How to talk about Therapy in Chinese
Having worked as a speech therapist in China I learnt something interesting.
It is really hard to talk about therapy in Chinese!
Therapy is, of course, a broad term that can mean so many things. Generally, people in China understood ‘therapy’ or a ‘therapist’.
治疗师 zhìliáo shī
However as a speech therapist trying to explain my occupation I was constantly finding myself saying “kind of, but not really“.
China is opening up more and more to the world. There is a curiosity growing to better understand all types of therapy.
There are big differences between Chinese and Western Medicine.
This article isn’t a critique of either but simply trying to make it easier to express the types of therapy in Chinese as well as some standard terminology to help explain further.
Psychology in Chinese
Psychology – is the science of behaviour and mind.
心理学 – 是研究行为和心理活动的学科
xīnlǐ xué – shì yánjiū xíngwéi hé xīnlǐ huódòng de xuékē
However, if you wanted to elaborate on that here are some helpful psychological terms:
- Assessment: 评估 píng gū
- Counselling: 心理咨询 xīnlǐ zīxún
- Cognition: 认知 rèn zhī
- Developmental: 发展 fā zhǎn
- Mental state: 精神状态 jīngshén zhuàngtài
Speech Therapy in Chinese
Speech Therapy – is the treatment of people who have difficulties with speech, language, fluency, voice and social communication.
言语辅导 – 是对那些在演讲，语言表达，说话流利，声音跟社交沟通方面有问难的人的治疗
yán yǔ fǔ dǎo – shì duì nàxiē zài yǎnjiǎng, yǔyán biǎodá, shuōhuà liúlì, shēngyīn gēn shèjiāo gōutōng fāngmiàn yǒu wèn nàn de rén de zhìliáo
Another way to say Speech Therapy is 言语干预 yán yǔ gān yù
If you want to go a bit further in your explanation here are some standard speech therapists terminology:
- Speech: 演讲 yǎn jiǎng
- Language: 语言 yǔ yán
- Fluency: 流利 liú lì
- Voice: 声音 shēng yīn
- Social Communication: 社会交流 shèhuì jiāo liú
Occupational Therapy in Chinese
An occupational therapist (OT) helps people participate in everyday activities. This could be throwing a ball, writing, using a shower or eating.
zhí néng fǔ dǎo (OT) bāngzhù rénmen cānyù rìcháng huódòng. Zhè kěnéng shì diū qiú, xiězì, xǐzǎo huò chīfàn.
Another way of saying OT is 职能干预 zhí néng gān yù
Here are some terms to help explain OT in Chinese
- Fine Motor: 小肌肉群运动技能 xiǎo jī ròu qún yùn dòng jì néng
- Gross Motor: 大肌肉群运动技能dà jī ròu qún yùndòng jìnéng
- Sensory: 感官 gǎnguān
- Handwriting: 手写 shǒuxiě
- Play: 玩 wán
Behavioural Therapy in Chinese
Behavioural therapy – seeks to identify and help change potentially self-destructive or unhealthy behaviours.
行为辅导 – 旨在识别和帮助改变(患者)潜在的自我毁灭或不健康行为。
xíng wéi fǔ dǎo – zhǐ zài shí bié hé bāng zhù gǎi biàn huànzhě qián zài de zì wǒ huǐ miè huò bù jiàn kāng xíng wéi。
Another option to say behavioural therapy is 行为干预 xíng wéi gān yù
Helpful terms for behavioural therapists to explain their occupation are:
- Autism: 自闭症 zì bì zhèng
- Behaviour: 行为 xíng wéi
- Intervention: 干预 gān yù
- Prompt: 提示 tí shì
Physiotherapy in Chinese
Physiotherapy – is the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise.
物理疗法 – 是通过按摩，热处理和运动等物理方法来治疗疾病，损伤或畸形。
wùlǐ liáofǎ shì tōngguò ànmó, rèchǔlǐ hé yùndòng děng wùlǐ fāngfǎ lái zhìliáo jíbìng, sǔnshāng huò jīxíng.
A shorter way to say physio in Mandarin is 理疗 lǐliáo
Helpful vocabulary to explain physiotherapy:
- Muscles: 肌肉 jī ròu
- Ligaments: 韧带 rèn dài
- Stretch: 伸展 shēn zhǎn
- Massage: 按摩 àn mó
- Exercise: 练习 liàn xí
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Therapy in Chinese – FAQ’s
Therapy is pronounced “zhìliáo” (治疗) in Mandarin Chinese.
Chinese therapy balls are called ‘Baoding balls’ 保定健身球 bǎodìng jiànshēn qiú. They are two small balls you can hold in one hand. To use them you must rotate both balls in one hand. They’re intended to reduce stress, improve finger dexterity and aid in the recovery of muscle.
The claimed benefits of cupping are pain relief, muscle relaxation and improved overall health by removing the energy blockages in the body. Disclaimer: studies on cupping therapy are said to be ‘low quality’ and the evidence supporting it is ‘not very strong’.
Chinese massage therapy is the name for a group of massage therapies practised within traditional Chinese medicine. Meaning it accompanies other remedies such as dietary regulation, herbal medicine, acupuncture, exercise.
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