Feature: TCM – A Brief Guide
Stuck with needles to make you better? It’s a very real medical process here in Southeast Asia, where the use of needles and herbs plus other holistic approaches combine to make up TCM, or ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’.
- TCM is a mix of acupuncture
(healing using needles) and the taking of various medicinal herbs. It is an
ancient form of medicine practised in China and around Southeast Asia
throughout the years - longer, so the professionals say, than Western medicine.
- Needles used in acupuncture are
manipulated by TCM professionals to aid the better movement of qi
("chi") around the body. Blocked meridians (or qi pathways) results
in illness, so unblocking those pathways with acupuncture allows free movement
of qi, thus better health.
- The taking of herbs also dates
back thousands of years, to ancient shamans who used specific blends in order
to heal, prolong life and promote better health. Eu Yan Sang is a popular
herb specialist and has several stores across the island, including one on
Chinatown’s South Bridge Road.
- Both techniques incorporate the
theory of the Five Elements – metal, wood, water, fire and earth – all of which
correspond to different areas of the body.
- Moxibustion involves the burning
of herbs over a patient's skin around the problem area, using a special kind of
wick made from "moxa".
- These days Chinatown is full of
herb shops and acupuncture clinics catering to all ailments, but you might need
a translator to help you pick out what you need. As TCM is a holistic approach,
meaning it treats the whole body and mind, it would be better to start at the
top and book in for a full medical with a registered practitioner.
- The Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act (passed in 2000) requires that all practitioners be registered with the TCM Practitioners board.