Tag Archives: studying

First week of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Our firs week of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) consisted of some basic classes. Topics like Meridians, acupoints, basic principles of acupuncture, Yin&Yang and five elements and so on. First it was a bit difficult to get into the mindsetting of TCM because it is not only medical practice, but it is build on cultural beliefs and religius stuff. The ideological background is borrowed from Taoism so Yin and Yang and five elements come from there.

Yin and Yang are really complex concepts. For example Yin is body and Yang is spirit, but in the body there is also different parts that are Yin and Yang. For example lower body is Yin and upper body Yang, heart is Yin and bladder is Yang. I noticed that in TCM concepts are often more abstract and have many things they refer to than in western thinking. We have strict rules in our logic and our terms have usually simple meanings. You can find the difference even in the language. For us words usually have some quite restricted meanings but in chinese even other people who speak the same language don’t always get the meaning of other because words can be so complex.

Some difficulties also come from TCM being so old. For example heart meridian is not really what western people think of a heart but rather has the function of the brain (but again, you can’t think only about the organs because it leaves out too much) and spleen meridian has the function what we westerners think to be the function of pancreas. All in all, if you think too much inside of western box of thinking, you will certainly miss out most of the stuff that is in TCM.

The main purpose for TCM is to strive for balance. Sickness is imbalance in your body, in your meridians or organs, problems of the mind like being sad, depressed or angry are also imbalance and is is curable by balancing out your problem areas. This can be done many ways: with acupuncture, herbs, acupressure, massage, lifechanges, exercise and so on. TCM is really quite holistic system. It is actually more like lifestyle than just medical treatment.

My personal opinion on the first week is complex. Because I have different belief system than TCM it is difficult for me to understand all the connections. Still I feel that maybe I can get something valuable to my own practice if I understand even a little bit of the ideology behind TCM. I already know that there is some areas that can help me improve my work, like knowledge of acupoints and their function in relaxation and pain relief. All in all this is really interesting and I already feel that I understand thid culture a bit better than before.

Last days! Or so I thought..

Tomorrow will be my last day at the hospital. Feels a bit weird actually. I have got so used to this daily routine that I don’t know what I will do after tomorrow. Actually yes I do, I will travel! But it will probably feel really weird. I have learned a lot during these 11 weeks I have been on the practical training. Maybe not the things I thought I would or should but really important things never the less. I learned how much positive complimets affect your working motivation and mood, how it is always important to be kind and patient, how it makes a world of difference if you smile or not. Of course I also learned some actual PT stuff like assessment and treatment etc but those you can learn every where! I also learned some local specialities since my teacher wanted to teach me his own method of soft tissue release and joint manipulation techniques. Then there were some acupuncture points, acupressure technique and hydrotherapy.

All in all this time was really awesome. And now it is over. Or so I thought untill last Friday when I heard that there is small possibility that I could still get accepted to this summers Traditional Chinese Medicine and culture course. My teacher promised to look into it and yesterday I got an email that said “you are in”. So my time here is not over after all! Feel even more weird.. I will have about one month time to travel and I already have my plans made for that time but after that I will come back here. And study for a month. How weird is that? It is like actually living here. If you want to read more about my future course, go here

When I got here three months ago one of my biggest disapointments was that I couldn’t get proper lessons on Chinese medicine. That kind of was the reason why I wanted to come here at the first place so now when it suddenly is possible after all, I feel like king of the world. My life is awesome. There is some small problems like I don’t have any accomondation at the moment and I might need to skip the first day because of my previous plans overlap with it, but that is small. This is kind of once in a lifetime situation.

aikataulu

part of my future schedule.

Will be nice to have actual lessons here. Even though I’m really excited about this, it is also a bit scary. In July I will be the only Finn here. I would have been a long time abroad and I already miss home a bit. Things will change again and change is scary. It is nothing I coudn’t handle but it is still scary.

Learning to be better

At first it was so easy to write because everything was different. Now I don’t notice anymore if something is differently than in Finland. Of course some bigger things get my attenttion, but not every small detail like before. It is confusing to notice how I get used to all these things so fast.. Must be confusing to get back to Finland.

One big difference that has got my attenttion recently is how people communicate. I think I have got more praise about my schoolwork than ever in Jyväskylä. That is less than two months compared to almost two years. This is something people should pay attenttion to! I’m serious now. It is not that much asked to say something nice or tell others when they have done good job. It is not stupid or embarrassing to call someone smart, kind or patient. That should be obvious don’t you think?

