Having had a wonderful time attending a China conference and tour with the Chi Institute a few years ago, I had high hopes for the Spain conference offered by the Chi Institute of Europe. I was not disappointed.
The conference setting, a bit outside of Madrid in San Lorenzo de el Escorial, was fantastic. Each morning was started with Tai Chi on the grounds of a 16th century palace and monastery across the street from our hotel. The sun gleamed gold against the old stones of the buildings as we filled our lungs with fresh air to welcome the day.
The conference was well organized and efficiently run, and attended by friendly, fun veterinarians from across the globe who share a passion for TCVM and their patients' health and well being. The talks covered theory, clinical experience, research and case studies, and addressed important topics including oncology, geriatrics, and quality of life.
It began with Dr. Bruce Ferguson (Australia) lecturing on geriatrics. He presented a new pathomechanism for senility development - “static Blood” and “loss of balance” between Qi and Blood, and encouraged us to read Aging and Blood Stasis, A New TCM Approach to Geriatrics (Blue Poppy Press, Boulder CO, 1995). Dr. Ferdinand Niessen (Germany) lectured on the physiological aging process from a TCVM perspective, giving some good examples of acupuncture points as well as food and herbs for various deficiencies and stasis. Dr. Huisheng Xie (USA) lectured on cancer in dogs/cats and tumors in horses, emphasizing Qi and Blood stagnation as the major cause. He used various combinations of Stasis Breaker, Wei Qi Booster and Max’s Formula (Jing Tang Herbal) to aid in ancillary issues. Dr. Xie also discussed the assessment of quality of life and how to practice it with clients. Dr. Lorena Lloret (Spain) gave a quick review on the use of food, particularly “congees” - specially formulated porridge or gruel, for cancerous animals. Dr. Weerapongse Tangjitjaroen (Thailand) gave a timely discussion on the use of electro-acupuncture units and practical measures that ensure proper functioning of the equipment. A presentation on Yamamoto scalp acupuncture in dogs was given by Dr. Erhard Schulze (Germany), which was well-received with comments encouraging organizers to have a “wet lab” demonstrating it on live animals. Dr. Mushtag Memon (USA) demonstrated how one can integrate Western medicine into TCVMwith several case studies.
of the talks were quite interesting and full of information. On the
last day, informative and practical labs followed with Dr. B. Ferguson
demonstrating Tui-na and Dr. L. Lloret showing tongue and pulse
diagnosis techniques on dogs and people.
The post conference tour had something for everyone. We were treated to fine dining, tours of world-famous sites and cities by very knowledgeable tour guides. We also got to experience some of the day-to-day activities of Spaniards, like attending fresh food markets, and long relaxing lunches and dinners. We even got to purchase cookies from cloistered nuns in the old part of the city of Madrid. The history and architecture to which we were exposed was fascinating. Photos of the palaces, cathedrals, paintings, and Gaudi's creations cannot compare to experiencing them in person. We were given a tantalizing taste of a rich culture.
The food was wonderful, with offerings such as duck confit, fresh seafood dishes, specially cured hams, tapas, and wonderful wines. We toured a winery that had been run by the same family through many generations, and enjoyed seeing the old and modern ways they produce their wines. The family dog took a particular liking to our group, and followed us through the entire tour, which we were told was very unusual.
We got a bit of a fairy tale experience when we went to Castell de Cardona. What a treat to stay in a castle and enjoy the view of the twinkling lights of the village below from the 11th century tower. The dining hall was beautiful, and the food was delicious. How fun it was to explore the grounds and imagine the life of those who lived here so long ago, and even to make a wish in the old well. Here's to happily-ever-afters.
The Chi Institute of Europe did a fine job of providing a high quality conference and amazing post conference tour. I am grateful to them for the knowledge and wonderful memories they offered.