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Pain Management

10 August 2022

Hello everyone!

A big thank you to all participants of our Pain Management webinar on 6 August 2022, Saturday! During the session, the relationship between TCM and Pain Management was shared and there was an overwhelming response during the Q&A session; fret not as Physician Niklas from ZhongJing TCM has answered them below!

Thank you to Physician Niklas as well for the time in going through and providing the answers.

We have an exclusive promotion for you! Get 10% OFF your total bill at ZhongJing TCM (Terms & Conditions apply). Click the link to find out more! 

Thank you,

U Live Team :)


Q&A with Physician Niklas





Will soaking feet in a warm salt or ginger water or those medical herb packs help to remove the dampness? How often shall we do it What time of the day is most suitable to do it and for how long each time?

Soaking feet in warm water or any other herbs will help, but ultimately, we would need to see if there are any other conditions that are causing the dampness to properly prevent it.

Soaking feet in warm water can be done every alternate day, for about 10-15 minutes each time. It can be done at any time of the day, but at night would be best as it may also help to relax the body and aid with sleeping better.

In TCM, dampness can only be rid of via sweating, or via excretion. But there should also be a reason why dampness is even accumulating in the first place, and this would need to be looked into. 




I understand that using a fan and aircon is not good. So it is recommended that we just tolerate the heat even if it is uncomfortable and we are sweating?

It is not recommended to tolerate the heat, as this can cause pathogenic heat to build up in the body. Not to mention excessive sweating will also cause dehydration and harm to our Yin of the body. Heat stroke may also result.

The fan is the lesser of the two evils, and would generally do lesser harm than the aircon. Can consider blowing at the legs, or upwards of the room to circulate the air.

Ultimately, we have to feel comfortable as well, even if it means choosing between the lesser of two evils.




So salads are not good for us as they are cold and raw? But eating fresh keeps the vitamins. I'm confused.

Yes, salad is not good as the vegetables used are raw and often refrigerated. This would harm our Yang in the body and our stomach as well.

There is a reason why salad is almost always served with flavourful sauces. From TCM POV, since they are rich and oily, they are considered heaty in nature, and thus can counter the cold nature.

It would be best to at least boil the vegetables first, and avoid seasoning. 




Among the teas, is there an order of 'coldness'? eg Oolong, red tea, green tea, Chinese tea, Osmanthus, fruit teas, chamomile, peppermint, etc.

The order of coolness/warmness is relatively small, so there is no need to worry.

The general idea is that red tea is warm, while green tea is cooling. Green tea is usually young, lesser fermented teas that would usually produce green-coloured tea, while red tea is generally matured fermented teas that would usually produce red-coloured teas.

However, there are certain teas which do not fit this idea – what I understand is that oolong tea, while a red tea fluid, is quite cooling as well.

What I also understand is that chamomile and peppermint are both cooling in nature. Peppermint is also a commonly-used herb in TCM.




Are onsen and sauna good for reducing dampness and cold? What about steam rooms? Will steam rooms increase dampness due to high humidity?

Yes, they are all good for reducing dampness and cold.

Steam rooms do not increase dampness, as they induce sweating. Sweating helps to get rid of dampness. 




Does having hot Chinese tea after eating fatty food, or taken on its own, help to decrease cholesterol levels in the body?

Yes, Chinese tea does help with digestion, as it creates a slightly acidic environment, allowing for our stomach enzymes to work better.

This is why Chinese restaurants often serve Chinese teas during meals, in order to reduce the greasy feeling.

However, I am unable to advise if Chinese tea can reduce cholesterol. 




Is swimming daily good? Does it increase dampness?

Any exercise is good to help reduce dampness, as long as you are exerting physically and sweating. However, please do exercise within limits.

Swimming is good as it reduces the stresses on joints.

In order to reduce dampness retention, it would be good to swim during the day rather than at night, and also combine it with other physical activities. 




Is the 红糖 same as 黑糖? What is the correct 红糖 to buy? Any sample? Thanks.

No, 黑糖 black sugar can be cooked sugar cane sugar that is browned and then broken into powder, or it is gula melaka which comes from the sap of coconut palms.

红糖 is actually brown sugar, rather than the usual red sugar which is sugar with red colouring. Brown sugar is sugar with some content of molasses.

I am not able to provide any sample for this. 




