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From the Idea to the Center
Read this for more information about the development of the Center

In the west, too, the importance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is growing. According to a survey (Allensbach 2005) 61 per cent of Germans would prefer to be treated with a combination of western medicine and TCM in the case of illness, while only 18 per cent would opt for treatment with orthodox medicine alone. Among patients with TCM-experience the approval rate for such a combination is even higher – 89 per cent. The majority of Germans want a combination of western and eastern medicine. TCM is a therapy oriented toward the person: rather than pills and injections, the focus is on individually prescribed teas and tuiná, acupuncture, breathing techniques and sensible nourishment. Hamburg has adopted a pioneer role by establishing a TCM Center at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) – a unique opportunity to integrate individualized TCM into western treatment concepts and to research its effects.

Hamburg’s mayor, Ole von Beust, discussed setting up a TCM project in Hamburg with China’s Premier Zhu as early as 2003. The Senate incorporated the plan for founding a TCM house in the city partnership’s “Hamburg-Shanghai Memorandum”. HanseMerkur – under the direction of its Chairman of the Board, Fritz Horst Melsheimer – provided the financial support. In 2006 the partners HanseMerkur (52%), UKE (24%) and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (24%) reached agreement on the HanseMerkur Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

The mid-sized enterprise HanseMerkur, with its 1.2 million insured customers, has agreed not only to provide financial support but also to promote the project actively. For the HanseMerkur Insurance Company, the results are interesting as a means of providing its customers with efficient far-eastern treatments as a supplement to classical western medicine. Therefore HanseMerkur is prepared to invest a large sum in the TCM Center.

The Center unites a non-profit limited liability research company and the independent medical practice of Dr med. Sven Schröder with a team of German and Chinese doctors and therapists. A special feature of the Center is that the doctors are not only involved in patient therapy but are also active in research/teaching.

Clinical research will investigate the success of the TCM therapies. Laboratory research will, for instance, study the neurobiological mechanisms of acupuncture and the effects of herbs on the nervous system, immunology and the hormonal system. Cytobiological, molecular biological and biochemical methods will provide a link with the natural sciences. Our research, oriented toward practical experience, could contribute to setting quality standards for TCM medicine in Germany.

HanseMerkur Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg

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