What comes to your mind when you think of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? Having relied mostly on Western medicine to treat my illnesses all my life, I admit my perception of TCM had always been pretty warped and shallow even as a Chinese myself. Apart from the unusually bitter herbal tea my Mom occasionally makes to nourish the family (and I’d always have to pinch my nose while forcing the tea down my throat so as to avoid tasting the bitterness), I had also personally seen how cupping works at a makeshift sinseh’s stall. Although the man being cupped never showed any signs of distress (he probably was already accustomed to the pain. Who knows?), it still looked scarily painful enough for me to generalise that all TCM modalities of healing are a form of torture.
But after an excruciating session of facial extraction last month, that kinda got me thinking again. If people are actually willing to undergo the process of extraction despite the pain, surely there must be some benefits to it. Likewise, the same for TCM treatments, except that they are a lot less painful, perhaps causing only brief discomfort or tingling sensation which will go away before you know it.
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There are many TCM practitioners in Singapore whom you can seek medical help from but Eu Yan Sang is unarguably one of the most trusted and reputable clinics (more on this later!) around given their long history in the business of TCM and large customer base.
Luckily for me, I was given the golden opportunity to consult one of their physicians with regards to my health concerns at their Novena Specialist Centre outlet and I’m very excited to share my experience with you guys!
Getting to know Eu Yan Sang (余仁生)
Contrary to popular belief, the household brand isn’t homegrown nor was it from Hong Kong. It was actually founded in Perak, Malaysia by Eu Kong in 1879 to nurse tin miners battered by illnesses and poor living conditions back to health. Currently managing the enterprise is Eu Kong’s great grandson, Singaporean Richard Eu, who wanted to keep the last family business alive.
The Eu Tong Sen street along Chinatown was named after Eu Kong’s eldest son in recognition of his generous contributions in World War I to further the British efforts, as well as in social causes. After his death, Eu Yan Sang continues to be actively involved in community works under the helm of his successor.
Health screening at Eu Yan Sang Wellness Clinic
That’s right, besides the many stores which stock up raw and packed herbs islandwide, Eu Yan Sang also has its own chain of clinics! I honestly didn’t know about that until I was invited to a one-on-one health consultation with Physician Neo Min Jun. I’ve been seriously living under a rock -_-
As I was running a little late for the appointment at 6pm (due to work), I hastened my pace from Novena MRT to Novena Specialist Centre, which is fortunately just a stone’s throw away from each other. As a result, my temperature and blood pressure skyrocketed and kinda puzzled the clinic assistant who took the readings for me a little. Hahaha!
Physician Neo is effectively bilingual. Upon entering her room, she asked if I was comfortable with conversing in Mandarin or English, to which I chose the latter because I jiak kantang (or rather, I wouldn’t be able to understand all the TCM terms that she’d most likely bring up). Following that, she went on to seek more information about my sleeping habits, eating habits, lifestyle and so on. I could see the subtle shock in her eyes (the only facial features visible on her partially masked face) when I told her that I had been sleeping at 6am for the past 2 months. On top of that, she also checked my pulse and tongue.
As she was busy punching the keys on her computer keyboard, I was silently enjoying the soothing sound of the trickling fountain water in the background. Soon after, my first TCM health report was printed!
My TCM health report from Eu Yan Sang
My folder consists of a 4-page introductory section that explains the purpose and features of TCM, and a 9-page customised health report (with my full name and NRIC number indicated on every single page) detailing the healthy living do’s and don’ts in both English and Chinese languages.
For those not well-versed in TCM terms like me, basically everything in the universe – including our body – has both Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) attributes which are opposites and interdependent of each other. The example my physician gave me was the presence of “water” (yin, our bloody and bodily fluids) and “fire” (yang, our Qi or energy) elements in our body. We have to keep both in balance because failure to do so will either extinguish the fire or evaporate the water (水能灭火，火能烧干水). When one of these energies diminishes (阴阳失调), the body suffers and becomes more susceptible to falling ill.
