EYS TCM Clinic

Covid-19 in TCM’s Point of View

heart
Covid-19 in TCM’s Point of View

Over the past thousands of years of Chinese history, TCM has battled against hundreds of plagues that led to the accumulation of effective treatments and prevention methods to alleviate the symptoms experienced. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as we experience today, is also classified as a “plague”.

Unlike a common flu that is caused by common pathogenic factors (e.g. wind, cold, heat, humidity, dryness and fire), plague is often associated with dampness and toxin pathogens. Currently, the clinical observations in China have shown that COVID-19 is commonly caused by the interactions of dampness, toxin, heat, and stasis, of which dampness being the most dominate pathogenic factor.

For mild to moderate stages of COVID-19, the common symptoms observed are low fever, tiredness, dry cough, muscle ache, nausea or diarrhea. The common syndrome is “lung with dampness toxin retention” and hence the TCM treatment principle is to eliminate exterior pathogens, heat and dampness, detoxify and invigorate the spleen.

Why do some people have it worst then? This is because COVID-19 is a disease that presents itself in different stages. For the critical stages, the toxin further attacks the lung and heart, at worst blocking the vital organ’s function and resulting in the collapse of yang qi in the body. This results in high fever, shortness of breath, unconsciousness, multiple functional failure and shock. The treatment principle at this critical stage aims to ventilate lung qi, remove heat to restore consciousness and to recuperate the yang qi.

Here are some tips to help with your recovery from Covid-19.
Do:
consume smaller meal portions at the beginning and slowly increase portion as your appetite returns.
Start off with food that are easy to digest, for example diluted porridge.

Incorporate other nutritious food as you regain appetite, such as thicker porridge, fish meat and chicken soup.

Tips: To remove excess dampness and strengthen your spleen, you can boil lotus leaves in water first and use this water to later cook your porridge. You can also add Chinese barley (薏苡仁), Chinese yam (山药), lotus seed (莲子), tangerine peel (陈皮) and Qian Shi (芡实) into your diet too.

Don’t:
over-consume cold and raw food such as fruits and salads, spicy and oily food as it will trap dampness and further burden your spleen and stomach.

Sources: https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13020-020-00375-1


Related Articles

Post-Treatment Care Guide

Acupuncture and cupping are common techniques used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to address a wide range of health conditions. It is vital to take proper care of yourself after undergoing acupuncture/cupping/scraping treatment. 

To optimise the benefits of your acupuncture or cupping session and minimise potential side effects, follow these essential aftercare guidelines:

1. Rest and Unwind:

After your session, prioritize relaxation and avoid strenuous activities, exercise, or heavy lifting for at least 24 hours. Intense activities may interfere with the therapeutic effects of the treatment.

2. Hydration is Key:

Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of warm water post-session. This aids in flushing out toxins and rehydrating your muscles and tissues.

3. Keep Warm:

Cover treated areas or dress warmly to support your body's healing process. When necessary, consider warm compresses for pain relief, and avoid drafts, exposure to direct wind, or cold temperatures. Cupping opens pores and channels, making the body susceptible to external elements like wind and cold. 

4. Mind Your Diet:

Refrain from dairy, processed meats, sugary foods, alcoholic beverages, and caffeine for at least 24 hours post-treatment, as they may hinder the healing process.

5. Monitor Symptoms:

Be aware of the benefits, side effects, and overall experience. Your feedback is valuable for both you and your practitioner.

6. Self-Care Practices:

Incorporate self-care activities such as meditation, gentle stretching, and deep breathing exercises into your daily routine to sustain the advantages of your session.

7. No Swimming for the Day:

Avoid swimming for the remainder of the day to prevent dampness and getting chilled, which can counteract the benefits of the session.

8. Steer Clear of Hot Therapies:

Avoid hot showers, saunas, and hot tubs after treatment, as they may exacerbate inflammation or bruising.

9. Sun Protection:

Refrain from direct sun exposure for 24 hours post-treatment, as your skin may be more sensitive and prone to sunburn.

10. Avoid Driving if Lightheaded:

If you feel lightheaded or giddy, refrain from driving. Rest until you feel better or let someone else take the wheel.


As with any medical treatment, acupuncture and cupping may have some potential side effects. Here are some possible side effects to be aware of:

  • Soreness or Bruising: Mild soreness or bruising at the treatment site, which should subside within a few days. 

(Note: The cupping marks are the results of stagnation which can include dead blood cells, old lymph fluid, and toxins that the body has not been able to eliminate via its circulatory system. )

  • Dizziness or Light-Headedness: Some may experience dizziness or light-headedness during or after treatment. It is a temporary sensation due to changes in blood pressure or circulation.

  • Fatigue and Drowsiness: Normal response as treatments stimulate the nervous system and promote relaxation.

  • Minor Bleeding: Acupuncture needles may cause minor bleeding, especially on acupoints on the head/face as many capillaries lie below the skin of the face. Cupping may cause skin irritation or even blisters.

  • Emotional Release:  Treatments like acupuncture and cupping can sometimes trigger an emotional release like emotional, tearful, or overwhelmed. This is a normal response to the stimulation of certain points in the body and can be an important aspect of the healing process.

