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Wellness & TCM Theory

30 August 2022

Hello everyone!

A big thank you to all participants of our Wellness & TCM Theory webinar on 20 August 2022, Saturday! During the session, the Theory of Wellness & TCM was shared and there was an overwhelming response during the Q&A session; fret not as Physician Chen Jiayi from ZhongJing TCM has answered them below!

Thank you to Physician Chen Jiayi 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 Chen Jiayi



Is consumption of coffee ok in TCM? How about milk?

Moderation is key, once a day is generally ok, preferably not after 2pm since it will disrupt your sleep cycle. Avoid if you are having gastric issues.

Milk is a good source of calcium which is especially important as we age. Unless you are lactose intolerant, milk is good. 




Which are some 2-3 common modern-day medical conditions, known to be well-treated by TCM effectively, without the need for western drugs/ medication?

TCM has its strengths in digestive problems such as acid reflux, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome etc. Upper respiratory infections, mood/sleep disorders such as anxiety and insomnia are other conditions TCM can be used alone, but is also dependent on the severity and individual differences. 




What is the difference between a fan and natural wind? Why is the former not ok but the latter ok in TCM?

Usually, when using a fan the proximity and strength of the wind is much higher than that of the natural wind, so you may not realise when it’s getting too cold for you. If you have bad joints, blowing fan wind directly can worsen the condition, as it lowers your body surface temperature and slows down blood circulation.

So the solution here is really to make the fan more like natural wind, by putting it on rotation and further away from you, and not use it for an extended period of time (especially overnight, when night temperatures can drop much lower).




What is the benefit of purple colour food?

In the 5 colours theory relating to 5 Organs, clearly, we do not need another colour. I would say it can be lumped into “red” and hence beneficial for the heart. Again I would like to stress that it is a generalised guideline and not all colours of food are beneficial to its related Organ. Having a balanced and nutritional diet is the most important. 




Can we have a handout about which food is beneficial? Thank you.

Please refer to question 4.




Will acupuncture heal bell palsy and trigger finger?

To a certain extent yes, acupuncture can speed up the natural healing of our bodies by stimulating the blood circulation in the region. The length and effectiveness of the treatment varies from person to person due to the severity of the condition or other medical conditions.




Can kids consume herbal soup?

If used at home to cook with meat as a food, the amount of TCM herbs used is much less and should be fine, unless the child has an allergic reaction to it.




What are the causes of having mouth ulcers? And is there any natural remedy for it?

There are a lot of causes, physical causes like biting on it accidentally, infection, lack of B12 and so on. It’s quite self limiting so there’s not a particular need to treat it, but if you find yourself having them often or it takes very long to heal, it is advisable to check with a Western doctor to rule out immune system issues.

In TCM we call this heat from the Heart, and similarly there are a few causes. If it’s just a once off issue, perhaps having something soothing like honey or mint can relieve the pain.




Is it true that radish soup 'wash away' the benefits of tonic soups ? i.e. so we are not advised to drink radish soup if we are drinking chicken soup etc

The misconception here is that it is radish seeds (莱菔子) that counteracts the nourishing properties of TCM herbs, not the radish vegetable that we eat. So it is perfectly fine to use radish in your herbal soups. 




Is the He Gu only on the left hand?

Other than acupoints right down in the middle of the body, most are mirrored on each side of the body. 




Nei guan is it at the 2/3 point?





For people who are generally healthy, and actively exercising, what type of food therapy will be good after daily exercises

I would say there’s no special need to specifically take some foods, but generally remember to hydrate properly and avoid cold foods directly after exercise, as I mentioned in the talk our digestive abilities are lowered after vigorous exercise. As a rule of thumb also try to avoid eating too much oily, spicy or fried food. 




I heard that too frequent swimming cause dampness in the body. Is it true?

As far as I know no, but do avoid swimming in cold weather if you have joint problems, as it can be harder to maintain body temperature and good blood circulation if you stop often in between laps. 




