Behind the Olympic gold medals, traditional Chinese medicine plays a role

Gold medalist Gu Ailing at the Big Air Women’s Freeski Awards Ceremony. Photo by Xinhua/Ju Huanzong.

As Gu Ailing won a historic gold medal in the Women’s Freeski Big Air at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, a Chinese team doctor revealed the role traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) plays in the treatment of Chinese Olympians, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Zhu Jiangwei, a doctor at Sichuan Province Orthopedic Hospital, worked for China’s national big air freeski and slopestyle snowboard team between October 2021 and January this year.

Along with the team, Zhu traveled to Austria, Switzerland, the United States and other countries, providing medical care to team members, including Gu Ailing.

“For athletes, their bones are more likely to fracture on the snowfield”, – Zhu said.

Traditional Chinese Medicine. Photo by Xinhua.

During this period, Gu often came to Zhu after practices and matches. According to her physical features, Zhu applied “Sichuan Zheng-style orthopedic therapy” as physical therapy and guided her to do functional exercises.

“Sichuan Zheng Style Orthopedic Therapy” is an important school of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of bone injuries and sports injuries.

“Martial arts and sports actions are used in the treatment process to help athletes quickly recover their physical strength, and effectively prevent and treat injuries”, – Zhu said.

“For Gu’s wounds, I used TCM methods such as acupuncture, massage and bone setting”, – Zhu said.

Gu sick. Photo by Xinhua.

Zhu recalled that Gu had come to him several times to consult him on traditional Chinese orthopedic rehabilitation treatment.

During the Olympics, Zhu and other MTC doctors also provide medical services to athletes.

Since the 1950s, Sichuan Province Orthopedic Hospital has started the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. Among his patients are well-known Chinese athletes, including Yao Ming, Lang Ping and Guo Jingjing.

The hospital has sent 24 doctors to work for seven Chinese winter sports teams since they began preparing for Beijing 2022.