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Let your Skin glow with Facial Acupuncture

09 Jul 2024

By: Kang Ting Tan

Blog, Acupuncture, General Health, Latest and Newest about TCM Singapore Blog | Yi TCM, Physician KT 陈医师

 《黄帝内经》:“有诸形于内,必形于外。”Your appearance reflects your inner health status. In TCM, the condition of our complexion is largely influenced by the well-being of our internal gut and hormone levels, alongside other factors. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle characterized by regular meals, well balanced diet,  efficient digestion, regular exercise,  a calm demeanor and having sufficient and restful sleep (Be asleep before 11pm) is essential for achieving and preserving a radiant complexion and optimal skin health for everyone.  The common TCM methods for enhancing beauty are Facial Acupuncture, Facial Gua Sha or Herbal Medication. What is Facial Acupuncture? Facial acupuncture, also known as cosmetic acupuncture, is a holistic beauty treatment that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the face to improve skin appearance and promote overall health and well-being. It is often viewed as a safe alternative to achieve a ‘lifted’, firmer skin compared to invasive surgical procedures such as botox or fillers. The acupoints targeted in facial acupuncture are often chosen to address specific concerns like wrinkles, sagging skin, acne, blemishes or other facial concerns.   The TCM physician may also use Body Acupuncture alongside Facial Acupuncture to treat the underlying cause of your skin conditions. (内调外修)It’s important to consult with a qualified practitioner who has experience in facial acupuncture before undergoing treatment. How does Facial Acupuncture promotes better skin?Enhances blood circulation in the eyes and face, reducing dark eye circles and puffiness and resulting in a natural glow and improved skin complexionStimulates the contraction of facial muscles to improve muscle tone, resulting in a “face-lift effect” of firmer and tightened skinCauses micro-trauma in the skin tissues, stimulating skin regeneration and collagen production (reverses aging), which helps to plump the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Lightens spots and scarsRestores overall body balance. Acupuncture improves your body constitution and addresses underlying problems such as digestive issues or stress that can contribute to poor complexion or acne.  What to expect: Each session consists of a consultation with our TCM physicians followed by a facial acupuncture treatment.Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and the common sensations are often described as a prick, tingling or sore sensation around the insertion point.The first session takes around 1 hour. Subsequent sessions take around 45 minutes. After each session, individuals often notice an immediate improvement in their skin’s glow and a subtle lifting effect, particularly when complemented by additional techniques such as facial gua sha.How often must I come?We recommend each patient to come 1-2 times weekly (at least 10 sessions or more) for significant and longer-lasting changes in skin firmness and complexion. DIY Gua sha at home!It is also highly recommended to do face Gua Sha yourself daily at least 1-2 times after facial wash and moisturizer application. 
Prevent Inflammatory Bowel Disease With TCM Point of View