Can people with cold constitution eat radish / drink radish soup and chrysanthemum tea? Thanks

Yes, but not too much. As I mentioned, other than our individual “base” constitutions, it can also change depending on the environment or as we grow older, it’s not an unchangeable thing. So if let’s say you stay up late a lot for a couple of days and start to feel heatiness, I would say you definitely can having some cooling foods such as radish and chrysanthemum. The most accurate gauge will be your own feeling, if you feel stomach discomfort after eating those foods then it’s probably too cold for you. 




what is the treatment for prolonged hand/finger numbness

It’s difficult to tell with just one symptom, as I would need to know if it’s due to existing medical conditions. It is best to consult with a TCM/Western doctor. If it’s uncomplicated, acupuncture is usually effective to improve blood circulation and stimulate the nerves to reduce numbness. 




Which soups would you recommend for liver health?

Liver health is a very broad topic, as it covers many body functions, from digestion, blood, regulating hormones etc. In TCM, there’s also the distinction of Liver heat or Liver yin weakness, which uses vastly different herbs to treat.

Therefore I would say generally to ease the burden on the functions of the liver, avoid alcohol, oily/fried foods, and eat more vegetables and fruits. 





Is eczema due to cold or hot constitution?

There is no cause and effect relationship between eczema and constitution. Knowing your constitution is more for the physician to decide what kind of herbs is more suitable for you to treat your eczema. I do not know the statistics to show which constitution has a higher chance of having eczema.

However in TCM we do differentiate the type of eczema by the portrayal of symptoms, whether it’s due to the heat or cold pathogenic factor. 





How do we increase bone mass density?

By consuming adequate amounts of calcium and go out in the sun a few times a week. If you are older or at risk of osteoporosis, you may need calcium supplements or even Vit D, which should be advised by your Western doctor.




Any side effects to take TCM together with health supplements?

Health supplements is a very broad topic and I can’t say I am well-versed in them. However if it’s the more common and well supported supplements like vitamins, there are no side effects. For any others I can’t make a judgement, but if you have to take both 2h apart is recommended to prevent any drug interactions.




How do we treat nocturia?

There are also multiple causes for nocturia, which is when you need to pee equal or more than 2 times per night. This is more often seen in the elderly when their bladder functions become poorer, or it could be just a symptom of other underlying medical condition. Another cause could due to sleeping problems, so whenever you wake you tend to go to the bathroom. So for each of the cases the treatment is different.

You can try to change lifestyle habits to see if that alone is enough to improve the condition. First, try to restrict water intake close to bed time. If you find that you have higher amount of urine at night but normal or less urine in the day, perhaps consider elevating your legs when you sleep at night. Regular exercise also can improve your overall condition and led to better sleep. 





Any tcm we could take for white hair? 😅

Well, aging is a natural course in life, and having white hair when older is something we should embrace and accept gracefully. However, prematurely having white hair can be a concern and there are TCM herbs that can help.

As I mentioned when introducing the concept of Kidney in TCM, the strength of it increases as we reach our prime, and decreases as we age, in a bell curve. Hair is considered an extension of the Kidney and an indicator for its function. So the foods I mentioned good for the Kidney in the slide, black sesame, black beans and mulberry are all decent food therapy options. TCM prescription wise, we use herbs that nourish the Kidney yin and yang, such as Rehmannia and Chinese Knotweed. It is best to consult a physician before taking any TCM herbs because it varies greatly between individuals. 





howabout dyson fan wind?

I suppose it is a better option since it blows more gently and mimics the natural wind. 




What is the cause of excessive burping? Is there a difference between burping and flatulence in TCM?

It can be an indication of a poorer digestive system. Another possibility is that you may be eating too fast, which causes you to swallow more air.

