34 Questions answered
In short, the answer is yes. Research conducted by cellular biologist Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari, head of the integrative medicine unit of Tel Aviv University’s medical school, and Keren Sela, a TCM practitioner specialising in women’s health have found that when combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65. 5% of the test group was able to conceive, compared to 39. 4% of the control group, which received no herbal or acupuncture therapy. In the test group, 41. 4% delivered healthy babies as compared with 26. 9% of the control group.
When a patient visits a TCM physician for treatment, the TCM physician would start diagnosing the patient just like a Western doctor. We would listen to the symptoms affecting you and examine you for signs such as complexion, movement of your body, tongue and pulse. Once sufficient information is gathered, we would assess the patient’s situation in its entire context to get a more holistic understanding of your condition. TCM physicians use a set of diagnostic principles to identify the imbalance in the patient’s body.
From a TCM perspective, there are two main types of causes for infertility: An abnormality in the reproductive organs, which are not treatable with medication. An imbalance of Yin and Yang in our system, causing dysfunction to our reproductive system. From TCM perspective, your “kidney" can affect your reproductive system (肾主生殖) and that energy from our “kidney" (qi) is critical in the development of our reproductive abilities. Therefore, the main cause of infertility in both men and women is usually “kidney deficiency” (肾虚).
As far back as about 2000 years ago, the earliest TCM texts ⻩帝内经 (Huangdi Neijing, Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor) have detailed how one’s age could affect their fertility. It is written in 素问。上古天真论] (Basic Questions - The Universal Truth), which dictates the states of health that a man and woman would go through as they age, including their reproductive abilities.
TCM physician can treat insomnia through meridian massages, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. TCM Massage treatment and/ or acupuncture can be performed on acupuncture points such as Bai Hui (百会) and Shi Mian Xue (失眠穴) to improve the patient’s quality of sleep.  As far back as in the Han dynasty over 2000 years ago, TCM herbal formula Suan Zao Ren Tang (酸枣仁汤) was used to treat sleeping disorders. Research has shown that Suan Zao Ren Tang is useful for Menopausal women who experience sleep difficulty as a symptom.  References: 1. https://www. straitstimes.
In ancient times, TCM physicians diagnose infertility by asking a series of questions (symptoms) and examining the patient’s tongue and pulse (signs) to determine the underlying cause of infertility. Some of the common questions (non-exhaustive) for the ladies are: How many days it takes for the patient to complete one menstrual cycle. The number of times the patient has gotten pregnant and the number of times she had given birth. If the patient experiences menstrual cramps. The patient’s observation of her vaginal discharge.
The main risk of Traditional Chinese medicine fertility treatments are that the patient may be allergic to the herbal medication. Hence, it is very important to inform your TCM physician of any drug allergies you may have so the physician could provide you with an alternative form of treatment should you be allergic. Other than this, TCM fertility treatments are generally safe and can even be used concurrently with Western fertility treatments to increase your chances of conceiving.
How much is the cost of TCM fertility treatment in Singapore, and what affects the cost of this treatment?
It depends on your medical condition and the type of treatment you receive. Typically the cost of treatment is about: Consultation: $20 to $50 Acupuncture: $30 to $50 Most of the costs typically come from the medication. If you opt for the herbal decoction (Brewing herbs), the medication could cost between $15 to $50 per day depending on the type of Chinese medicine is used. If the ingredients of the medication are more difficult to acquire, like Ginseng (人参) or Velvet Antler (鹿茸), then the cost will tend to be higher.
For sub-fertile patients (women below the age of 35), typically conceive within 2 treatment cycles (The duration of 1 treatment cycle being 3 months). For patients with more serious fertility issues such low ovarian reserves, PCOS, severe oligozoospermia (very low sperm count), severe nercozoospermia (high percentage of dead sperm), severe asthennozoospermia (high percentage of immotile sperm), it might take a longer time to conceive.
In TCM perspective, it is believed that stroke is a result of a deficiency, manifested as an excessive syndrome. In this case, the deficiency is mostly referred to as insufficient blood and qi, and liver and kidney deficiency. On the other hand, excessive syndrome refers to the blockage of meridians caused by phlegm and poor blood circulation. Acupuncture is useful for stroke recovery and extensive clinical studies have supported the use of acupuncture for stroke patients' rehabilitation, especially during the acute and early stages of stroke.
Stomach flu is also known as viral gastroenteritis, which is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus called Coxsackievirus. The symptoms include those that occur during flu, like fever, cough, sneezing, and blocked nose, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. In TCM perspective there is no corresponding TCM disease name for stomach flu.
Tuina massage is one of the external treatments in TCM, which is useful for pain management. Tuina can help to relieve tension and stiffness of muscles and to improve localized blood and qi circulation. During tui na therapy, the pressure is applied to acupressure points, meridians, and different muscle groups to relieve pain. Tuina massage is not harmful to pregnant woman per se, but they should be cautious when receiving tuina treatment. It is recommended to get a certified and highly-experienced tuina physician to administer the tuina treatment for them.
Pinched nerves refer to the condition where the tissues surrounding a nerve presses on it, causing symptoms such as: numbness, weakness, tingling sensation or pain. It can occur in different parts of the body, for example, on the lower spine, where a slipped disc can press onto the sciatic nerve, causing radiating pain at the back of the leg. Pinched nerves can also happen in the forearm, where the median nerve is being pressed by surrounding tissues (carpal tunnel syndrome).
Spotting refers to the abnormal uterus bleeding before a period. Generally, spotting occurs during ovulation phase which is the 14th day to 21st day starting from the first day of menstrual bleeding. Spotting usually lasts a few days while menstrual bleeding lasts for 5-7 days. Also, the volume of blood during spotting is usually much less than that during menstrual bleeding. The colour of spotting tends to be brown instead of red. In TCM, spotting is referred to as "经间期出血" which translates to "intermenstrual bleeding".
How safe are TCM herbs in Singapore, given that China TCM herbs are known to contain high levels of lead, metals and pesticides?
Traditional Chinese medicines are broadly classified into two types: I) Medicinal materials (from plants, animals, or minerals in their natural states, or in processed forms that have undergone simple processing, such as trimming or desiccation. II) Chinese proprietary medicine (CPM) (finished form such as capsule, tablets and granules). As of now, only CPMs are subject to pre-market approval and licensing for their import and sale in Singapore. I have attached the links on HSA regulatory framework on medicinal materials and CPMs for the ease of your reading.