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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

Chinese traditional therapy gets ageing Beijing Zoo orangutan back on her feet

Keeper massages pressure points to improve quality of life for ape reduced to crawling on all fours

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 June, 2018, 2:45pm

A Beijing zookeeper is hoping to expand the use of traditional Chinese massage to wildlife in other parts of the world after successfully using the therapy to treat an ageing orangutan.

Beijing Zoo keeper Wang Zheng said he started using Chinese massage therapy on orangutan Pang Pang about a year ago to strengthen the ape’s hind legs, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Pang Pang’s legs had weakened to the point where she walked on all fours, but since the treatment Pang Pang had become more active and occasionally stood to eat, the report said.

Wang, who has cared for Pang Pang for about 15 years, said he used human acupressure points as a guide to identify 19 major pressure points related to limb function on the orangutan’s body.

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He then used a massager called a meridian brush and other equipment to stimulate Pang Pang’s blood flow.

“Pang Pang can now eat from a plate in a standing posture ... This is significant improvement from before where she could only crawl on four feet,” Wang said.

He said he hoped the therapy could be used in zoos in other parts of the world.

“In the past we have always brought in foreign advanced technology but Chinese medicine is unique to China ... If we can study [veterinary applications of Chinese medicine], we can possibly promote the technology for use in zoos overseas,” Wang said.