SOFIA – Mitko Stankov, 52, starts his day every day with baduanjin, a qigong exercise that consists of a series of slow, relaxing movements. This traditional, low-intensity exercise for the mind and body has been practiced by millions of Chinese for centuries.

“I start qigong every day and do it again before I go to bed,” says Stankov. “I combine standard qigong with baduanjin. This is a ‘secret course’ that my doctor recommended to me.”

Stankov learned about traditional Chinese medicine 30 years ago. One of his friends, a judo athlete, was injured one day and had difficulty walking.

“Our doctors tried to treat him, but he was still a long way from kneeling,” he says. “There was a Chinese doctor in the neighborhood who did acupuncture, and my friend went to his clinic.”

After two rounds of treatment, things got better and Stankov’s friend recovered.

“That was the first time I heard about TCM,” says Stankov, admitting that he had doubts about the therapeutic effects at the time.

A decade later, Stankov’s stiff joints and sore muscles forced him to seek medical help.

Acupuncture combined with herbs relieved his pain, and this experience made Stankov a believer in TCM. Then he started reading Chinese medicine books which introduced him to all kinds of herbal remedies.

Stankov is now completely fascinated by the holistic approach of TCM.

“With this treatment, not only the specific complaints, but everything that is associated with it can be eliminated. The body parts form a connected system,” says Stankov.

In Bulgaria, locals have been using herbal medicines for ages, so it’s not surprising that they have an affinity for TCM.

Although various herbs such as mulberries, ginger, and daisies used in TCM are available in Bulgaria, Stankov noted that locals are not necessarily aware of their medicinal uses. In order to educate his compatriots, Stankov started a website where he introduces Chinese herbal medicines and their effects to his readers.

“Traditional Chinese medicine has a long history,” he says. “Practitioners treated many diseases before modern medicine appeared.”


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