Shalom Life | May 26, 2015

Israel's Chinese Medicine Man

Roni Sapir is a world authority on the ancient medical art, teaching it to Israelis and Chinese and treating patients in several countries.

By: Abigail Klein Leichman

Published: June 14th, 2011 in Health » Israel

Israel's Chinese Medicine Man

Haifa native Roni Sapir was studying geography and computers in college when a segment of the Israeli TV program Innovations and Inventions caught his interest. It showed a Chinese man having open-heart surgery with no anesthetic.

"The patient was completely awake and conversing calmly while the doctors dug in his chest," he recalls. He was feeling no pain because of the Chinese needle technique called acupuncture.

"Wow, this is really amazing," Sapir recalls thinking as he watched.

Today, the 50-year-old Sapir is founder and dean of the Israeli Centre of Classic Chinese Medicine ("East-West") in Raanana.

He teaches practitioners in Israel and China, sees patients internationally and is director of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies, a body that oversees 174 associations in about 80 countries. He is vice president of the new International Red Cross Hospital in Hunan as well.

Marine photographer or acupuncturist?

Now one of the world's foremost authorities on the ancient medical art, he had intended to be a marine photographer with a backup in computer science.

But two years after seeing that TV program, Sapir noticed a headline announcing the opening of a Chinese medicine school in Tel Aviv. When he called to inquire, he learned that it was started by two Israelis who had studied in California. The classes were to be given on Tuesdays - the one free day in Sapir's schedule.

Over three years of Tuesday classes, he learned the basics of what is known as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), whose practices include herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy and dietary therapy.

Sapir was drawn to learn more about classical Chinese medicine (CCM), grounded in the original spiritual underpinnings of the practice -- such as the forces of yin and yang and the five elements of earth, fire, wood, metal and water. CCM and its practitioners were banned from China after the 1949 Communist revolution, which is why Sapir discovered that the best school for CCM was in England.

"I didn't know a word of English, but they took me on trial," Sapir says in his now excellent English. He studied there from 1984 to 1992, earning an advanced degree and becoming a clinician and teacher at the school. Eventually, he was running five clinics.

And then, a little voice told him to go home. Taking it as a sign from God, Sapir packed enough things for a week and waited at his parents' house in Haifa for the next "sign." It came when he went to the TCM school in Tel Aviv to meet a friend for lunch. He ran into the director of the school, who asked him to open another Chinese medicine school in Israel. A month later, he was back to stay.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Israeli Nonprofit Gives Toy Cars to Disabled Children Israeli Nonprofit Gives Toy Cars to Disabled Children TrendingIsraeli Researchers Working on Innovative Project to End Global Water Shortage Israeli Researchers Working on Innovative Project to End Global Water Shortage Trending Israeli Parkinson's Patient Gets Fresh Look on Life Thanks to New Treatment Israeli Parkinson's Patient Gets Fresh Look on Life Thanks to New Treatment Trending
 

Israeli Nonprofit Gives Toy Cars to Disabled Children

May 26, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
Israeli Nonprofit Gives Toy Cars to Disabled Children

Go Baby Go Israel helps to foster proper cognitive development and social inclusion amongst kids with disabilities

Read More

WATCH: This Guy's Trying to Take Over Harry Shearer's Job

May 26, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
WATCH: This Guy's Trying to Take Over Harry Shearer's Job

Aspiring voice actor does 14 impressions of Simpsons characters like Montgomery Burns, Ned Flanders, Smithers, and more

Read More

Israeli Judo Team Faces Discrimination in Morocco

May 26, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Judo Team Faces Discrimination in Morocco

Locals arrive waving Palestinian flags and chanting "we will murder you"

Read More

Joshua Davis: It Feels Good to Be Home

May 25, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Joshua Davis: It Feels Good to Be Home

In exclusive Shalom Life interview, Davis talks 'The Voice,' his love of Paul Simon, and more

Read More

After Decades of Silence from Olympics Committee, Murdered Israeli Athletes to Finally be Recognized

May 25, 2015 | By Maayan Jaffe
After Decades of Silence from Olympics Committee, Murdered Israeli Athletes to Finally be Recognized

A first-ever IOC-supported official memorial to victims of the Munich Massacre will be erected in Munich in time for Rio 2016

Read More

WATCH: Journalist Shows What it's Like to Walk Around as a Jew in Cairo

May 25, 2015 | By Ynet News
WATCH: Journalist Shows What it's Like to Walk Around as a Jew in Cairo

Egyptian journalist gets harassed dressed as a religious Jew, though he does get a couple compliments too

Read More

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

'Golden Boy' Nadav Guedj hopes to live up to his name

Read More

Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

May 22, 2015 | By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels
Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

18 out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner are from the Holy Land

Read More

More Headlines