We encourage you to embrace these aftercare guidelines for a holistic and effective recovery. If you experience any concerns, reach out to our physicians for support. Your well-being is our priority.

Boosting Your Child’s Immunity with TCM

Parents often despair – with good reason – that their school-going children not only catch whatever’s going around, but pass it on quite indiscriminately to siblings and playmates.

As was the case with Ms Winifred Ling, whose two-year-old daughter, Olivia, got sick “almost every month” for a year after she started going to nursery.

“She mostly had colds,” Ms Ling, a psychologist practicing in Singapore, recalls. “She would have a runny nose, lots of phlegm, and would be coughing quite a lot. Sometimes, when she had a hacking cough, she would end up vomiting.” “We would take her to see a paediatrician and she would be alright for a while after taking the prescribed medication, but then she would catch the next virus going around.”

Eventually, Ms Ling took her daughter to see a Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner who focused as much on resolving Olivia’s symptoms as on boosting her immune system. Olivia was managed with herbs and paediatric tui na, a form of massage therapy that promotes the smooth flow of qi (a person’s vital force) in the body. Together, the treatments not only eliminated the pathogens that caused Olivia’s illness but also strengthened her overall constitution.

“She is five now, and we have continued our regular TCM visits and treatments as they help keep her healthy,” Ms Ling says.

Smoothing out the energy flow

Olivia’s case is not uncommon among children, whose immune systems are still developing and are susceptible to environmental allergens and diseases.

TCM practitioners believe that children have relatively weaker lung, kidney and spleen systems, which can compromise their overall immunity.

“A weak lung system increases the likelihood of respiratory illnesses, while a weak spleen system makes one prone to digestive illnesses,” says Eu Yan Sang physician Quek Yiyan. “That’s why children often catch colds and have stomach upsets.”

In TCM, healthy qi defends against external pathogens. When the flow of qi in organs is not optimal, their delicate yin-yang balance is disturbed. In managing children, TCM practitioners therefore focus on strengthening or restoring the flow of qi, particularly around these vulnerable systems. The objective is to keep the body in a balanced yin-yang state, says Physician Quek.

Like running water in a stream, Qi cannot afford to be stagnant, “If an organ is colonised by bacteria, such an invasion can be imagined as a brackish pond,” she says. “The organ then has to be ‘cleansed’ and the proper flow of qi re-established.”

Re-establishing the flow of Qi can be done using different therapies, including herbal medication, paediatric tui na, or by making adjustments to diet or lifestyle.

A natural way

Herbs are an important cornerstone of TCM treatment and have a variety of effects, such as warming, cooling and strengthening (increasing qi). Although the types of herbs prescribed to children are similar to those prescribed to adults, the dosage and specific formulas depend on the child’s condition, age and weight. This is why a trained and licensed TCM practitioner should always be consulted, Physician Quek says.

Paediatric tui na is also an effective treatment for young children. A trained paediatric physician uses specialized massage techniques to stimulate acupoints that are specific to children, enhancing the flow of qi throughout their body.

Other TCM treatments like acupuncture and cupping are generally not recommended before adolescence. However, a physician may decide on them on a case-by-case basis.

TCM treatments offer a safe and reliable alternative with few side effects, an important consideration for parents keen to ensure the health of their children. Should a child fall sick, TCM also focuses on solving the root cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.

Better habits for stronger immunity

TCM practitioners generally advocate a holistic – and sustainable – approach to building a strong immune system. Besides prescribing herbal medication, tui na, and acupuncture for older children, physicians are likely to also advise on an appropriate diet and lifestyle.

Cold drinks and too much fried, sweet or spicy food should be avoided as they create “dampness” in the body, Physician Quek says. “Excessive amounts of these foods weaken the digestive function of the spleen and stomach, which in turn allows dampness to accumulate,” she explains. Accumulated dampness can, over time, cause blockages and illness. Regular mealtimes should also be observed, as this helps with proper digestion.

Herbs that help increase Qi can be added to soups or stir-fries. These include Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), Euryale seeds (Qianshi, 芡实), Coix barley (Yiyiren, 薏苡仁), Astragalus root (Huangqi, 黄芪) and Chinese yam (Huaishan, 淮山). Chinese yam, in particular, can be consumed daily as a food supplement as it helps improve digestion, Physician Quek says.

Herbs with strengthening properties should not be given to a child who is already ill as “these herbs could strengthen the invading pathogen instead, and make expelling it more difficult”, she cautions.

Qi Strengthening Soup

Ingredients:

  • Astragalus root (Huangqi, 黄芪) 10g

  • White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术) 10g

  • Licorice root (Gancao, 甘草) 5g

  • Pork ribs 500g

  • Water 1L

Quantities can be varied to individual liking


Preparation:

  1. Rinse the herbs and blanch the pork ribs.

  2. Place all ingredients into 1L of boiling water.

  3. Simmer over low heat for three to four hours.

  4. Serve.

Good lifestyle habits should also be practiced. These include getting adequate sleep, having moderate exposure to cold weather to “build up the child’s resistance to external pathogens”, and catching some sun to “help boost yang qi, which is important for a child’s development”.

