Most of us are familiar with the use of acupuncture in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Singapore, but there is more to it than needles. TCM treatments can include cupping , tuina massage, moxibustion and herbal concoctions for fertility, children and even seniors!
The flow of qi and circulation in TCM is considered the oldest form of bodywork. It goes back thousands of years, and its long-established theories continue to be practiced today at modern treatment centres like Yi TCM in Singapore. The physicians here are bilingual, and they specialise in TCM for sub-fertility, pregnancy and gynaecology, amongst other disciplines. We asked them more about their work.
What can TCM treat?
The methods used at Yi TCM include acupuncture, diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise and massage. Physicians at Yi TCM can help patients mitigate gynaecological and fertility issues for women, pain management for seniors, insomnia and stress.
Needless to say, in order to benefit from the full range of TCM treatments, you must not be averse to needles, but an experienced physician knows how to handle delicate patients.
Yi TCM in Singapore also offers paediatric TCM for children using treatments according to their age and ailment. Paediatric tui na, a form of TCM massage, has been helpful for common conditions seen in children such as respiratory disorders, allergies and gastrointestinal issues. Parents should consult their paediatrician or doctor prior to starting any type of alternative treatment such as TCM.
The type of treatment employed at Yi TCM varies from patient to patient; cupping and acupuncture are used to help to improve circulation and muscle relaxation. Also used for circulation is moxibustion where dried mugwort leaves are heated on meridians close to the skin surface. TCM herbs are chosen according to the patient’s condition and constitution.
What can patients expect from a treatment?
In most instances, patients experience minimal pain during or after TCM treatments such as cupping, acupuncture and moxibustion. They may expect a pulling sensation from the suction cups for cupping, and heat during moxibustion. During acupuncture, patients may feel slight pain and discomfort such as soreness and aches when the acupuncture point is stimulated.
TCM treatments may not be for everyone. Some patients may feel dizziness during acupuncture, especially if they’re not well rested or they come for treatment on an empty stomach. Other after-effects of acupuncture and cupping include fatigue and mild aches, but these resolve within a day.
Talk to the physician if you become anxious before or during the treatment. Some discomfort is inevitable when a needle hits a “sweet spot”, but a good physician knows how to keep the stimulation minimal and comfortable.
Patients are encouraged to rest for 20 to 30 minutes after treatments, but the entire process should feel relaxed. Most patients feel lighter and report that they sleep better afterwards.
What are some misconceptions about TCM in Singapore?
There is a common misconception that “pulse reading” allows a TCM physician to magically discern the patient’s condition. The pulse does not tell the whole story. A well-trained and experienced TCM physician approaches any patient in the same way a Western doctor does. He or she will find out what your main discomfort is and explore any other accompanying symptoms. They will then take your pulse and study the colouration of the tongue. The combination of these diagnostic tools, along with the medical reports that patients provide, allows them to come up with a diagnosis and customise treatment.
For this article, we spoke to Na Yi Ting (Principal Physician), Amanda Chua (Head Physician, HarbourFront Centre), and Physicians Aileen Chua and Peh Tian Chi.
TripleOne: 8511 0418
HarbourFront Centre: 8511 7466 20 Cecil Street, #02-03 (Opening February 2023)
This article first appeared in the January 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
Curious about other alternative treatments available in Singapore? Read about the types or complementary medicine therapies to help your mental health.