Traditional Chinese Medicine Newsletter 4

Together We Fight SARS

SARS is a type of transmittable respiratory disease caused by a virus that has yet to be identified. It impairs our respiratory function seriously, causing breakdown in our breathing. It is called Systematic Acute Respiratory Symptoms in scientific term, and as it moves like an invisible killer, causing deaths wherever it passes, it strikes fear in the heart of many. Many people are trying to live with it, striving to get on with their usual routine, on the other hand, as this is a highly contagious disease which can infect those within three metre radius, we cannot afford to ignore its existence. We have to be prepared to do a long and steady battle, and view the situation from a rational state of mind.

First of all, it is important for us to increase the level of our immunity. This is the most important action that we must undertake because a good immune system is the best defense we have to guard ourselves against any viral or bacterial infection. The next thing to do is to try to prevent any contact with the virus, eliminating its mode of transmission. We are giving some advice here based on chinese medical theories.

  1. “When there is a Zheng Qi in our body, no evil can invade our body”. “When evil manifests in our body, the Qi of the person will be weakened”. Therefore, it is important to emphasize on the fitness level of our body, strengthening our health and increasing our immune level.

  2. “When the Qi of the pancreas and stomach are weakened, we cannot get back our Yuan Qi, and all types of diseases will invade our body”. This means that our internal organs rely on the nutritions we derive from our food, therefore, we have to bear in mind to cultivate a good daily routine and eating habit, a balanced diet is the key to good health.

  3. “When death is passed on from infection to his family members, this will wipe out the whole family”, this points out the infectious nature of some of the more serious infectious diseases. We would like to advise all Singaporeans, not to travel to any countries that are infected by SARS or any high risk countries, either for work or for holidays

  4. Traditional Chinese medicines have an edge when it comes to preventing and treating virus infections. Therefore, we have carefully selected some types of Chinese medicines, and put them together to suit people with different types of body natures, and have them prepacked into different prescriptions. You can consult our specialist before consuming them.

Other than the above, we strongly advise you to use vinegar to steam your residence twice every week for the purpose of disinfection. Keep your place fully ventilated, and allow fresh air to come in. You can also eat 3-5 slices of garlic raw during your daily meals, as garlic is known to possess excellent property in killing germs and expelling poisons, and will therefore be useful in SARS prevention.

Let us work towards good health, and fight SARS together!

By Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre,
Specialists Department

Advice on Good Health: The Importance of Emotional Control

Qi (vitality) and Xue (vigour) are the impetus and source of our body’s vitality. Any pathological changes in our body are related to Qi and Xue. There is an old saying: “When Qi and Xue balance well, no illness will come to you, but once they are off balance, we will suffer all kinds of sicknesses”. Mood is potentially influential to our health condition: a happy mood and a good attitude tend to help in maintaining a good functional condition for our internal organs, based on which we enjoy a joyful and happy life. On the flip-side, a gloomy and irritated mood, together with the inappropriate handling of stress from the society, family, daily life, work, or studies, can cause the malfunctioning of our internal organs. This in turn will be a threat to our health, or will even lead to many kinds of acute or chronic diseases. This is known as the internal injury caused by the “seven emotions” referred to in traditional chinese medical sciences.

The “seven emotions” refer to happiness, anger, worry, longing, sadness, fear, and fright. Physiologically, the seven emotions interact with each other, restrain each other at the same time, thus easing the circulation of Qi and Xue in our body, but pathologically, they also affect each another. Any imbalance of the seven emotions may upset the smooth circulation of Qi and Xue. Normally, the injury caused by each of the seven emotions produces a different syndrome. Too much happiness is harmful to the heart, which cause the loss of “Qi” in our heart. Too much anger damages the liver. Too much worry hurts our spleen, which leads to its malfunction. Too much sadness injures our lungs and too much fright injures our kidneys. With the internal organs damaged, both Qi and Xue are off balance, which causes further malfunction of our whole body. Thus, the best advice on health and longevity is to control our emotions. This allows our body and its internal organs to constantly function under good condition, and as a result be ready to resist the attack of various diseases from either within our body or from external sources. It is thus obvious that the preventive health care practice in traditional Chinese medicine is really important in maintaining good health for our body.

