Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM is a fully institutionalised part of Chinese health care and is widely used in western medicine. TCM includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion, Tuina, food therapy, and physical exercises, such as Qigong. Like western medicine, TCM is a general practice that can treat a variety of diseases and illnesses. TCM is mainly divided into internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, and pediatrics in Chinese Medicine Hospitals.

Yin and Yang

Yin and yang are two interconnected energies that together create the life force referred to as Qi. Qi is said to flow through the body along lines called meridians. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners work with these energies in the body to promote balance.

In ancient Chinese cosmology, everything including the human form, was created from chaotic material energy. This energy then organised itself into cycles of Yin and Yang which is expressed in the world around us, as well as in our bodies. The Yin and Yang energies should be balanced in the body for optimal health. Imbalances of the Yin and Yang energy can be causes by infections, emotional trauma, stress, prolonged fatigue, and poor diet among other factors.

The five elements in Chinese herbal medicine
In addition to Yin and Yang energy there is also an understanding that everything is composed of the five elements: wood, earth, metal, water, and fire. Each of these elements also relate to the organs in our body. Chinese herbs are also described as having five tastes: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and pungent. The five tastes relate to the five elements and the organs in our body. Chinese herbs can be prescribed to enhance the balance of the Yin and Yang energy.

TCM treatment principles:
Prevent first before a disease is formed
Treat before a problem occurs
Prevent transmission after a problem is formed
Prevent recurrence after recovery

The Traditional Chinese Medicine approach
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) aims to bring energetic balance back to the body. This holistic treatment could involve acupuncture, Tuina, cupping, Guasha, herbal supplements, and lifestyle advice to help our clients achieve optimal overall health. If you are uncomfortable with needles your practitioner can discuss other therapeutic techniques.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the key components of Traditional Chinese medicine, which has been around over 2500 years. It is based on stimulating the points on “channels and collaterals” that lie throughout the body.

Acupuncture is an effective, drug-free practice. It is safe when practiced by trained professionals offering physical and emotional healing and support. It involves inserting extremely thin, single-use needles into precise points around the body. This allows the rebalancing of Qi that flows around your body.

TCM Can Assist with the Following Conditions:

  • Musculoskeletal: neck pain, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulder, acute lumbar sprain, sciatica, chronic low back pain, tennis elbow, ankle sprain, wrist pain, tenosynovitis, and various postpartum pain. 
  • Gynaecological: irregular and painful period, menopause syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • Neurological: headache, migraine, vertigo, stroke sequela, facial paralysis.
  • Mental health: anxiety, depression, insomnia.
  • Gastrointestinal: irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, acute and chronic gastritis, constipation and diarrhea, 
  • Respiratory: sinusitis, common cold, COPD.
  • Toothache, pain after tooth extraction. 

Treatment process

If you agree to acupuncture, the TCM practitioner will insert needles at specific points. These points are carefully chosen by the practitioner after your assessment and relate to meridians that help restore balance.  Your TCM practitioner is very skilled at inserting the fine needles. You may feel a slight prick or dull ache. Every attempt will be made to make the process as painless as possible so that you can relax.

The practitioner may move, twirl, heat, or apply electric pulses to the needles, depending on your condition and presentation. The needles could be left in the body for up to 20mins.

Electrical acupuncture

Certain conditions call for electrical acupuncture. The acupuncture needles are placed in their appropriate location, a small electrode is then attached to the needle. When turned on this creates a vibration through the needles to stimulate the acupressure point in your body that needs to be addressed.

Electroacupuncture activates part of your nervous system that maintains inflammation (swelling) and persistent pain. This form of treatment can be very beneficial for chronic pain and stress.

Tuina (Therapeutic Massage)

Tuina therapy is an external therapy in Chinese medicine.
Guided by the basic theory of traditional Chinese medicine, various standard manual techniques of Tuina therapy are used as the therapeutic means to function on the acupoints or regions of the body to realise the goals of preventing and treating diseases.

In Chinese literature of the ancient and modern times that there are more than three hundred types of written manual techniques.

Benefit of Tuina

In terms of the local areas of the limbs, the therapeutic effects of Tuina therapy is thought to circulate Qi, activate blood, disperse blood stasis, diminish swelling, soothe the tendons and alleviate spasms, treat pain by relaxation, regulate and lubricate the joints, and adjust the spine for reposition. In terms of the whole body, Tuina is supposed to dredge the meridians and collaterals, regulate and harmonise Qi and Blood, balance Yin and Yang, regulate Zangfu organs, support the constitution, correct deficiency, protect the body surface and expel the pathogens.  Tuina can assist with the following conditions:
  • Musculoskeletal: stiff neck, cervical spondylopathy, frozen shoulder, acute lumbar sprain, chronic low back pain, tennis elbow, ankle sprain, and various joint pain. 
  • Internal: facial paralysis, stroke sequela, insomnia, stomach pain, constipation common cold, COPD.
  • Gynaecological:, irregular and painful period, menopause syndrome, 
  • Neurological: headache, migraine, vertigo.


Cupping, or cupping therapy, is when glass, plastic, or silicone suction cups are applied to various parts of the body. The cups create a vacuum that gently suctions up the skin, lifting connective tissues. The cups can be left in specific positions, or oil can be applied to the skin, and the cups can be glided over the area, having a very relaxing massage effect. With static cupping, you will often get circular marks that resemble bruises due to the increased blood flow to the area. This is a normal part of cupping therapy and helps with the rehabilitation of the site by bringing nutrients for healing. The marks are not painful like normal bruises, and they will disappear within a few days. It is recommended not to take a bath/shower for 4-6 hours after cupping. 

Benefits of Cupping

  • Increased circulation: it encourages the flow of blood and lymph to the area, bringing with it essential minerals and nutrients. This may help with healing, numbness, and possibly scar tissue appearance and lack of sensation.
  • Relax tight muscles and help loosen myofascial adhesions. 
  • Reduce stress: cupping therapy allows the person’s parasympathetic nervous system to take over and helps reduce stress and tension.


Part of TCM practice is a healing method called Guasha. This technique is often used when someone has an acute or chronic disorder. Your practitioner might find a knotty quality to your muscles or when they apply pressure to the skin, the blanching (paling) of the skin does not fade within the appropriate time frame. They call this Sha and signifies congestion of Qi and blood.

The Guasha tool has a smooth edge which is used to stroke the skin. The pressure of the tool causes small, red dots called petechiae. This technique helps resolve musculoskeletal pain and is often used in conjunction with cupping, acupuncture and Tuina massage.

Patients often feel an immediate improvement in their pain and increased range of motion in the impacted areas.

Is Guasha Safe?
Guasha is a safe technique. Knowing when to use it and what to expect from the technique is important. After treatment, it is best to be moderate your activity and or rest. It is recommended not to take a bath/shower for 4-6 hours after Guasha.

Herb, diet, and lifestyle advice

Traditional Chinese Medicine also involves the study and application of Chinese herbs.

There have been many studies that have shown that Chinese herbal medicines can help a range of conditions, especially gynaecological and gastrointestinal issues.

Your TCM practitioner might recommend a specific, customised combination of Chinese herbs to assist in your recovery.

Herbs can be as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs and should be treated with the same caution and respect. If Chinese herbs have been recommended foe you, please do not stop or change the dosage of any prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.

Dietary Advice:
In TCM, foods are believed to have heating and cooling properties. These properties can be used as part of the healing process, which makes these dietary changes an important part of the treatment plan.

ACC covers acupuncture and electrical acupuncture.
ACC covers osteopathy.
ACC does not cover: Tuina, Cupping, herbal supplements, and lifestyle advice.