HARBIN, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Over the past six years, Elena from Russia and her daughter Sasha have been regulars at a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hospital in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
Sasha, who suffers from cerebral palsy (CP), has been receiving treatment at the hospital and is now showing hopeful signs of recovery.
"When we first came here six years ago, Sasha could hardly move at all. Now, she can walk with a cane, go to the restroom and eat by herself," Elena said.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement that is caused by damage to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth.
"By integrating Chinese and Western medicine, we use therapies such as deep-tissue massage, acupuncture, and walking-correction training to treat CP patients," said Li Yanmei, a doctor at the hospital's CP clinic.
The positive effects of TCM in treating CP have attracted a growing number of Russian patients to Harbin, prompting some local hospitals to set up special clinics dedicated to serving patients from afar.
"My clinic, which has nearly 20 physicians and nurses, has received an annual average of 7,000 to 8,000 visits from Russian CP patients over the past few years," Li said.
To better communicate with patients, many Chinese doctors have learned to speak Russian. They also use their language skills to help patients with everyday matters during their stay in China.
"TCM has increasingly been embraced by the international community due to its effects in treating some common and chronic diseases," said Wang Xiaopin, head of the international cooperation department of China's State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Elena has gained courage and hope after seeing Sasha's condition improve.
"I have come to terms with the fact that my child is sick. I'll stick with the treatment and never give up," Elena said.