No wonder it is not easy to trust my own skills when I seldom hear if I am doing a good job or not. Here people say all the time that I should trust my hands, trust my observation skills. I feel that maybe I’m slowly starting to trust myself.. Yesterday my hydrotherapy teacher told me that when she had watched me to perform watsu for couple of patients and trying to teach one other student to do some basic watsu steps she had thought that she should remember to be more patient and kind. It meant a world to me to hear those words. I already think that she is both and I don’t recognize those traits in myself. I have been thinking that all the people here are so kind and caring that others should learn from example. Maybe I’m starting to learn something.

study study study, must be funny

Today I will talk about studying! You might think that studying in Finland is hard work. Well, I think it is! Or at least that was my opinion before I came here. There is so much to learn and not enought time. There is also so many hobbies one needs to attend and family and friend needs to be seen occasionally. And all the student partys and holiday trips abroad.. Yeah! Must be difficult for us..

Here I have noticed some things. Funny thing for a Finn.. For example last Monday one of my teachers came to our table (me and three other students) in the beginning of our lesson, sat down and started asking about what have we read on weekend. My mind went through all the funny web articles I have read before I realized that she was talking about research articles and books. I am happy that they couldn’t see my impression inside my head. I was like: “… WHAT?!? O_o” Later I asked about this from my tutor and she told me that students are expected to read more material for their subjeck at weekends. Material that is not included in the most essential readings and that you need to find out yourself. Okay, I understand. Reading is good way to learn and sharing the information is really beneficial. But really..?

Next day the same teacher came to our table and we were expected to tell about one article she had given us to read. First one of us started (we had divided the article to four parts) and then teacher started asking questions about that part. From that we had a good conversation about first part and in the end we had drifted so far from the subject that we didn’t have time for any other parts. Thank god, because I don’t know if I had survived that with honour. This was not the funny part. The funny part was that teacher asked really tough questions and students were expected to be able to answer then. If not they must find out for the next time. Do you think you could remember all things you learned in the class?

These students are really nice and they asked me to write my name for them so they can find me from facebook. Next day I asked why they haven’t added me yet (haha) and the reason was that they hadn’t had time to go to facebook. Come on, really? Who doesn’t have time to go to facebook? But when I have asked about what other students have done in the evenings or at weekend, they usually ansver that they have been up until 3 AM making some school assignments or waking up really early to do more school stuff. So basic answer to “how are you?” is “Really tired..” If this would happen in Finland I think there would be a student uprising or something. No wonder students (and other staff too) take naps on the lunch hour.

My tutors have school on weekend, one Saturday, Sunday or on both. They also have part time jobs couple times a week. In addition to this they help us and go to take us all kinds of different places to experience nice stuff. I have no idea when they eat or sleep. There is no student partys. I have not seen alcohol used once since I have arrived here. If students do not study they have extracurricular activities like taping club. Yes, also school stuff!

I have noticed that even though I am foreing student and teachers are really not that strickt with me, I still have much to do every day. Today is Saturday and I have used most of my day this far to do school report and other assignments because I just don’t have any energy to do those on weekdays after working 9 hours at hospital. I have said this before: I really enjoy being here, but I think I would have heart attack if I would study here for several years.

SOAP and vinyle gloves

If someone was envious about our first two weeks, there is need for it anymore. My first week was quite busy. Usualy I was walking home after training day about 5.15-5.40 PM. After dinner I went to library to write some small assignements to one of my clinical instructors (yesterday I was there a bit less than 2 hours) who wanted to have them printed. I’ll be home around 7-8 PM and then I’ll go trough my notes if there is still something my teacher has asked me to find out. Some food, shower and to bed. It hasn’t even crossed my mind to go wander around the city or plan some travelling. Today I feel that I have started to adapt to the enviroment. I’m not that tired or hungry after hospital hours.

kyltti2

One of our departments.

I think that my favourite part at the moment is the bedside therapy. Maybe because it is a bit familiar to me beforehand. Still there is lots of differences. Here we use vinyle gloves every time when we see a patient and we wash hands after every patient too. It feels that it is more important here to wash hands after seeing the patient than before seeing them. Therapist is not the only one who is taking care of the exercises, because there is always a family member or a caregiver, so it is their responsibility to see that the exercise is done. That means that progress is faster. Because of the caregiver we can also stop the therapy when patient is able to ambulate intependently (even though walking might not be that good). There will always be someone to take care of them. Therapist will write initial notes and daily notes of patients. I think the daily note aka SOAP is much better than our writing down things. This is because in soap there is always progression and a plan.