By Dr. Tian Xiu Ying
Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre


What is pulmonary infirmity? Is it infectious?

One patient who frequently contracts cold, was told that he has contracted a pulmonary disease. Is a pulmonary infirmity? He self-diagnosed it as an infectious pulmonary disease, and isolated himself from family members and friends. This led to depression, causing lack of appetite for food and drinks. Depression harmed the spleen and stomach and nearly got him into deep trouble.

Chinese medicine studies said the five internal organs in no way refers purely to the ‘five-concrete-organs’ -heart, lung, liver, spleen and kidney – of the Western medicines anatomical concepts. It is mainly about the weakening of the lungs function. It is because of the pulmonary defense system has repeatedly contracted ‘xie’ bad effect. It has led to the deterioration of the pulmonary function. It is not an infectious disease but a malfunctioning of the lung. The whole theory and practice is of a totally different concept from Western medicine.

Chinese medicine thinks of the lung as a ‘hua gai’ inside the five internal organs, the lung position is highest, is similar to water, which is at the top. The waterfall irrigates other internal organs. The lung is the medium for all the transition, it prefers humidity to aridity, when the lung contracts ‘xie’ the direction of the energy goes in the opposite direction. Alternatively, the ‘liu yin’ (wind, cold, hot, moist, dry, fire) may cause the lungs to shut, resulting in cough and other problem. The lung can push the blood’s circulation, which means one of its functions is helping blood transportation to the heart. This illness causes difficulty in breathing and stuffiness of the chest. Contraction or expansion of breathing results in stuffiness of the chest; and the contraction or expansion of the sinus.

Inside the five internal organs, only the lung is directly interlinked to external elements. So is highly sensitive to bad air, thus considered an ‘arrogant’ organ. Because of these physiological functions, the lungs’ defense system is the first to fight foreign elements. When the balance between cold and hot is off, it is easier for the ‘liu yin’ to infiltrate.

When the lung receives ‘xie’, the body can develop high fever, headache, sore throat, blocked and running nose, stuffy chest, and cough. The lung is closely linked to the large intestine, so when the lung is affected, the bowel is also in disorder. Insufficient air causes pulmonary infirmity with symptoms like sweat, voice anxiety and shortness of breath. All this can probably be caused by over-exhaustion and lack of convalescence. Other symptoms are the change of tongue colour (paler), watery and the eyes channels are weak. Pulmonary Infirmity is just one of the disease of the five organs.


Note from Physician Zhang Yao Hua

I graduated from the Chinese Medicine Department of Beijing Medical University at the end of 1960s. Before coming to Singapore to pursue my profession here in Sept 2001, I was working as a Chinese medicine practitioner at the Beijing-China Chinese Medicine Research Centre.

After coming to Singapore, I am touched by the kindness, goodness, sincerity of the people. I am also glad to see that the government cares deeply for the people and is consciously promoting a healthy lifestyle and racial harmony among the different races in Singapore.

As Singapore is located on the equator, the weather is hot and mostly humid. Thus most people tend to have rheumatism, leading to muscle ache, joints pain and these affected the mobility of the sufferers to a great extent. This also decreases their quality of life.

Rheumatism does not affect a specific age group or gender. Those ailing from rheumatism are advised to seek treatment at the earliest possible stage.

In principle, it is advisable to employ Tradtional Chinese Medicines and Acupuncture for the treatment of rhheumatism. If possible, try to reduce or avoid using painkiller to avoid being plagued by its multiple side-effects. Most chinese medical clinics see many patients affected by rheumatism, and the use of traditional chinese medicines and acupuncture has yielded satisfactory results in its treatment.

To avoid contraction rheumatism, one should practise preventive measures from young.

Try to maintain an outdoor sports regime, strengthen your health, avoid cold food, dress warmly if working or living in an air-conditioned room. Try to achieve a balance between activities and rest. If one can attain more Zhengqi, there is a slim chance that any form of ailments can invade the body.

By Dr. Zhang Yao Hua
Ngee Ann Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre