Traditional Chinese Medicine Newsletter 2

Ngee Ann Traditional Medicine Centre

For the first time in Singapore, the public now has a choice of the best traditional Chinese medicine available to them. One of the major stumbling blocks to the growth of Chinese Traditional Medicine in Singapore had been the level of trust and competence of the medical specialist available. With the Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre (NATCMC), no more do you have to worry about the professionalism of the specialist treating you. Instead you can fully trust them as you have trusted your normal Western medical specialist.

Ngee Ann Kongsi launched the Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre on 26th November 2000. The Centre is located at 563A Balestier Road.This Centre is a non-profit centre specially set up by Ngee Ann to help bring to Singapore the best traditional Chinese Medicine specialists from China.

The concept of this Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre is to create a higher level of professional TCM care for Singaporeans. Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre aims to get the best specialists and department heads from the world’s best traditional Chinese Traditional Medicine hospitals. The specialists who man this centre are the top experts in their field of specialty, and by special arrangement with their hospitals, they will do a tour of duty in Singapore for a period of 6-months to a year each.

It is Ngee Ann’s intention to ensure that Singaporeans are exposed to the best that Traditional Chinese Medicine has to offer. It is important in this day and age that an alternative form of natural medicine be explored for the public. Drugs and other man-made pharmaceuticals have their side effects, unlike the all-natural alternatives which we at NATCMC use and prescribe. There are few side-effects and even if there are, it is naturally induced for the good of the patient. We believe that for the longer term the holistic treatment of Traditional Medicine is a much better alternative or even as an add-on to current western medicine.

A Brief Description Of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine is an ancient medical system that is based on the natural behaviour of the Universe and that the concept that everything is interrelated. Through thousands of years of observation and practice, the Chinese has developed a very unique form of understanding the human body as well as the internal organs including the body’s physiological processes, as well as illness development.

The art form of healing using Chinese medicine is called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is designed to promote and maintain health through diet and exercise, a unique and comprehensive theory for keeping healthy life is being form. The TCM expert will treat illness with herbs, acupuncture and various forms of exercise, in some cases using Qigong. Chinese TCM practitioners diagnose and treat all types of illness and diseases including complemental illness. Several thousand years of expertise have gone into the art and it has been proven to be both very effective and valid as a form of medical treatment.

The art of TCM is very complex and intricate. Practitioners have been known to study the skills and knowledge of Chinese Medicine for several decades before they become totally competent in the use and treatment methods of the skill. Many years are needed before one can fully grasp the concepts of TCM.The concept differs from Western medicine in that it does not use manufactured drugs to treat illnesses, but rather a more holistic and side-effect free treatment. Many of the TCM concepts are hard to understand as they have no counterpart in Western medicine.

Chinese medicine practitioners view the mind and body as an energy system that cannot be separated from each other or the world / universe we live in. Our internal organs are considered as interrelated to each other and they have to function together for a harmonious system. The underlying difference between Western medicine and TCM is that in the Chinese system the practitioner treats the patient and not the disease.

Yin And Yang

Ask any Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner about their concept of treatment and the underlying fundamental concept that is revealed is Yin and Yang. All things in the universe are either Yin or Yang. Nothing is entirelyYin orYang, but a balance between the two energy sources. This balance is forever changing and the TCM practitioner needs to find a balance between them. They are opposites and yet they complement each other, they are not independent of each other but interchangeable. An example is the changing of day (Yang) into night (Yin), or the changing of Winter (Yin) into spring (Yang). Illnesses are caused by the imbalance of Yin and Yang in our bodies. TCM is therefore the treating of illnesses through the process of balancing the Yin and Yang in us. The use of acupuncture and herbs to achieve the balance is well documented.

The Yin-Yang symbol is a representation of Chinese medicine philosophy. The symbol is a circle divided by a curved line into a black (Yin) side and a white (Yang) side. The curve represents the constantly changing balance between the two opposing forces of Yin and Yang. Each side contains a small circle of the opposite colour which symbolises that there is some Yin in Yang and that there is some Yang in Yin. In other words Yin exists in Yang as Yang exists in Yin.

Listed below are some examples of Yin and Yang: 

Yin Yang
Female Male
Earth Heaven
Night Day
Moist Dry
Cold Hot
Winter Spring
Death Birth
Small Large
Hollow Solid
Chronic Acute
Internal External

Vital Substances

There is a need for vital substances to interact with each other and nourish as well as to sustain the body. Together they form the mind and the body. The vital substances are called Qi (Pronounced as Chee), Jing, Shen, blood and body fluids.

The body is known to contain a vital energy force (also referred to as a life force) which runs through it. This force is called the Qi and it travels through the body along channels or meridians. It is both in energy as well as substance. The Chinese have a saying that “When the Qi gathers the physical body is formed, when the Qi disappears the body dies”. It is thought that Qi nourishes, protects and supports all systems and functions of the body. The other vital substances are manifestations of Qi. Health is affected by the flow of Qi through the body. If the flow of Qi along the pathways or channels of the body is disrupted, insufficient or stagnant, then Yin and Yang become unbalanced, which in turn will result in illness.

Jing gives the body vitality and health. It is the essence or vital force. If the Jing is strong, a person’s constitution will be strong, if it is weak, then the person’s constitution will be weak and more susceptible to illness. Jing is the root of existence and reproduction.Jing is also responsible for growth and development.

In TCM, blood has a different meaning than it does in Western medicine. Blood not only transports nourishment but also vitality. Blood is a material form of Qi. The internal organs form blood from food and drinks, blood is the basis for the formation of skin, muscles, bones and organs. Deficient blood, stagnant blood or heat in the blood can cause illnesses.

Body Fluids 
Bodily fluids, are also known as Jin Ye. They are formed from food and drinks and serve to moisten, lubricate and nourish the body. Jin fluids are light and watery fluids that lubricate the skin and muscles and the exterior of the body (sweat, tears). Ye fluids are heavy and thick fluids that lubricate the joints, the brain and interior of the body. The deficiency of body fluids or accumulation of Body fluids can cause illnesses.

Shen is the mind or spirit.