How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Improve Your Health?

Ruth Lee
29 April, 2020

With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system to lower their chances of being affected. Other than maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, some may even take supplements to help boost their immunity. While that is good and all, have you ever considered going for something more natural, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? TCM involves the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, qi-gong and many other traditional therapies to treat illnesses and it can certainly help boost your immunity during these times!

TCM: A therapy steeped in tradition

The traditional philosophy behind TCM is this: our bodies consist of Qi (which means ‘air’ in Chinese) and Blood, which are vital energies circulating through us at all times. If this normal flow is interrupted or blocked, we may easily fall sick as it negatively affects our bodies. So TCM is all about making sure these vital energies are flowing normally.

Acupuncture: Let the needles do their magic

Acupuncture works by stimulating specific portions of the autonomic nervous system through selected acupoints. While that sounds like a mouthful, it basically means that it triggers responses in the immune system to enhance blood circulation, which unblocks pathways.

‘Does it hurt?’ This is probably the first question every client asks when I tell them about acupuncture. I don’t blame them for asking, because I’ll be inserting needles into their bodies! I would say that it’s a different experience for everyone, but it’s usually not painful. The needles are hair thin, so you’ll only feel a slight prick. I have treated kids and even babies with acupuncture, so yeah, it’s definitely a bearable experience.

The needles will remain in your body for around 20-25 minutes before they are taken out. It may sound peculiar, but patients often feel so relaxed that they doze off with needles all over them! People who come out of an acupuncture session feeling relaxed and refreshed, and that’s because the flow of their Qi is restored.

Cupping: The only hickeys you can show off to everyone

Cupping works with the same principles as acupuncture. It involves suctioning which is created either by heated cups or a handheld pump. The cups will remain on the skin for 5 to 15 minutes, often leaving their signature circular hickey-like bruises once they are removed.

These bruises are indications of internal pathogens such as coldness or dampness, which will fade within a few days. One thing to note is that the darker the bruises, the more stressed your body is. While cupping can alleviate the muscle pain and stress, it should also act as a good reminder to take care of yourself!

Herbal Soup: Basically TCM at Home

Stewed soups are no doubt a staple for Chinese family dinners, especially in Cantonese cuisine, famous for its Lao Huo Tang (Double-stewed soups). These soups use simple ingredients like pork, chicken and vegetables, but can also incorporate traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients like ginseng, goji berries and Chinese yams where you can get in TCM stores.

I would like to introduce a medicinal ingredient you might be familiar with: fish mint. It is an ingredient that is in season right now. Fish mint is very common in TCM, and it is seen as a natural antibiotic by Chinese medicine practitioners.

Chinese people also put fish mint in stewed soups to prevent cold and flu, so you should try making this soup at home too! I have just shared a video above to demonstrate how to make a Fish mint lung cleansing soup with Fish mint, sugarcane, water chestnuts and apples.  It is a delicious drink for everyone in the family.

Cupping at Home: Definitely an Instagram worthy experience

To maintain regular wellness, I usually recommend undergoing acupuncture 1-3 times a week and cupping once a week. This ensures that your pathways are unblocked and open to protect you from falling sick. But with everyone stuck at home, I recommend an alternative: cupping at home!

Yes, you can actually do cupping yourself. This set of AcuTouch energy cups that I’ve created makes cupping a treatment that is very doable at home. These AcuTouch cups are made of silicone, so you can form the vacuum simply by squeezing the cup to expel the air. This means that anyone can do cupping at home and enjoy the benefits they like. I think filming the process is going to be interesting, so what better time to do it than now!

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