14 Mar 2024

By: Kang Ting Tan

Blog, Acupuncture, Autoimmune Disease, Physician KT 陈医师

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic recurrent inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Prolonged inflammation results in damage to the GI tract. Types of IBD include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.   Crohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Symptoms  Characterized by persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding/bloody stools, fatigue or weight loss Affected Location  Can affect any part of the GI tract (from the mouth to the anus) Most commonly affects the portion of the small intestine before the large intestine/colon Large intestine (Colon) and rectum Damaged areas Appears as inflamed patches in between healthy areas of intestine walls  Damaged areas are continuous, usually starting at the rectum and spreading into the colon  Inflammation Inflammation may extend through the multiple layers of the walls of the GI tract  Inflammation is present only in the innermost layer of the lining of the colon Source: https://www.thesurgeons.sg/services/inflammatory-bowel-disease/ What causes IBD? Genetics: There is a strong genetic component to IBD. Individuals with a family history of IBD are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Multiple genetic variants have been identified that are associated with an increased susceptibility to IBD. However, having these genetic predispositions does not guarantee that a person will develop IBD. Immune System Dysfunction: IBD is characterized by an abnormal immune response in the gastrointestinal tract. It is believed that in genetically predisposed individuals, the immune system mistakenly attacks harmless substances (such as food or bacteria) in the gut, leading to chronic inflammation. This dysregulated immune response contributes to the development and progression of IBD. Microbial Infections: Infections with certain bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms may trigger or exacerbate inflammation in the gut, particularly in genetically susceptible individuals. Gut Microbiota: The gut microbiota, consisting of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms, plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health and regulating the immune system. Alterations in the composition and function of the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of IBD. Disruptions in the balance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria may contribute to inflammation in the gut. Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, such as diet, smoking, hygiene, and geographical location, may play a role in triggering or exacerbating IBD. Changes in lifestyle or environmental exposures have been associated with an increased risk of developing IBD in susceptible individuals. Epigenetic Factors: Epigenetic modifications, which regulate gene expression without altering the underlying DNA sequence, have been implicated in the development of IBD. Environmental factors can influence epigenetic changes that may predispose individuals to IBD. It’s important to note that IBD is a heterogeneous condition, and the specific combination of factors contributing to its development may vary among individuals. Additionally, the interplay between genetic susceptibility and environmental factors is complex and not fully understood. Further research is needed to elucidate the precise mechanisms underlying IBD and to develop more effective treatments and preventive strategies. How Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views IBD? IBD is often viewed as a manifestation of underlying imbalances in the body’s energy (qi) and the interactions between various organ systems in the TCM perspectives.  Spleen and Stomach imbalances: The spleen and stomach are essential for the digestion and the transformation of food into qi and blood. Recurrent inflammation in the GI tract can weaken the spleen and stomach qi.  Symptoms of spleen deficiency are fatigue, bloating, prone to diarrhea or abdominal discomfort.  Liver Qi stagnation: In TCM, the liver is the organ that is in charge of managing our emotions, which is a crucial part of our mental health. Stress, unstable emotion, anxiety or overthinking can lead to liver qi stagnation. This stagnation impedes the flow of qi and blood in the body. Overtime, the congesting qi heats up and causes “fire” in the body (more inflammation in the GI tract). Liver qi stagnation  is commonly associated with IBD flare-ups and can exacerbate inflammation in the GI tract.  Blood Stasis: Chronic inflammation and tissue damage disrupt the flow of qi and blood. Prolonged blood stasis and inflammation contributes to the development of these structural abnormalities such as formation of ulcers, strictures (narrowing of the intestines) or fistulas in the GI tract.  TCM approach to treating IBD Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic approach to treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by addressing imbalances in the body’s energy, or qi, and restoring harmony between the body’s systems. Here are some common TCM modalities used in the treatment of IBD: Herbal Medicine: Chinese herbal medicine uses a combination of herbs to create customized formulas tailored to the individual’s specific pattern of disharmony. Herbal formulas for IBD may include herbs with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and immune-modulating properties. Some commonly used herbs for IBD include 黄芪 astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus), 黄芩 Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) and 甘草 licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. In the treatment of IBD, acupuncture may help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, regulate bowel function, and strengthen the immune system. It can also help manage stress and improve overall well-being. Common acupoints used are  GV20 Bai Hui 百会 CV12 Zhong Wan 中脘 ST36 Zu San Li 足三里 LI4 He Gu 合谷 LV3 Tai Chong 太冲 董氏奇穴 驷马穴 Mind-Body Practices: Mind-body practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises can help individuals with IBD manage stress, reduce anxiety, and improve coping skills. It’s important for individuals with IBD who are considering TCM treatment to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner who can provide personalized recommendations based on their specific symptoms, health history, and individual needs. TCM treatment for IBD is often used in conjunction with conventional medical therapies, and close coordination between TCM practitioners and healthcare providers is essential for optimizing patient outcomes.
Control Bloating to Succeed in the Wellbeing Digest System

14 Mar 2024

By: Kang Ting Tan

Blog, Acupuncture, General Health, Latest and Newest about TCM Singapore Blog | Yi TCM, Physician KT 陈医师