In the clinic I have been a bit of confused. Everything seems so different. Thay use much modalitys here. First there is electricity or something similar combinet to heat packs to save time. Then maybe some manual therapy and short exercise teachng and then some more modalitys like ultra or traction. To understand why, you need to know a bit about the politics behind the health enviroment here. There is a common healt insurance that is really cheap and everybody can afford it. This insurance pays for some health care things you need to have, for example physical therapy. So the insurance pays the hospital to treat patients but the amount of money is not that much. Hospital wants to have enought money to pay all the salaries so they insist that terapists see many patients a day. It can be as much as 40 patients in one day. Because of this demand therapist may use only modalitys to treat some patients and then they take those who seem motivated enough to make some exercises. It is recognised that this is not as effective as manual therapy or exercise would be but there is just not enough time.

terapiatila

A therapy room. All the therapist will be here at the same time.

After first week I feel that studying in Finland is really lazy. Not that we don’t have much to study about, but we are not expected to know that much even after the courses. I feel that teachers hope that we will mainly learn in the practice periods. Still, when I was in my first practice period, I wasn’t expected to know much. I wasn’t even expected to find uot that much new stuff. Here, if I don’t know something teacher askes me to find out for next day. One time when I didn’t remember one abbreviation that teacher had told me the day before, she looked me a bit funny and said: “but I told you that yesterday.” More demandin enviroment suits me well. I’m a lazy person and if I feel that I can survive without making much effort I wont make any. Here I feel that if I want to do well, I need to make some effort and it feels great. Usually interns here are fourth year students so they do have more knowledge, but I think it is nice to be expected to know something. Learning is facinating when the enviroment is good. Even though my teachers seem to be quite strict and demanding they are also really nice and they give good feedback.

Any other things in my life at the moment? Nope. Haven’t had time..

kirjat

Study study study!

First ending

This first two weeks has been amazing. We have had a lot of time to get used to the country and these habits here. This far we have only had some lessons at university and next Monday our actual clinical training begins. It is exciting and at the same time a bit sad. We have met many students here and some teachers as well and all of them have been really friendly and nice to us. It is sad to think that some of those I have met last time now. It makes me think about the time when I will leave here and see all of this last time. But maybe this is not a time for that!

In these two weeks I have learned some new skills! This week we tried pilates torture machine. It might have had another name too, but I don’t remember it at the moment. It was actually really interesting machine and I started to think how could I make on of those for myself. It is funny how much different exercise machines people have made and there is no end to it..

pilates

Using the torture machine.

pilates2

Actually this wasn’t that bad..

pilates3

It was even slightly fun!

We also tried some gyrokinesis. It seems quite okay. We only had one lesson so I cant say much about it, but it seemed interesting and worth trying some more. That also has some kind of a torture machine but we didn’t see that one. In addition to these we have dug into our brains trying to solve some case assignments and I already opened my Magee to check out couple of things. (Magee is a really heavy book about musculosceletal assessment.)

häkkyrä

One can measure muscle strenght with this “häkkyrä”. I forgot the name..

Our Chinese improves all the time. I get small learning experiences almost every day. I still have no idea what these people are talking about..

chinese

Trying to learn new words. This is difficult because locals know their marks better and writing something we will understand takes some time usually.

I have also learned that I get really tired if I try to go out every day and do something awsome. But I get really bored if I just sit in front of my computer. Maybe I need to learn to do something a bit less awesome but still active. I guess I will be in best shape of my life when I leave here. I have decided that in the end of the exchange period I will run these stairs up. 😀 I have improved really well these two weeks I have stamped those stairs. Every. Day.

portaat2

Small portion of my everyday stairs. Okay, maybe half of them if I go up only once.

Studying..

Yeah. Well.. We are having quite a slow start to the studies here. For the first two weeks we only have 2-3 hours of lessons and only for 4 days. Most of the students here have been wondering why we have so few classes. Well, that will change since after our clinical practise starts, we will have 9 hours of practice 4 days a week and 4 hours on Friday. So no 4 day working week like we had thought. It is actually a bit confusing. I have no idea who has picked these courses for us. I don’t remember that anybody had asked from us what we want. Neither has anyone said that we can has a say to what we study here. That was the case in Finland. And in here it seems to me that everyone is expecting that these courses are our choices. To be frank, I would have wanted to have more influence for my studies here. But maybe I would have had to ask these things directly from Yi-Fen.

kerroskuusi

This is where we study!

