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Cycling doctor is also a well known writer

Update: November, 26/2017 - 09:00
Herbal medicine had its roots in traditional philosophy. Photo tapchiyhoccotruyen.org
Viet Nam News

A man who rides around on a bicycle in Ho Chi Minh City is in fact a special doctor.

Đinh Công Bảy is also an expert in traditional medicine.

He has written thirty books on the topic.

Đinh Công Bảy believes that if people have a healthy body and spirit, they are less likely to fall ill.

By Trần Nguyễn Anh 

Đinh Công Bảy, secretary general of HCM City’s Herbal Medicine Association, was born in the former imperial capital city of Huế to a family with a long tradition of practising herbal medicine. In 1970s, when Western medicine was favoured, Bảy decided to choose it for his pre-university course. He eventually pursued Herbal Medicine when he entered university.

Bảy said it was philosophy that led him to the decision.

“I had been very keen on studying philosophy, especially Eastern philosophy," he said. "I discovered that herbal medicine had its roots in traditional philosophy principles, such as yin and yang. I studied traditional philosophy to understand diseases and vice versa.”

Later, due to the war, he moved from Huế to Sài Gòn (now HCM City) to continue his studies and travelled to the Central Highlands to settle. In 1975 when the nation was reunified, medicine courses were resumed in Sài Gòn.

“I had a stable life in the highlands area, but my passion led me to sell my house and pharmacy and take my wife and children to HCM City to study," Bảy said. After finishing the course, he was invited to teach at the Traditional Medicine Faculty of HCM City’s Medicine University and worked there for 15 years.

Bảy has a unique personality. He has his own philosophy of life and sticks to it. Those with wide knowledge and experience like him often open pharmacies and many became rich.

Bảy, however, is different. For the last 25 years, he has offered free health check-ups and treatment in pagodas. “People can have their own way of living as long as their work contributes something to the community,” he said.

His patients are mostly the poor with chronic diseases and those with incurable diseases. They came to pagodas with a tiny hope for a miracle. Bảy said it was these patients that brought him a positive perspective and firm belief to move forward regardless of circumstances.

“Many asked me what I had got after years of offering free service. It seems I get nothing, but it’s actually many things. For example, I don’t treat people for money so I have peace of mind. I have treated many people and that brought me joy. I have a chance to do the job that I love,” said Bảy.

“I seem to be different from other people. While others may try hard to afford a motorbike, car and house, I find ways to cycle more,” said Bảy.

“The popular diseases today, such as cardiovascular disease, haemorrhoids and gout are mostly due to the fact that people spend most of the time working in an office without doing physical exercise. Many nutrients are absorbed and few are transformed into energy; therefore, they create disease.”

Bảy said big cities like HCM should encourage its citizens to cycle. “We should also learn from other countries and implement public project in which bicycles are made available for shared use or rent," he said. "There should also be streets reserved for bikes only. There should be favoured conditions for cyclists.

“I pay much attention to exercise. I cycle five to seven kilometres every day. I often cycle leisurely in spacious streets to exercise and clear my mind. Once the body and spirit are healthy, we never have to worry about diseases.

"One can meditate in any place. When one pays attention to their breathing and has proper breathing, it’s meditation," said Bảy.

Cycling and breathing fresh air is also a method of meditation that Bảy uses.

Bảy has written more than 30 books on traditional medicine. He also has had thousands of papers published in health columns of different magazines and newspapers.

He also writes about healthy food and offers daily tips for a healthy life. This includes “Healthy Food and Drink for Gastritis and Duodenitis”, “Healthy Food for Those with Kidney Disease”, and “Stay Healthy and Beautiful with Popular Vegetarian Dishes”.

“We should pay attention not only to food, but the way we eat. Food can be also served as valuable medicine, helping diners build up their immunity and prevent diseases like osteoporosis, fat excess and stress,” Bảy said.

“Food that is good for the health and helps to prevents diseases is mentioned in classic herbalism books. Compiling healthy food that is good for specific disease is my hobby,” he added.