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It arises when the gastrointestinal tract becomes filled with gas, often accompanied by burping, flatulence, or pain.In addition to inducing physical discomfort, it can also impact one’s outward appearance. Presently, bloating is remarkably prevalent as a symptom experienced by numerous individuals.  What are the causes of Bloating? Eating too fastOvereatingIrregular eating habitsWheat allergies or Lactose intolerance (Milk and dairy products)Constipation StressOccurs in the period 1-2 weeks before and during the menstrual cycle (for females)Consuming food high in FODMAPS**FODMAPs stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols”FODMAPs is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly digested by many people. In certain individuals, this group of poorly digested carbohydrates reach the end of the intestine and get fermented by the hydrogen-producing gut bacteria. The excessive hydrogen produced can lead to bloating, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea.  Fruits: Apple, apricot, blackberry, cherry, mango, peach, pear, prune, watermelonVegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom (Enoki, portobello, fresh button or shiitake mushroom), garlic, shallotLegumes: Baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentilsWheat, Barley or ryeDairy products: Milk (from cows, goats and sheep), yoghurt, ice creamSweeteners: Sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, high fructose corn syrup   Research indicates a significant correlation between FODMAPs and digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Types of Bloating in TCM Perspective 1. Food Stagnation ( 饮食内停)Abdominal distention that aggravates after food Other symptoms: Nausea; flatulence, bad breath and smelly stools. Commonly occurs after overeating 2. Liver Stomach Disharmony (肝胃不和)Expanding feeling of bloating, often triggered by stress or negative emotions Other symptoms: Prone to mood swings; excessive sighing;  loss of appetite; bitter taste in the mouth and irregular bowel movements 3. Dampness and Phlegm Retention  (痰湿中阻)Abdominal and chest discomfort Other symptoms: Prone to excessive sebum secretions on the face and scalp, often have cravings for food high in fat and sugars, aversion to humid and wet weather and sticky stools.  4. Spleen Qi Deficiency(脾胃虚弱)Bloating persists most of the time in a day, especially after a meal Other symptoms: Easily fatigued; decreased appetite; puffiness around the eyes or face especially in the morning and loose stools. TCM Approach to Bloating TCM employs a holistic approach to health. Depending on the cause, duration, symptoms diagnosed by the TCM practitioner, the following combinations of methods are used to treat abdominal distention. Acupuncture Herbal medicationAuriculotherapy Dietary and Lifestyle modifications    Ways to reduce or eliminate bloating Chew your food, aiming for at least 20-30 chews per bite.Establish regular meal times to promote digestive health.Practice mindful eating by consuming food and beverages slowly. Refrain from eating while studying or working during meal times.Be aware of any food intolerances you may have. Keep a food diary to monitor and identify any foods that contribute to bloating.Drink warm water. Avoid drinking cold drinks or eating spicy, cold or raw food.Exercise regularly. Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least twice a week.  This helps to improve the qi and circulation of the body and intestine movement.    Consume lemongrass or ginger tea. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can improve digestive health. Lemongrass tea:Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 to 3 teaspoons of fresh chopped  lemongrassSteep for at least 5 minutesStrain the teaEnjoy it warmGinger tea Remove the skin of the gingerAdd half a teaspoon of freshly grated/sliced ginger and 1 teaspoon of honey (optional) to a cupAdd hot water and stirEnjoy it warm Bloating has many possible reasons. In rare cases, it can also be caused by abdominal masses such as tumours. If bloating continues and consistently causes discomfort for over 6 weeks, or if it significantly impacts your daily activities, it’s recommended to consult a medical professional for treatment.
Balancing Act: TCM Approaches to Easing Rheumatoid Arthritis Discomfort

02 Feb 2024

By: Kang Ting Tan

Blog, Acupuncture, Autoimmune Disease, General Health, Latest and Newest about TCM Singapore Blog | Yi TCM, Pain management, Physician KT 陈医师