And because of all the late nights, my “fire” has been constantly drying out my “water” to keep my body going (and it’s not easy to replenish these Yin and Yang energies). Therefore, Physician Neo had diagnosed a Yin-deficiency in me, based on my physical characteristics and what she had derived from my pulse rate, tongue texture and possibly other factors. Many general characteristics of a Yin-deficient individual resonated with me. Having too little bodily fluid, for instance, is one because I hardly drink up. I also have yellow urine, hard and dry stools and feel constipated. Most importantly, I am very easily agitated! My poor boyfriend and loved ones are often on the receiving end of my bad temper 😐
Physician Neo also went through the report with me and gave valuable advice on how to turn my health around at the same time. I learnt that TCM studies the body as an organic whole. In other words, an external problem (e.g. red eyes) may be of internal origin (e.g. liver issues). TCM doesn’t just treat the symptoms – it actually gets to the root of the problem. However, some people (especially youths like myself) may not notice these symptoms because prior to that, conditions have not yet developed into diseases. Even if they do experience certain discomfort such as chronic fatigue, headaches and poor quality of sleep, these sub-health issues are often neglected or overlooked.
Watch the video to learn more about sub-health issues!
In my case, I don’t present any symptoms on the surface due to my young age. But through the hassle-free health screening, my physician was able to identify my problem, which was a Yin-deficiency caused by my late nights. To resolve this issue, I’ve got to sleep early, preferably by 11pm, or 1pm latest because that’s when the liver (the organ with the most stressful job because it monitors all our 7 emotions) detoxes. Once I’ve missed the organ’s repair timing, I will have to wait til the next day!
The healing power of sleep
Organ’s daily repair/maintenance schedule
♦ 11pm – 1am: Gall bladder – time to sleep
♦ 1am – 3am: Liver
♦ 3am – 5am: Lungs
♦ 5am – 7am: Large intestines (or colon) – wake up and poop!
♦ 7am – 9am: Stomach – have breakfast
♦ 9am – 11am: Spleen
♦ 11am – 1pm: Heart
♦ 1pm – 3pm: Small intestines
♦ 3pm – 7pm: Kidneys and Bladder
♦ 7pm – 9pm: Pancreas
♦ 9pm – 11pm: Blood vessels and Arteries
Source: Physician Neo and additional info from healthreviser.com
Note: The human body functions according to the meridian clock,
not the body clock! So don’t have the silly thinking like me that the body would grow accustomed to your unhealthy sleeping habits 😄
It’s gonna be tough resetting my body clock but for the sake of my health, I’ll try. *fingers crossed* I definitely don’t want to look older than my peers 10 years down the road and be menopausal earlier than anyone else!
Do you know?
Women age faster than men.
In the olden days, females underwent puberty at 14. However, with GMO foods embedded in our food system these days, the age has been lowered significantly over the years. The child-bearing years for women is between 21 and 35 years old. Thereafter, female fertility deteriorates and women start to age and subsequently go through menopause after 49 years old (7×7). Men only experience andropause after the age of 64 (8×8).
Another thing I was told to avoid was overly warming and drying food such as glutinous rice (an exception for me), chili, garlic, leek, cinnamon, dried ginger and mutton because they deplete my bodily fluids. Adding on to the list are fried food (which I’d be permissible to eat – in moderation – so long as I sleep early *sigh*) and *drums roll*…. my favourite BREWED GREEN TEA because it’s too cooling for my body system 😥 I should instead consume food such as lotus roots, black fungus, sugar cane, pear, wolfberry and red dates because they are more moisturising in nature.
Omg…… so much sacrifice to make. I’m not going to lie. I need time to get used to this lifestyle. I will certainly cheat a little, for now. Haha!
Get your own TCM health report!
After my session with Physician Neo, the ignoramus in me was tremendously enlightened. The purpose of TCM is to protect us from illnesses and it’s advisable to take care of our health now while we’re still young. Internal problems that arise now can still be reversed but it will be too late by the time symptoms start to emerge.
The best way to prevent these sub-health issues from developing and becoming emergencies is early discovery and of course, to treat them at the root before they worsen. You can begin by getting your health screened at Eu Yan Sang and obtaining your very own TCM health report… at a special rate!
That’s right, it’s not gonna burn a hole in your pocket! 🙂
FOR READERS OF FIONASEAH.COM
Get your own TCM Health Report at Eu Yan Sang.
Simply call the clinic to make an appointment and quote “My TCM Health Report” to enjoy Health Report service at $38 (Usual price: $48),
until 31 Dec 2015.
For more information on the availability of the service and clinic numbers,
How do you find TCM in general? Have you consulted any TCM physician? Do share your experience with me in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! 🙂