst she was analyzing what was needed and guided me on an exercise I should repeat on a daily basis to get better. I must say that I left the therapy feeling much better.”

Patient from MRCTCM Clinic: “I came to the Centre the first time because I had back pain and was offered the opportunity to receive acupuncture which I think worked very well on my back. During my second visit, I was recommended to have acupuncture for skin eczema which I suffered from for the last thirty years. During this time, I applied several creams and did a lot of things other doctors told me to do but nothing helped and the situation worsened. Once the leg on which I suffered eczema was treated with acupuncture, I immediately noticed an improvement, and after a series of acupuncture sessions, I can safely say that my problem with eczema was eliminated. It has not appeared again. This is the first time in thirty years that I can say I am eczema-free.”


Trainee Stefan Swodoba learning about acupuncture therapy from Dr Yang Zhijie.

Trainee Stefan Swodoba learning about acupuncture therapy from Dr Yang Zhijie.


A student’s feedback who spent a 10-day job shadowing the work of the 19th China Medical Team for Malta

Stefan Swoboda, a TCM student at Paramed AG, Baar, Switzerland, accompanied one of the Chinese doctors who went to do TCM therapy at the Gozo General Hospital:

“I travelled with Dr Gao and witnessed how she treated fourteen patients within two and a half hours with a very special technique, called Fu’s Acupuncture. She did not stick the needles deep but almost horizontally so as not to touch any muscles. Therefore, it was just subcutaneously and not in the area where the patients felt the pain, but in the area close to that where she was palpating tender spots. I remember one young patient. He had pain on the sole of his foot and went to Western doctors but didn’t recover. Dr Gao didn’t put the needles in the sole of his foot but in an area on his calf. Maybe five to seven needles in different areas. And then she also instructed him to do some exercise, relax his foot again and breathe at the same time. He did this for about five times. Then, he just lay there, waiting for about thirty minutes before she removed the needles. The patient stood up and walked almost naturally. It was a big relief for him and he was very happy. I want to thank her for showing me this wonderful technique.”


Practising Tai Chi, from left, Dr Gao Youling, Yin Guanglei, Dr Feng Hua, Dr Yang Zhijie, Jiang Chao and Dr Gao Jingliang at the back.

Practising Tai Chi, from left, Dr Gao Youling, Yin Guanglei, Dr Feng Hua, Dr Yang Zhijie, Jiang Chao and Dr Gao Jingliang at the back.


Medical expertise of the Chinese doctors

The MRCTCM fully certified medical professionals specialize in a wide range of disorders. Through their bilateral knowledge of Chinese and Western medicine, they bring evidence-based practices to target the root cause of patients’ health conditions and ensure that patients are supported with optimal care and support.

Dr Feng Hua stands as a prominent figure in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. With a career spanning over eighteen years, she is currently serving as the Director of the MRCTCM and is the Chief Physician of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Dr Feng’s expertise lies in treating neurological, pain-related, digestive and dermatological diseases, menstrual irregularities and infertility.

Dr Yang Zhijie is the Associate Chief Physician of Acupuncture and Tuina with fourteen years of experience in these fields. He specializes in treating acute and chronic diseases in neck-shoulder and lumbosacral pain, degenerative osteoarthrosis and soft tissue injuries.

Dr Gao Youling is the Associate Chief Physician of Acupuncture and Moxibustion with thirteen years of experience in these fields. She is an expert at treating degenerative musculoskeletal system diseases, chronic pains, sequelae of facial paralysis and herpes zoster.

Dr Gao Jingliang is the Attending Physician of Acupuncture and Moxibustion with six years of experience in these fields. He is an expert at treating neck, shoulder, waist and leg pain, facial nerve paralysis, vertigo, stroke sequela, hiccups and chronic gastritis.

The treatments available at the Mediterranean Regional Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine (MRCTCM) in Paola

The team of four Chinese doctors provides a holistic and comprehensive range of treatments to their patients to improve their quality of life through affordable healthcare, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine wisdom and modern medical advances.

The MRCTCM is open from Monday to Friday: 9.00am – noon and 3.00pm – 5.00pm. Saturday: 9.00am – noon.

The Chinese doctors are also available at Mater Dei Hospital from Monday to Saturday from 8.00am to noon.

Every Wednesday afternoon, a doctor is available at Gozo General Hospital.


• Experienced team of Traditional Chinese Medicine physicians;

• Pain management: migraine, head­ache, joint pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, cervical spondylosis, slip disc, arthritis, osteopathy;

• Digestive system disease: stomach ache, diarrhea, constipation, IBS;

• Chronic Disease Management: tinnitus, fatigue, long covid symptoms;

• Men and women’s health: infertility, dysmenorrhea;

• Dermatological diseases: eczema, acne, urticaria, herpes zoster;

• Insomnia and depression;

• Rehabilitation and recovery after critical illness;

• Preventive treatment of disease.

 Services:  Acupuncture, Tuina, Cupping, Moxibustion, Plaster
 Price Range: Treatment €30, Plaster €10, Oil €3.5/€5/€8
Contact Details:  +356 21691799 (An appointment is required)
 Address:  Corradino, Paola (Near Kordin Tennis Club)
 Facebook: MRCTCM