Sanfutie (Sanfu Tie or San Fu Tie) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment that involves placing small and square medicated herbal patches (plasters or bandages) on various places on the back and neck. The locations of the Sanfutie patches correspond with certain acupoints which are thought to treat or prevent specific diseases.
The Chinese phrase Sanfu refers to the three or four ten-day periods of the year which are predicted to be the hottest. The word Tie means plaster or bandage. The Sanfu periods are typically the time when this treatment is applied, following the Chinese credo Dong Bing Xia Zhi, which means “winter disease, summer cure.”
The idea behind this herbal treatment is that the winter time is full of viruses and other conditions that can make ill. According to TCM, we can strengthen the body during summer months to prevent certain diseases or discomforts in the winter months. Think of illnesses such as flu, coughs, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma and arthritis.
Depending on the style and practitioner, the herbal patches are kept on the body for a duration of several minutes to several hours.