EYS TCM Clinic

How TCM Works

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How TCM Works

TCM treats the mind, body and spirit as a single entity. This holistic approach is derived from fundamental beliefs in the Chinese culture, which emphasise the inseparable nature of Man with the Universe, as well as the need for balance and harmony.

When a person’s vital life force, known as Qi (气, pronounced “chi”), flows smoothly through the body, it establishes a balance between his spiritual, emotional, mental and physical realms. Similarly, the person needs to function in harmony with his environment, which includes acclimatising himself to the climate and the changes in his daily lifestyle.

If that flow and balance is upset, disease and illness will arise.

TCM employs a system of diagnosis, therapy and medication to restore that balance by boosting the body’s immune system in an attempt to fight off pathogens.

A TCM treatment usually includes a combination of medicinal herbs, nutritional therapies, physical treatments such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, massage or Tuina, and therapeutic exercises such as taichi and related breathing techniques.


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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.

Basic TCM Concepts

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is one of the world’s oldest forms of medicine, with a history of more than 2,500 years. It is the essence of Chinese history, philosophy and medical knowledge. It is still the main form of medicine to many Chinese today.

With more research being done, and greater worldwide interest in natural products, TCM is increasingly recognised as a viable form of alternative medicine in other parts of the world.

One important perspective of TCM concerns the balance of the body (形,Xing) and mind (神,Shen). A healthy body forms a firm foundation for a healthy mind, which includes one’s thoughts, emotions and psychological state.

In short, TCM does not manage the illness alone, but the person with the illness. This medical approach is built upon the concepts of Zang Xiang, Yin Yang and the Five Elements.

Zang Xiang 藏相

Zang Xiang literally means the external manifestations of the health condition or status of our internal organs.

Zang Xiang forms the basic principle of most TCM diagnoses. By examining the symptoms displayed at superficial level, the root causes of the illnesses in the body can be nailed down; the principle of treatment can be derived and administered accordingly.

Zang refers to the interior location of the Zang-fu(脏腑)organs; while Xiang refers to their external appearance or symptoms.

Zang-fu covers the five Zang organs (the Heart, Liver, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys) and six Fu organs (the Gall bladder, Stomach, Bladder, Large Intestines, Small Intestines and Triple Energizer).

Triple Energizer (三焦,San Jiao) refers to the upper (region above diaphragm), middle (region in between diaphragm and belly button) and lower (region below belly button) parts of the body, and its most important function is to govern water metabolism.

Yin Yang 阴阳

Everything in the universe exists as two opposing yet interdependent forces – Yin and Yang. They are two opposites of a whole which cannot exist without each other. Yin literally represents the “shady or dormant” aspect (e.g. water, dark, cold, night, passive, female) while Yang refers to the “sunny or active” aspect (e.g. fire, bright, hot, day, active, male).

In TCM, the Yin Yang concept is applied to understand the complex interconnections and constant changes in the human body. TCM views the human body as an integrated whole, where all organs and systems are interconnected and interdependent of each other. Generally, when Yin and Yang are in balance, our body is healthy; but if one force dominates the other, pain and illness will arise. TCM uses the Yin Yang concept to diagnose patterns of disharmony and determine treatments to restore balance.

Five Elements 五行

The Five Elements consist of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each represents different properties, functions or appearances under which all things in the universe can be classified. This concept is used to describe interactions and relationships between all natural phenomena.

The Five Elements interact with one another in two cycles, mainly the enhancing and destructive cycle. In the enhancing cycle, each elemental phase is assisting one another by boosting their ability to transform, whereas the destructive cycle exerts its effect by keeping each elemental phase under control to ensure balance and harmony.

In TCM, balance between generation and control is important for health maintenance.

TCM Diagnosis Methods

In TCM, external symptoms are the manifestation of internal imbalances. Hence, a TCM physician assesses one’s state of health by analysing external symptoms displayed to seek evidence of internal problems. Unique diagnostic methods are used to collect and analyse clinical information.

There are some diagnostic methods in TCM which are essential for determining the root causes of a health problem. A professionally trained TCM physician is usually able to differentiate the root causes of a problem by applying the following methods:

  • Observations (望): observe the entire body, which includes the tongue, complexion, body shape, posture, movement and vitality

  • Smelling and listening (闻): observe the smell of body odours, excretions and secretions; listen to the voice, tone, and sound of respiration or cough

  • Questioning (问): inquiring about the main concerns or complaints, the onset and duration of the problem, and relevant medical history and symptoms

  • Pulse analysing (切): feeling and evaluating the pulse by pressing on certain parts of the body such as the skin, muscles, acupoints, limbs, chest, abdomen and other areas

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