In his “Healthy Food for Osteoporosis Patients”, Bảy introduces recipes for those with osteoporosis. They include clam porridge with coconut milk, crab broth, snails stir-fried with coconut, mussels stir-fried with gourd leaves. VNS


 

GLOSSARY

Đinh Công Bảy, secretary general of HCM City’s Herbal Medicine Association, was born in the former imperial capital city of Huế to a family with a long tradition of practising herbal medicine.

If  Huế is a former imperial city it was once an imperial city but is no longer. Imperial means to do with an empire.

Bảy said it was philosophy that led him to the decision.

Philosophy is a way of thinking that guides your behaviour.

"I discovered that herbal medicine had its roots in traditional philosophy principles, such as yin and yang.”

Principles are things that are true, which guide philosophies.

“I studied traditional philosophy to understand diseases and vice versa.”

Vice versa means “and the other way around”. In this case it means that he studied traditional philosophy to understand diseases and he also studied diseases to understand traditional philosophy.

In 1975 when the nation was reunified, and medicine courses were resumed in Sài Gòn.

Reunified means coming together once again.

If courses resumed, they started again after a break.

“I had a stable life in the highlands area, but my passion led me to sell my house and pharmacy and take my wife and children to HCM City to study," Bảy said.

A stable life is one that is OK and is not likely to change much.

A passion is something you may love to do so much you don’t worry about how much time or money you spend doing it.

Bảy has a unique personality.

If something is unique there is only one of it in the world.

His patients are mostly the poor with chronic diseases and those with incurable diseases.

If something is chronic it keeps on happening.

An incurable disease is one for which there is no cure.

They came to pagodas with a tiny hope for a miracle.

A miracle is a nice surprise that happens to you that cannot be explained by the laws of science.

Bảy said it was these patients that brought him a positive perspective and firm belief to move.

A perspective is a point of view.

“The popular diseases today, such as cardiovascular disease, haemorrhoids and gout are mostly due to the fact that people spend most of the time working in an office without doing physical exercise.”

Cardiovascular means to do with the heart.

A haemorrhoid is a swollen vein around the anus.

Gout is a disease that happens when acids in the body cause your foot to be very painful.

Many nutrients are absorbed and few are transformed into energy; therefore, they create disease.”

Nutrients are substances that are in food, which make it possible for the body to keep going and to grow.

Absorbed means “taken in”.

Transformed means changed from one thing into something else.

"There should be favoured conditions for cyclists.

If there are favoured conditions for cyclists, things are in place to make it easier for them.

"One can meditate in any place. When one pays attention to their breathing and has proper breathing, it’s meditation," said Bảy.

Meditating means relaxing with exercises for the mind.

This includes “Healthy Food and Drink for Gastritis and Duodenitis”, “Healthy Food for Those with Kidney Disease”, and “Stay Healthy and Beautiful with Popular Vegetarian Dishes”.

Gastritis is an uncomfortable condition in the stomach.

Duodenitis is an uncomfortable condition in a part of the stomach called the duodenum.

Vegetarian dishes are meals that do not have any meat in them.

“Food can be also served as valuable medicine, helping diners build up their immunity and prevent diseases like osteoporosis, fat excess and stress,” Bảy said.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones.

Fat excess means too much fat.

Stress happens when you worry too much because there is pressure on you.

Compiling healthy food that is good for specific disease is my hobby,” he added.

Compiling means putting together.

Specific means certain.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. The name of a place that was once an imperial city.
  2. The smallest amount of kilometres that Đinh Công Bảy normally cycles every day.
  3. Something that Đinh Công Bảy sometimes does by cycling and breathing.
  4. Places poor people often visit when they are very sick, hoping for miracles to cure them.
  5. People who doctors attend to when they are sick.

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    ANSWER: © Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2017

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    1. Hue; 2. Five; 3. Meditation; 4. Pagodas; 5. Patients.

 

 

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