TCM in Europe: Compatibility, Support and Development / 中医在欧洲:兼容性、支持与发展

TCM in Europe: Compatibility, Support and Development / 中医在欧洲:兼容性、支持与发展
photo: TCM Prague
flag 12 / 04 / 2021

The arrival of TCM knowledge in Europe in a usable form does not take long. It's been the last few decades. We will not count the first findings of travelers and missionaries. They have been preserved in museums and libraries but have not developed into practice. (CN below)

TCM in China and other Asian countries has a continuous, well-preserved and evolving history. At the same time, the question of whether it was never known or forgotten in Europe is not entirely aside. A unique archaeological find in the Alps (Austria), Europe's largest mountain range, released a 5,000-year-old hunter's body frozen in ice from a glacier. He wore points and paths tattooed that matched the acupuncture treatment for his stomach problems. Let's leave that as speculation for now.

 TCM Day Prague /

It was not until the 1970s that TCM developed in some European countries. Due to the fragmentation in which TCM practice and teaching takes place, coordinated support, and especially education, is a long-term matter.


Let's ask if there is any interest in a similar procedure and goal. In the EU countries, respectively 17 + 1, there are a significant number of TCM centers. They are regional and local. In none of them is TCM a full-fledged part of medical studies or practice. The long-term experience of Western physicians increases the quality of TCM care that may be used, but it is only a matter of personal initiative and professionalism. In some places, doctors can study an optional subject, in some places a separate course associated with continuing education. Most often, these are private courses, which are declared as official education, but are not even accredited at the basic level. National laws generally prevent the full inclusion of TCM in the health care system.

 China-Bulgaria cooperation /

Let's emphasize that the vast majority is acupuncture. TCM as a whole is practically not practiced in Europe in connection with the sharing of Western medicine. According to their own knowledge, each doctor will use only a part.


In parallel with doctors who, in addition to standard Western medicine, provide care using TCM methods, mainly acupuncture, there are practitioners without a medical education (there is a great emphasis on the title of “MUDr.” in Europe). Graduates of mostly private informal and non-accredited courses offer care to clients. According to the legislation, it is not and must not be a treatment. It is a client-provider relationship. The principle of this operation is not a defect. The point is that in European countries we will not find a model that would ensure adequate education in the form of a university, and thus the responsibility of the provider and the practitioner, with the possibility of control.

 Czech TCM point Beijing /

Thirdly, there are several centers in Europe in almost every country where Chinese doctors are associated. Their TCM treatment is private, only exceptionally and only a part is covered by health insurance companies, for example. These doctors even teach somewhere at local universities, and practice highly professional care. Their national or regional associations significantly promote awareness of TCM, good practice shows results. However, the system of medical and health care, the increase in support from the state and the interest of health insurance companies do not affect much.


Why do we talk about it in such detail?


Interest in TCM in Europe is growing rapidly. Of course, China, but also other countries with a long history - Tibet, Mongolia, Korea, Japan - can add their share. However, it is necessary to proceed with the highest professionalism. And not only in medical practice. Conditions must first be created for this. We know similar models from any business. If the market is not informed, prepared and marketed, all events are just shots in the dark. They mainly bring losses, based on the reputation of TCM.

 WFAS in Prague 2019 /

Let us recall another important aspect. From a practical point of view, TCM is largely based on the administration of herbal preparations. These are distributed worldwide in a common business model. In European countries, however, they face complex barriers to registration. It should be in the interest of Chinese producers to explore local options, make efforts to unify import conditions and gain maximum partners and customers.


It's not happening. TCM centers in individual countries do not usually cooperate in the national format either. Whether Chinese or local, they always try to work independently in fear of the competition. It is useless - there are more and more people who are interested and, above all, give hope in helping TCM. In the post-pandemic period, this number will increase sharply - Western medicine has disappointed many people.


Purely Chinese centers do not emphasize local communication, they isolate themselves too much and focus on compatriots. But they know TCM from their home country, there is no need to convince them. It is certainly good to take care of them. Unfortunately, they do not adequately mediate or share this experience with local people. Thus, not only the news about the possibility of using TCM, but also about the history and culture from which it comes will disappear.


Thanks to the support of the government of the PRC and the management of Shuguang Hospital Shanhgai, there are several dozen TCM overseas centers in the world. According to our information, this is a government program to support the development of TCM in the world. From the point of view of European supporters of TCM, however, we have not found certainty as to whether this model is suitable, and especially compatible, for Europeans in the field.


In cases where we managed to find out the existence of TCM centers, which are probably in the overseas program, we tried to address them (Mauritius, Malta, Morocco). Unfortunately, we received no response. Our goal was to inform about their existence, to support them in the media and to pass on or share their experiences.


If these overseas centers are the pillars of TCM's global development and support program, it is not good if they focus only on the academic benefits of their executives. To make sense, it must communicate with local experts, and especially the public. Try to find connections between local doctors of Western medicine and provide them not only with information, but also with opportunities for further education. Provide support to non-profit organizations operating in the area and, last but not least, invest in projects that are a clear demonstration of the importance of TCM in medicine and Chinese university professionalism and quality. These are investments in combined centers, where Western and TCM physicians work together.


It is a big mistake on the part of the Czech side to complete the promising project of the first overseas center, which was established in 2015 in the Czech Republic, as the first in the world. But we can also learn from this mistake. Closed, isolated and introverted overseas centers with the academic status of the public in European countries will say nothing. It only strengthens the position of a certain isolationism, unbalanced by the care provided to local expats. The loss that the development of TCM will suffer is the loss of the opportunity that the organization sending TCM professionals to the world will suffer. Then WHO support, the great work of WFCMS, the excellent professional level of WFACM, the effort to use ISO data, or professional online conferences help little. Direct contact with a Chinese doctor, treatment and a message from a rich, knowing past will not come.



We, the people of Europe, Eastern, Central, Southern, Northern or Western, already know a lot about TCM from our own resources. There is no need to provide basic training courses. The work of Chinese TCM doctors needs to be strengthened, the import of herbal preparations needs to be simplified and pan-European marketing needs to be developed.



The time has come for the treatment of post covid syndromes and prevention. It will be a long journey to health, challenging for many people. It should not have resting places for effortless participation. For many people, this will be the only hope. Today, if the organizers and supporters of TCM development in the world do not change their approach and perspectives, there may be more satisfied academics at Chinese universities. But the opportunity to make an unforgettable entry into the minds and bodies of millions of Europeans will be wasted.


After many experiences and decades of TCM support, we are aware of these dangers. That is why we founded EUROCENTER TCM Prague. Our goal is to create a communication platform and database, the starting point where knowledge will come from, and we will pass it on in cooperation with Chinese doctors, hospitals and universities. Existing TCM centers will not be endangered, perhaps a few individuals who are closer to their well-being and career than the interests of hundreds of millions of people. But that should not be the measure.


If you support TCM in Europe, you will support TCM worldwide. Prague is the heart of Europe and EUROCENTER TCM Prague welcomes all those who understand these needs and conditions and make their own support clear.



EUROCENTER TCM Prague, Czech Republic













 TCM Day in Prague 2019 /





 TCM Day Prague /



除了提供标准西医治疗及提供中医疗法(尤其是针灸)的医生以外,还有没受过医学教育实践家提供治疗(欧洲非常重视医学博士/M. D./MUDr.学位)。均私有非正式和未受认可课程的毕业生给客户提供治疗。按照法律不应该叫治疗。是客户与供应商的关系。这种操作的原则没有问题。更加关键的是,在欧洲国家并找不到经过大学形式确保符合教育的模范,同时也确保着供应商和实践家的责任及监督的可能性。