Our first classes were easy. Just some reminding about ROM (range of motion) measurements. We also took part for one suspensio system lab class on Wednesday. It was really interesting and I would like to try more with that thing. We have had some pilates lessons in addition to these two. Those I really like! They are quite challenging, but also rewarding afterwards.  About the classes.. Well, there is somethings that differ from Finland. The class contains about 40 students, so the class is full. When using the “plintti”, research table, they don’t use paper (since it is cleaned weekly). And we have had our pilates classes ON the tables (since there is no room on the floor. Also other students are usually already in class when it is time for the class to start, when in Finland we usually go to class at the moment it is about to start. It takes about 10 min from our classes every time. Something to learn here I think.. What else.. Teacher is using a microfone, also those students who are presenting something are using the microphone.

suspensio

The Suspensio System. At the end of our class, one boy was hanging from this with his ankles and doing knee flexion combined with abdominal squeeze. It looked crazy!

I noticed that when we were doing our ROM measurements, the teacher was not as demanding than in Finland. We made the measurements clothes on and we could add the goniometer after making the full movement. It feels a bit weird.. I’m usually by-the-book person and I have always had difficulties to apply theory to the real world. It just seems a bit weird to me that we don’t for example demand to take the measurements from the skin (clothes off). That would be more accurate. The teacher told us that most of the clients don’t want to take their clothes of for assesments. Maybe because it is cold here even indoors or maybe it is not expected. But while in rome do as the romans do. Even in the Finish hospitals everything is not done right according to the book. I just need to get used to it and adapt.

Our pilates classes is teached by one of the major students. Most of the students we are dealing with are major students. That means they are studying research thingies. Unlike in Finland, here people study 4 years of basic studies to become physical therapists ( in Finland it is 3,5 years). From these 4 years they have the last year fully clinical practice. In Finland we have first year studying, then rest of the years we have a cycle of couple month of studies and couple months of practice. After completing the 4 years of basic studies people here apply for master program. In National Yang Ming University there is a lot of more research students than the basic ones. That is because this university is a research university. In Finland (if I remember correctly) after the 3,5 years we go to worklife for couple of years before we can apply for the research studies in university. Also we are learning the basic stuff in University of applied sciences and then we apply for the “normal” university for the research part. Here it is all in the same place.

Studying here is not free for the locals like studying in Finland is for us. It costs about 1500 € per year and this is why many of the students here have a part time jobs. Well.. Many of the students at home have a part time jobs too, but that is because it is so expensive to live in Finland. For a school cafeteria meal here it is about 1-2 € and if you go to a restaurant it might go up to 5-8 €. In Finland, school cafeteria meal is 2,60 € and if you go to a restaurant it is usually more than 15 €. Here it is cheaper to go to restaurant than to make food yourself.. And that is just food! But one can’t just compare prizes, because these things are more difficult than that. There is politics and stuff, so I don’t talk about this more this time, because I know nothing about politics..

tee

Bubble teaish stuff, without bubbles, 1 €.

ruoka

Meal from Uni cafeteria: 1-2 €!

jugu

Frozen youghurt = expensive! About 3,5 €

Study plan

Today was our first actual study day. We met NYMU’s international cordinator Yi-Fen and she gave us our schedules for our time here. In first two weeks we will have some classes about assesment of upper and lower extremities and classes about gyrokinesis and pilates. In addition to that we might take some classes on Chinese medicine, if that is possible. With that course we had a bit of confusion. In Finland our cordinator told us that if we want to take any other courses we can choose them when we get here and local coordinator told us that she would have needed info beforehand to be able to discuss with the teachers. We might still be able to have that course if the schedule is okay for us.

For the actual clinical training we will have Orthopedic bedside training, Orthopedic practice, some Clinical practice with the musculosceletal department (I think..) and Hydrotherapy. Out tutor took us to the hospital today to see the enviroment. It was really different than in Finland. There were more people in less space. There was also some different instruments and machines than those we usually use. All in all it seemed really interesting and staff were really friendly.

I’m actually a bit surprised that I’m not as stressed about this clinical practice as I was with the Finnish one. Maybe now I feel that is more okay not to know everything from the beginning. Everything will be strange and new and I feel that there is not too much expectations. We’ll see if that changes in couple of weeks.