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)  is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes joint inflammation and pain. RA commonly affects the hands, knees, ankles and usually the same joint on both sides of the body. In some people, RA can affect other parts of the body as well such as skin, eyes, lungs, heart and circulatory system.  Unlike the wear-and-tear damage (degeneration) of osteoarthritis, RA is an autoimmune disease. The immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. The immune system considers the body’s own cells, particularly those in the synovium, as foreign invaders, leading to chronic inflammation. Synovium is the tissue lining around a joint that produces fluid to help the joint move smoothly. The chronic inflammation results in  red, warm, tender and painful swollen joints that can eventually cause bone erosion and joint deformity. In addition to the joints, RA can affect other organs in the body.  Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an antibody that is often present in the blood of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Its presence is one of the diagnostic markers for RA, but not everyone with RA has detectable levels of RF, and some people without RA may have elevated RF levels. The exact cause of RA remains unclear, but researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors plays a role in its development. It is thought that individuals with specific genetic predispositions may be more susceptible to RA, and certain environmental triggers can activate these genes. These triggers may include viral or bacterial infections, physical or emotional stress, or other external factors (for e.g. being constantly in a cold or humid environment). The reasons behind a higher prevalence of RA in women compared to men remain unclear, and the condition typically manifests during middle age (25-50 years old). The likelihood of developing RA is higher for individuals with a family history of the condition. Early stage of RA Often affect smaller joints (wrists , certain joints (particularly the 2nd and 4th finger) in the hand and feet ) first  Muscle aches or joint pain worsens during humid or rainy days Disease progression Affect other bigger joints like wrist, elbows, shoulders, hips, ankle and knee Joint pain and deformity affecting daily activities  Anemic  About 40% of people also experience symptoms that do not involve the joints.  The inflammation associated with RA can damage other parts of the body as well such as:  Eyes: Dry eyes, redness or sensitivity to light  Mouth: Dryness and chronic gum inflammation  Skin: Rheumatoid nodules near joints (formed due to the accumulation of inflammatory cells and fibrous tissue) Lungs: Chronic inflammation and scarring can lead to progressive shortness of breath How TCM views Rheumatoid arthritis  RA belongs to the category of “ 痹症,Bi Zheng” in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). 《素问·痹论》说:“风寒湿三气杂至,合而为痹也。” TCM believes that the pathogenesis of RA is related to external causes and internal causes. External cause: Wind, cold, heat and dampness pathogen Internal cause: Deficiency of qi, blood, spleen, liver and kidney RA etiology in TCM perspective  其人平素体虚或劳倦内伤过甚,腠理空疏,元气不足,导致风寒湿邪(或郁而化热,或风湿热邪)流注于关节。 Experiencing chronic over-exhaustion or having a weaker body constitution may make one more susceptible to the invasion of wind, cold, or dampness pathogens targeting the joints. Extended inflammation leads to the buildup of heat and dampness within the joints. 若反复发炎则诸邪内损,可损及肝脾肾,亦能深伏于骨关节,筋脉,而血停为瘀,湿凝成痰,然后痰热互结,最总导致关节中肿胀,僵硬变形,而关节周围发生结节,皮肤色素沉着。 In the TCM  framework, chronic inflammation has the potential to harm the liver, spleen, and kidneys over time. This persistent inflammatory state can lead to either blood stasis or heat dampness, eventually giving rise to symptoms like swollen and deformed joints, the formation of rheumatoid nodules, or discoloration of skin. TCM approach to treating RA TCM employs a holistic approach to health and often utilizes a combination of therapies to treat RA. RA are generally categorized into three stages based on factors such as the duration of the condition, the type of pathogen involved, and the individual’s body constitution. Herbal medication, acupuncture and dietary restrictions are common methods to treat and manage RA. 1.Initial stage (早期:Wind and cold dampness Type  风寒湿型)   Symptoms:  Shorter duration 病程短 Generally weaker body constitution 多体虚 Morning stiffness and joint pain , especially during cold, humid or rainy environment or emotional triggers 晨僵,痛处受寒或气候潮湿或情绪波动时加重 No redness or warm joints 患处不发热发红 Aversion to cold or heat 恶寒发热 Floating and tight pulse 脉浮紧或沉弦带紧 Herbal prescription commonly used: 麻黄加白术汤加减 (麻黄, 桂枝,炒白芍,炙甘草,炒白术,姜黄,鸡血藤,忍冬藤等。)  