TCM

Is TCM a good form of medical treatment?

The condition you’ve described sounds like neuropathic pain, which could be due to Cervical Spine nerve impingement/PID/spondylosis and similar conditions. It may be useful to bring her to an orthopaedic surgeon to get an MRI scan done and find out the medical cause. Common things happen commonly, and thus the most likely condition needs to be ruled out first, upon which other rarer conditions can be investigated for. TCM may be a good way of complementing western medical science, but it shouldn’t replace proven medical science as the main form of diagnosis and treatment.

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What training is needed to become a TCM physician?

This question brings me back to my undergraduate days. My journey with TCM started with a double degree in Biomedical Sciences and Traditional Chinese Medicine that is jointly conferred by the Nanyang Technological University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Just like any medical student, I had to go through 5 years of study and clinical rotation. In addition, I also had to fulfill 400 hours of post-graduate clinical internship before I was allowed to sit for the Singapore TCM Physicians Registration Examination (STRE).

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Is TCM only effective for chronic diseases?

Acute Coronary Syndrome is a medical emergency and should be attended promptly by a hospital medical team. However, you may consider TCM treatment once the condition stabilizes, and we can explore the possibility of preventing the deterioration or slowing the progression of ACS. ACS may be managed under ‘chest pain’ (胸痹) in TCM and a consultation is necessary to assess your body constitution and the primary cause to it. TCM is also effective in disease prevention especially when one starts to show early signs of certain diseases.

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Do TCM physicians diagnose every illness just by taking the pulse?

This is a question I get very often. Pulse taking is crucial, but does not necessary provide adequate information to make a diagnosis. A physician collects medical history, signs, and symptoms through the four diagnostic methods. He/she then analyzes the information, and derives a syndrome. This analysis lays down the foundation for a treatment methodology and plan. The four diagnostic methods are: Inspection (望): tongue color, coating, gait, facial expression, wound assessment etc. Olfactory and Auscultation (闻): cough and lung sounds, abnormal odors, vocals etc.

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How do TCM physicians go about creating a treatment plan for a patient?

Hi Wei Jie, We were taught the various organ systems and their functions during our TCM Diagnostics module. Some examples are the spleen governs the digestive system, the lung oversees immunity, and the heart is in charge of the mind. The basis of TCM diagnosis is what we called syndromes classification (辨证型), which are sets of signs and symptoms grouped together. A physician collects medical history, signs and symptoms through the four diagnostic methods, analyzes the information, and derives a syndrome. It then lays down the foundation for a treatment methodology and plan.

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What are the different body constitutions in TCM?

Body type is a mode of classification founded on TCM principles and observations which categorizes an individual’s constitution based on his/her predominant physical and psychological characteristics. Hence, this explains someone's temperament and susceptibility to certain medical conditions. An individual often exhibits a principal body type with a combination of the others. You were told that you have a yin and cold body type, in other words – Yang deficient (low in Yang energy).

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How effective is TCM?

It depends on what medical condition you are seeking treatment for. Acupuncture, which is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) is advantageous towards painful conditions such as sprain, muscle strain, arthritic disorders. Some patients experience immediate relief after a single treatment. Herbal prescription, however, requires more time to take effect as the dose builds up in the bloodstream.

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How does TCM or acupuncture help with hair loss?

There could be many reasons attributing to hair loss such as stress, poor diet, hormonal changes, genetic etc. For some, simple lifestyle changes might help to reverse hair loss while others will need to seek treatment for it. From the TCM perspective, we don’t look at just hair loss alone but an overall health condition. During consultation is where the TCM physician would use TCM diagnosis principles such as deficiency in kidney yin, liver and blood ; heat and dampness stagnation; liver Qi stagnation to address your various issues.

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How can TCM help to improve bad breath? (photo)

Thank you for your enquiry and keen interest in TCM. After assessing your tongue, you may have a weak digestive system (as seen in the yellow coating towards the end of the tongue). Food is not entirely broken down and absorbed, which results in fermentation and presenting as bad breath. The tip of your tongue appears red, which signifies heaty in the heart system. You may be undergoing stressful period and tend to sleep late. This reduces salivary secretion and certain bacteria may flourish in your oral cavity. In conclusion, your body is stressed out, accompanying a weak digestive system.

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What could be the cause of sudden fatigue that goes away with rest?

Thank you for your enquiry and keen interest in TCM. These sensations can be due to various reaosns, such as a low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), low blood pressure (hypotension), anxiety (psychological) and sometimes no reason at all. You may want to rule them out by seeing a western medical practitioner. Your discomfort may be managed by TCM under 'Dizziness". Typical reasons are Qi and Blood deficiency, Blood stagnation, Obstruction by Phlegm and Dampness, hyperactivity of Liver yang. A physical consultation is necessary as treatment plan is formulated based on which one you belong to.

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Are all the TCM medication prescribed to the patients regulated?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this issue. Traditional Chinese Medicine is broadly classified into two types: 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. Chinese proprietary medicine (CPM) (finished form such as capsule, tablets and granules). Currently, only CPMs are subject to pre-market approval and licensing for their import and sale in Singapore.

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What does ‘qi’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine mean?

'Qi' has a philosophical root from Taoism, and is believed to be the vital energy behind all occurrences in the universe and living entity. As you can see from the table shown below,'Qi' and its movement plays a pivotal role for these processes to happen. In the absence of the energy source, there will be no structural or chemical changes and everything will be stagnant.

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What is the meaning of toxicity in Chinese Medicine?

Hi Ming Lie, Toxicity refers to undesirable and harmful effects produced by an herb that is unintended for its therapeutic effect. Toxicity may occur from overdose or when a drug has a narrow therapeutic index; the difference in its effective dose and toxic dose is very narrow. Apricot seeds contain a compound which is converted to cyanide in the body, which inhibits the brain’s respiratory centre, explaining its ability to relieve cough and asthma. It is also used to relieve constipation because of its oily content.

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Why is it possible for TCM physicians use totally different prescriptions to treat the same condition?

Hi Kheng Siong, There are numerous reasons that can cause insomnia. For example, a blocked airway due to allergies, heartburn from indigestion, painful medical conditions such as arthritis, premenopausal symptoms, or psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. So we come back to the concept of syndromes classification (辨证型), in which insomnia is divided into five syndromes. The physician you consulted most probably diagnosed each of you under a different syndrome, hence, two completely different prescriptions.

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What could be the causes of an early period?

Hi! Assuming your regular cycle is 28-30 days, the next blood release happening on the 10th day of your cycle is something out of the ordinary. There are a few indications to look out for to ascertain it is a period and not abnormal vaginal bleeding due to other causes. 1. Is the amount/flow, colour and consistency of the blood the same as a normal period? 2. Is the length of your blood flow i. e. 4-7 days? 3. Is there any spotting, blood lumps (dark sticky lumps) or other substances, including discharge that was observed?

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