Both excessive burping and flatulence are considered symptoms of the digestive system, the difference being the location where the air is produced and where it can be expelled to. Burping because of air in oesophagus and flatulence because of air in the intestines. In TCM, both are indicators of the function of the Spleen.





Burping daily -causes n remedy or ways to cut down the problem

Similar to the previous question, you may want to try to slow down when eating and chew more. If you have stomach pain or acid reflux, abnormal bowel movement, then it can be a more serious digestive system issue. Avoid spicy, oily/fried food and do not overeat, or eat too late into the night, and take regular meals each day. If these lifestyle changes do not improve the situation, perhaps you could see a TCM physician to improve your Spleen function. 




What kind of food would you recommend to kidney patient?

Not exactly clear on the definition of kidney patient here, but I assume it means impaired renal function. In that case, it is the same for either Western or TCM physicians, you should reduce the burden on the kidneys by limiting mineral intake (sodium/potassium etc) and protein, depending on the severity of the condition. I believe the attending doctor or nutrionist will be more qualified than I am to advise such matters.




How to increase absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat?

Maintain a healthy digestive system! Have regular meals, usually more food in the morning and less food in the evening, avoiding supper. Have a balanced diet and avoid spicy, oily/fried foods. Exercise regularly, have enough sleep. When your overall well being is being maintained, your body can function better, and absorption of nutrients will naturally be better. 




what can i eat to treat prolonged phlegm - from the nose to the throat then now felt in my chest. its been 4 mths post covid symptom

I would need to know more about the colour and consistency of the phlegm to make a better judgement, and also other symptoms or medical conditions. It does sound you may require some medication from your description so I would advise you to see a TCM physician if the situation does not improve.

If you still have a somewhat sore throat or feel thirsty, you can try the foods I mentioned in the slides, lily bulb and pear.

Because phlegm is considered as a waste product due to the dampness of the Spleen, you can possibly drink some Chinese barley, poria, chen pi tea. OTC options can also include pi pa gao (枇杷膏), which is a kind of TCM cough syrup to see if it helps with the phlegm. 





How to treat sensitive sinus that results in blocked / runny nose?

There are many types of situations that can lead to rhinitis, it can be allergic or non allergic. If allergic, generally try to find out what is the culprit and avoid it. In TCM we attribute the cause mainly to a weaker Lung and/or Spleen function. We have different prescriptions of TCM herbs for each individual, and an example of a herb commonly used is Angelica dahurica, which is aromatic and clears dampness in the upper body.

Other than medication, exercising is a good way to improve not only the sinus problem but many others. 





How do ladies who are approaching menopause and after menopause maintain muscle mass and bone mass as they age (to avoid osteoporosis/fractures), especially when they are small frame and already of low bone mass density? Western medicine will say do weight bearing & strength training exercise, take more protein & calcium & VitD. We may be doing all these already but not sure if our bodies are absorbing the nutrients. Any tips from TCM?

All those you have mentioned are sound. As I would like to express yet again, both Western medicine and TCM are looking at the same human body and our methods to maintain health will definitely overlap. TCM is adding on to that shared base with its own system, and a lot of it are not against mainstream medicine principles either. So if you have other sub-health issues, especially with digestion, it’s often a good idea to turn to TCM to what we call “conditioning”, and adopt a healthy lifestyle (refer to 26)


Physician Chen Jiayi

Clinical Interests: TCM Internal Medicine, Acupuncture

Physician Jiayi graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science from Nanyang Technological University and Chinese Medicine from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 2017. She has been a registered TCM Physician since 2021.

Jiayi strongly believes in making medicine accessible to those who need it most and had run a mobile TCM clinic in East Coast GRC. Through it she had gained a wide perspective on various illnesses, in particular geriatric conditions and pain management.

Her personal clinical interests lie in general internal medicine, especially mood/sleep disorders. She is also a strong advocate in prevention better than cure, with hopes to propagate basic medical knowledge and good lifestyle habits through design and media.




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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