Is drinking coffee and tea which has cooled down to room temperature ok?

Generally, it is ok, if it is not too long.

Leaving anything for too long in the open is never good, as we are unsure of any possible changes. Especially if there was milk added to our beverages.

It would be best to finish while warm, or put in a thermal flask to preserve the heat.




Does drinking more red dates tea cause heatiness or promote more blood?

Yes, drinking red dates tea does promote more blood and can help with stomach function. 

This nourishing effect is quite heatiness, hence red dates are considered mildly warm in nature. 




Is Monk Fruit good for cough and strengthening the respiratory system, regardless of what type of cough it is?

Monk fruit is generally safe for consumption for most coughs.

However, its effect is quite light, and if the cough persists, please approach a TCM practitioner or doctor for a better diagnosis of your condition.

In TCM, coughing is quite a complicated problem and can be caused by many organs, not just the lungs alone. 




Would a hot shower be preferred to a cold shower? Is twice a day too often?

For gents, hot or cold showers are not an issue. For ladies, it is generally advisable to take a warm shower, especially if it is closer to the period cycle.

However, cold or warm showers are also able to confer other health benefits as well.

In our Singapore climate, twice a day is alright, just make sure that you do not walk out of a warm shower into a cold aircon room. 




How to speed up migraine recovery?

It is not easy to advise this, as migraines are quite a complicated issue.

It can be caused due to stress, or muscular tension in the neck area due to MANY reasons, such as degenerative changes to the cervical vertebrae, poor working conditions, poor muscle strength, poor lifestyle, injuries, etc.

It would be advisable to see a doctor or TCM practitioner for a better understanding. 




After the Chinese barley boil, what to do?

To cook barley, do ensure that you check on the barley to ensure it does not “open”.

The moment it opens, the fluid would start to become thick, and at this point, instead of draining dampness, the barley drink would then cause dampness retention.

After it boils, pour out the decocted drink. You can then drink this, or you can boil the barley once more, following the same steps. Once the second boil looks a little grey, pour out the second brew and mix with the first batch. 




What is the difference between Holland and Chinese barley? Which is preferred? Are these too cooling? Can you please repeat how to cook Chinese barley?

As a TCM practitioner, I prefer Chinese barley, but it has a certain taste to it.

Chinese barley is believed to have better dampness draining properties. Holland barley still has this property, just at a lower strength.

Holland barley produces a better-tasting drink.

Refer to above on how to cook. 




I have been feeling a freezing sensation in my calf and foot that is causing aches, especially at night (the air con is not on).

This may be a symptom of poor blood circulation.

You can choose to try soaking your feet in warm water first, without any additives. Ensure that the water at least goes up halfway up the calves, and take care not to scald yourself.

If no improvement, please consult with a TCM practitioner. 




What foods to avoid for a weak spleen? What can strengthen it?

Cold, fresh, raw, hard-to-digest, starchy, oily foods should be avoided.

Strengthening spleen is quite a difficult topic. For starters, have regular and balanced meals. Stay away from excessive greasy or oily, or cold and fresh foods. Try drinking more warm drinks.

In TCM, muscles in the body are linked to the spleen. So it would be good to also do some physical training as well. 




Fruits are also raw and cold - we don't normally cook fruits. So how?

If it is fibre, you can also get them from vegetables.

If you really must have fruits, you can at least take it out from the fridge and let it thaw out before consuming.

After consuming, drink a cup of warm water. 




Can we swim between 12-3pm? Under the hot sun, then go shower?

Not advisable, due to other concerns such as sunburn or UV exposure. You can choose 8-10am, or 5-6pm.

You should be showering before entering and after exiting the pool regardless of the time. This would keep the pool clean, as well as also wash off the chlorine from your hair and body which may cause harm if left to dry. 




Is it true that drinking tea with food will interfere with nutrient absorption due to caffeine?

This is untrue. 




Hi! Can I drink a cold green veg smoothie in the morning? Will it give me gastric?

Please refer to Questions 3, 4, and 17.

In the short run, this should not cause any gastric issues. If it does, then you should stop and consult a doctor, or TCM practitioner.

All that cold and freshness going into an empty stomach will EVENTUALLY (not sure how long it will take) stomach pain or other gastric issues in the long run. It may even cause dampness retention. 