This holistic approach to strengthening immunity is something Ms Ling appreciates – although it took some effort on her part as well.

“When we first started TCM, my daughter had trouble taking the herbs, but now it’s no longer an issue,” she says. “And happily, she doesn’t fall sick so frequently anymore.”

TCM Perspective: Indigestion

In TCM, our digestive system transforms food into Qi and Blood, which are the most important substances necessary for life. Thus, maintaining good digestion is the basis for good health.

Our digestive system includes the functions of the Stomach, Spleen, Large Intestine and Small Intestine.

The Stomach is the main receiver of the food we consume. It is in charge of receiving and breaking down food and liquids for further absorption. If this function is disturbed, disharmonies such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting may occur.

The Spleen is the key organ of digestion in TCM. It transforms the nutritive essence from food and liquids in the Stomach into Qi, Blood and body fluids. The Spleen is also responsible for water metabolism. When the Spleen is in disharmony, symptoms like abdominal distention, poor appetite, loose stools or edema may follow.

The Small Intestine receives food from the Stomach to carry out the further absorption of essential nutrients needed by the body. Disharmony in the Small Intestine may give rise to urinary or bowel disorders.

The Large Intestine receives residual materials sent down from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining nutrients and essential fluids, then excretes the waste in the form of faeces. Dysfunction of the Large Intestine may result in abdominal pain, loose stools or constipation.

The Bladder stores and excretes urine. Common urinary problems may be manifested as incontinence or difficulty in urination, with a burning or painful sensation.

Digestive Disorder

Lifestyle, stress and dietary factors can put a strain on our digestive system. TCM provides satisfactory relief for digestive disorders through herbal medication, acupuncture and other treatment methods.

Here are some common digestive disorders and their related treatments from the TCM perspective:

(A) Indigestion
Indigestion is a condition caused by food stagnation. Overeating, eating too fast, or having a weak digestive system may also contribute to indigestion. Common symptoms of indigestion include fullness, bloating or aching in the upper, middle or lower abdomen, hiccups, a poor appetite, or breaking wind accompanied with strong and undesirable smells and bad breath.

In TCM, the treatment principles work by nourishing the entire digestive system to improve our digestive functions, as well as inducing bowel movements to remove stagnant food.

Common Chinese herbs used to relieve digestive problems are Hawthorn Berry (Shanzha, 山楂), Barley Sprout (Maiya, 麦芽), Rice Sprout (Guya, 谷芽), Chicken Gizzard Lining (Jineijin, 鸡内金), Unripe Bitter Orange (Zhishi, 枳实), Tangerine Peel (Chenpi, 陈皮) and Areca Seed (Binglang, 槟榔).

Acupuncture, massage, herbal medicines and dietary changes can help to relieve digestive problems too.


(B) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder which may manifest itself differently from person to person. Some of the common symptoms of IBS are abdominal bloating, cramping or pain, flatulence, diarrhoea and/or constipation. Common symptoms of indigestion include fullness, bloating or aching in the upper, middle or lower abdomen, hiccups, a poor appetite, or breaking wind accompanied with strong and undesirable smells and bad breath.

IBS can result from eating too much greasy or spicy food, or from emotional factors such as depression, excessive anxiety and insomnia. These emotional factors may be triggered or aggravated by stress.

For symptoms of IBS, TCM prescriptions use herbs such as White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), Tangerine Peel (Chenpi, 陈皮), Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), Siler Root (Fangfeng, 防风), White Peony Root (Baishao, 白芍), Licorice Root (Gancao, 甘草), Chinese Yam (Huaishan, 淮山) and Dried Ginger (Ganjiang, 干姜).

Acupuncture helps by alleviating the pain, regulating bowel movements and preventing abdominal pains or cramps associated with this condition. It also regulates the gastrointestinal functions, which may in turn manage the root of the problem.


(C) Heartburn
Heartburn is a condition where our Stomach acid rises up to the oesophagus. It is also known as acid reflux or acid regurgitation. The acid may cause a burning pain in the chest or throat, and leave a sour taste in the mouth. In TCM, heartburn is regarded as a manifestation of disharmonies in the Stomach and Liver’s functions. The basic treatment principle is to restore balance to optimise the functions of the Liver and Stomach.

Common herbs used to relieve heartburn symptoms are Processed Pinellia (Zhibanxia, 制半夏), Chinese Dates (Dazao, 大枣), Licorice Root (Gancao, 甘草), White Poeny Root (Baishao, 白芍), White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), Peppermint (Bohe, 薄荷), Hare’s Ear Root (Chaihu, 柴胡), Chinese Angelica (Danggui, 当归), Poria (Fuling, 茯苓) and Fresh Ginger (Shengjiang, 生姜).

Ban Xia Xie Xin Wan (半夏瀉心丸) and Xiao Yao Wan (逍遥丸) are two classic formulae commonly used to reduce acid reflux and relieve heartburn symptoms.

Oops! There are no articles yet. Please check back again.