Common acupuncture points used 五虎穴  复原穴  三间穴 阴陵泉穴    2. Middle stage (中期: 久病化热伤阴型)   Symptoms: Pain in the hand and feet joints 四肢关节肿痛,僵硬 Morning stiffness worsens with inactivity 晨僵,屈伸不利 Other accompanying symptoms: Dry throat, heart palpitations, dizziness 咽干,心悸,眩晕 Tight, thin and fast pulse 脉弦细数 Herbal prescription commonly used: 桂枝芍药知母汤加减 (桂枝,白芍,炙甘草,知母,生石膏,白术,防风,生地,炮附子,石斛,姜黄,秦艽等。) Common acupuncture points used 五虎穴  复原穴  三叉三穴 四肢穴   3. Late stage (晚期: 肝肾气血亏虚,痰瘀痹阻型)   Symptoms: Chronic pain: persistent and intense joint pain 慢性疼痛,关节刺痛或僵直 Limited mobility 关节活动不利 Joint deformities: swelling, stiffness and changes in joint structure maybe more pronounced 关节变形 Rheumatoid nodules can be seen 可见类风湿结节 Decreased quality of life. Daily activities, social interactions, and mental well-being may be compromised. 生活素质变差。 Herbal prescription commonly used: 独活寄生汤合虎潜丸加减 (独活 桑寄生 秦艽 防风 黄芪 当归 生地黄 熟地黄 黄柏 知母 白薇 炒白芍 石斛 姜黄 淫羊藿 桂枝等。) Common acupuncture points used 五虎穴  复原穴  足三里穴 丰隆穴 太溪穴 Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. Here are some potential ways acupuncture might help individuals with RA: Pain Relief: Acupuncture may help alleviate pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The insertion of needles at specific acupuncture points is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which may contribute to pain relief. Inflammation Reduction: Some studies suggest that acupuncture may have anti-inflammatory effects. By modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation, acupuncture might contribute to the management of RA symptoms. Improved Joint Function: Acupuncture may help improve joint function and mobility in individuals with RA. By promoting better circulation and reducing muscle tension, acupuncture might have positive effects on the range of motion in affected joints. Dietary restrictions Reduce consumption of  Sugary Foods, Cold Drinks, and Beer Excessive sugar consumption is associated with inflammation, and some people may experience allergic reactions or increased joint pain as a result. Raw and Cold Foods  In TCM, foods that are considered “cold” and “damp” are thought to obstruct the flow of yang energy, potentially leading to discomfort or achy joints. Peanuts, chocolate, millet, yogurt, glutinous or dairy products These certain foods possible due to their amino acid content  (tyrosine, phenylalanine or tryptophan), may contribute to production of inflammatory factors such as prostaglandins, leukotrienoic acid or IgE antibodies, potentially worsening joint inflammation or causing pain relapse  Too much sour food such as  sour plum, vinegar or lemon.  Sour foods are generally considered to have a contracting and cooling nature and may worsen joint pain. One is encouraged to consume more Chinese barley (reduce dampness), black beans, green beans, yellow beans, soy products, chestnut or sesame, Chinese yam, carrot, blueberry or turmeric powders (antioxidant properties). Early diagnosis and treatment in the earlier stages of RA can help prevent or slow down the progression to late-stage complications. Regular medical monitoring and adjustments to treatment plans are crucial in managing the disease effectively. Individuals with late-stage RA may benefit from working closely with a rheumatologist, TCM physicians and other healthcare professionals to optimize their care and improve their quality of life. Note: Information provided is not a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. Individual symptoms differ due to different body constitutions and diagnosis. One should consult a licensed TCM practitioner for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Prices exclude GST. ^Treatments are done by certain physicians only