Food put in the fridge, I heard is bad and damp, especially rice and vegetables. Can put leftover food in the fridge?

Well, back to the topic of the lesser of two evils.

If you intend to temporarily store your food in the fridge for 3-5 days before cooking, that is alright. You are still going to cook it after all.

I am not a fan of leftover food. Let’s not talk about TCM theories, but we are not sure how much breakdown would have occurred from storage. 1-day storage is generally safe, but any longer is not advisable. 




For anorexic cases, what tea is good?

For anorexia, please consult with a medical practitioner. It is an eating disorder, and it should be handled properly.




What is the cause of hives? Heat/dampness? Any food to take or avoid to reduce attacks please?

Hives is a result of a heightened immune response to physical stimulus.

For starters, it would be good to avoid cold/fresh, or overly spicy/oily foods. Do try to have a slightly blander diet in order to reduce metabolic stress.

It would be better to approach a medical practitioner for the condition.




What can help with respiratory system strengthening?

Medicine can only help so far, but it would be advisable to partake in some physical exercise.

Regarding TCM herbs, it would be better to speak to a TCM practitioner in order to better understand. 




What is the recommended quantity to take huangqi?

Generally, 5-10 grams in soup for 4-5 healthy people is quite safe.

This is not recommended for immunocompromised individuals. 




How to stop nasal backdrip?

It would be better to speak to a doctor or TCM practitioner about your condition. 




How to prevent migraines?  I have been taking western medicine for years. For some time, I have had insomnia and not sleeping well. Is brewing black chicken with red goji berries and kor kee make a person mentally alert in study or work on how to prevent memories lost?  Able to advise? Thank you.

Please refer to Question 13 regarding migraines.

If you have been taking Western medicine for years, and it is starting to be less effective, it would be best to speak to a TCM practitioner in order to come up with a treatment plan. This can also be done to target your insomnia as well.

What you suggested can help with mental alertness. It is essentially home-cooked essence of chicken, with goji berry.

Regarding memory loss, you now have a bigger problem. You have to see what is the reason for the memory loss. If it is age-related, it is inevitable. If it is due to poor retention, it may be due to other factors such as stress. Consider using a memory aid to assist. There is a notepad function on our mobile phone, or a physical notepad is quite inexpensive as well.

If it is causing erratic behaviour, please speak to a doctor first.

TCM can only help to slow down the development of eventual memory loss, especially if it is due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Even so, not everyone is suitable for TCM treatment due to a myriad of reasons.

(My grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and TCM could only do so much, as she was uncooperative)


Physician Niklas



Clinical Interests: TCM Internal Medicine (Respiratory diseases, sleep disorders, sub-health), TCM Tuina, Pain management

Physician Niklas has been a registered TCM Practitioner in Singapore since 2016. He has obtained his Double Degree in Biomedical Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine at NTU and BUCM in the same year.

Physician Niklas’s journey into TCM started when he joined his school’s Judo club. With the physical demands of the sport, he often turned to acupuncture sessions and TCM Tuina in order to continue his training. Tapping on his personal experiences in sports injuries, Physician Niklas understands the importance of proper management of injuries.

As such, Physician’s Niklas clinical interests lie in pain management, via acupuncture and TCM Tuina. Other interests include internal conditions, such as common respiratory diseases and sleep disorders. He also aims to advocate “Self-preservation and self-assistance, with perseverance”, combining good physical and mental health, that comes with determination.

Physician Niklas is also a lecturer with the Singapore College of Chinese Medicine (SCTCM). 



About ZhongJing TCM

Zhongjing Traditional Chinese Medicine (Zhongjing TCM) was established in 2014 under the name of TCM Homecare and Nanyang Zhongjing Institution. A decision was made to rebrand and combine the strengths of both services. Therefore, in 2019, TCM Homecare was renamed Zhongjing TCM. The rebranding aims to collectively provide services of medical services and institution under the umbrella of Zhongjing TCM.

Zhongjing TCM prides itself in sharing TCM knowledge through lifelong learning with their very own Zhongjing TCM Institution. Zhongjing TCM is also committed to catering to individual needs encompassing personalized TCM modalities and herbs. Their state-of-the-art equipment, quality of herbs and products undergo the strictest quality checks so that you can enjoy with a piece of mind.



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