John Shang: I was born in Shanghai, China, to a family dedicated to medicine. My father was a Western pharmacist and my mother was a nurse. Both of my parents worked at a military hospital. Because of military privileges in China, my family did not suffer at all during The Cultural Revolution.
After graduating from high school, and during the revolution, I had to go out into the countryside because I was the oldest member of my family. This saved my younger or sister form having to go. First, I went to be a farmer in 1975, and I did this for two and a half years. At that time, life was difficult but also rewarding. I remember having to carry two hundred pounds along a mountain path. I did not complain because I believed that if another man could do it, so could I.
The first three months, I performed my work well and gradually gained the farmers’ trust. As a reward, the farmers selected me to attend a ‘barefoot doctor’s training program which lasted six months. I completed the program when I was eighteen years old. I would bring needles and herbs to the field so that I could treat the farmers. During the daytime, I worked in the fields. In the evening, I would treat the farmers who waited for me in my room. My room was both a clinic and a classroom. The farmers were more than just patients; they were also my teachers! For example, I learned how to save many people’s lives from snake-bite from some of the farmers, who also taught me a lot about herbs and acupuncture.
Many times I had to deal with complicated medical cases that I did not yet know how to treat. I often carried these patients down the mountain, to the hospital. If any of them died, it would upset me for many months because I could not save their lives. The farmers often looked up to me and many believed that I knew everything. I remember one time, I sent an injured farmer to a hospital. On the way, he died from excessive bleeding. I felt horrible about this. I made up my mind to some day get the best training I could find in China.
In 1978, Dong Xiao Ping said,” Everyone must take an exam and go to college.” Thus, many young people from the village walked two days to the exam center so test could be taken. Months later, I was accepted by the Zhengjiang Traditional Chinese Medicine College in Hangzhou, China. I was the only one in the county accepted! Many others had to remain in the country. Some of them actually cried. I was both happy and sad at the same time. I was happy because I could go back to the city and have this rare opportunity to study. But, I was also sad because I had to leave the farmers who had taught me so much. In so many ways, they helped me become a better person.
From 1978 to 1983, I studied at the Traditional Chinese Medicine College in Hangzhou, China. After graduating from college, I decided to go to the University of Shanghai Medicine to learn orthopedic surgery. The experience of being “a barefoot doctor” helped me realize the importance of advanced training in order to help save people’s lives.
The University of Shanghai School of Medicine is a world-renowned medical school and students come from all around the world to attend. I studied in the Zhongshan Hospital’s Orthopedic Department. The head of the department was Dr. Chen Zhong-Wei, a world respected microscopic surgeon. He was the founder of microsurgery and was the first doctor in the world who successfully performed a re-attachment of a finger in 1963. I learned a great deal from this remarkable doctor. I did many trauma and emergency surgeries at this hospital.
I came to the United States in 1996. I am happiest when I can treat patients using acupuncture and Chinese medicine from the knowledge I have gained from surgical training. I am thankful that I know the human body well and can get the results that are needed. I enjoy communicating with neurosurgeons and orthopedic doctors who send me their patients. This team approach has proven very successful.
I look forward to meeting new patients and facing new medical challenges everyday. If I can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Ancient Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine
Jin Fang: I was born into a family of Western pharmacists in the city of Hangzhou, China. I was the youngest of three daughters. As the baby of the family, I was sheltered. When I was five years old, I remember our family helping my father process Chinese herbs. I spent much of my childhood at the hospital pharmacy, helping my father. I learned to love the medical environment!
During The Cultural Revolution (1965-1977), my father received no salary for more than three years! We didn’t know where the next meal would come from. I remember we all helped my father learn how to ride a bicycle because his new job was delivering distilled water. He was forced to wear a black patch because he was against The Cultural Revolution. The politics of the day turned against him and it became discriminatory and humiliating for him.
Our grandmother tried her best to support us. She came to visit us once a month, to cook the food she brought. We would all wait at the door for her … with big eyes! We felt very sad when she left. We also got a little money from our aunt’s family, even though they were also in trouble with the government. Eventually, they were exiled form Beijing to the countryside. As a result, many of our relatives and friends were too afraid to help us. During my middle school years (1969-1972), the entire school would work in the spring for 10 days at The Green Tea Farm. (This farm was world renowned for its green tea!) We were never paid but we were allowed to take one small handful of this exceptional tea when we left. I would take it to my father and he would be so pleased because it was a top quality green tea rarely available.
For twelve years, all colleges were closed and all cultures as we knew it, was forbidden. Finally, in 1978, The Cultural Revolution ended!
My sisters and I took the national school entrance exam and we all passed! I remember my father was so happy about this that he brought candies to share with his colleagues and friends.
Later, I was accepted at the Traditional Chinese Medicine College in Hangzhou and graduated in 1983 with my medical degree.
In 1987, I came to United States to join my first ex-husband who was attending Cornell University. I studied English at Broome Community College. During this time, I held three waitressing jobs. I worked very long days. One week, I totaled 78 hours! I continued to work even through my pregnancy.
In February of 1990, I gave birth to a baby girl. Six months later, my marriage ended. My mother then came to the United States to be with me and to help with the care of my child so that I could continue to work. Shortly after that, my father came to help. Later, when I worked as a dental assistant, I rode a bike to work. I supported my parents, as well as small infant. When I prepared for the New York State acupuncture licensing exam, my parents continually tested me on the material. In 1992, I became the first Chinese acupuncturist in Ithaca and started my own practice.
In 1995, my daughter and I traveled back to China. We met John Shang who had been a classmate of mine from 1978-1983. We married in Ithaca in 1996 and he joined my practice. John Shang graduated from the University of the Shanghai School of Medicine and specialized in orthopedic surgery. He is a great asset to the practice.
These herbal formulas, along with acupuncture, help in the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADD, ADHD, fertility and aging problems. I also use my older sister’s herbal formula, Sinus Care. (She is a Western trained ear/nose/throat doctor.)