How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Improve Your Health?

Ruth Lee
29 April, 2020


With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system to lower their chances of being affected. Other than maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, some may even take supplements to help boost their immunity. While that is good and all, have you ever considered going for something more natural, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? TCM involves the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, qi-gong and many other traditional therapies to treat illnesses and it can certainly help boost your immunity during these times!

TCM: A therapy steeped in tradition

The traditional philosophy behind TCM is this: our bodies consist of Qi (which means ‘air’ in Chinese) and Blood, which are vital energies circulating through us at all times. If this normal flow is interrupted or blocked, we may easily fall sick as it negatively affects our bodies. So TCM is all about making sure these vital energies are flowing normally.

Acupuncture: Let the needles do their magic therapy steeped in tradition


Acupuncture works by stimulating specific portions of the autonomic nervous system through selected acupoints. While that sounds like a mouthful, it basically means that it triggers responses in the immune system to enhance blood circulation, which unblocks pathways.

‘Does it hurt?’ This is probably the first question every client asks when I tell them about acupuncture. I don’t blame them for asking, because I’ll be inserting needles into their bodies! I would say that it’s a different experience for everyone, but it’s usually not painful. The needles are hair thin, so you’ll only feel a slight prick. I have treated kids and even babies with acupuncture, so yeah, it’s definitely a bearable experience.

The needles will remain in your body for around 20-25 minutes before they are taken out. It may sound peculiar, but patients often feel so relaxed that they doze off with needles all over them! People who come out of an acupuncture session feeling relaxed and refreshed, and that’s because the flow of their Qi is restored.

Cupping: The only hickeys you can show off to everyone

Cupping works with the same principles as acupuncture. It involves suctioning which is created either by heated cups or a handheld pump. The cups will remain on the skin for 5 to 15 minutes, often leaving their signature circular hickey-like bruises once they are removed.

These bruises are indications of internal pathogens such as coldness or dampness, which will fade within a few days. One thing to note is that the darker the bruises, the more stressed your body is. While cupping can alleviate the muscle pain and stress, it should also act as a good reminder to take care of yourself!

Herbal Soup: Basically TCM at Home

Stewed soups are no doubt a staple for Chinese family dinners, especially in Cantonese cuisine, famous for its Lao Huo Tang (Double-stewed soups). These soups use simple ingredients like pork, chicken and vegetables, but can also incorporate traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients like ginseng, goji berries and Chinese yams where you can get in TCM stores.

I would like to introduce a medicinal ingredient you might be familiar with: fish mint. It is an ingredient that is in season right now. Fish mint is very common in TCM, and it is seen as a natural antibiotic by Chinese medicine practitioners.

Chinese people also put fish mint in stewed soups to prevent cold and flu, so you should try making this soup at home too! I have just shared a video above to demonstrate how to make a Fish mint lung cleansing soup with Fish mint, sugarcane, water chestnuts and apples. It is a delicious drink for everyone in the family.

Cupping at Home: Definitely an Instagram worthy experience

To maintain regular wellness, I usually recommend undergoing acupuncture 1-3 times a week and cupping once a week. This ensures that your pathways are unblocked and open to protect you from falling sick. But with everyone stuck at home, I recommend an alternative: cupping at home!

Yes, you can actually do cupping yourself. This set of AcuTouch energy cups that I’ve created makes cupping a treatment that is very doable at home. These AcuTouch cups are made of silicone, so you can form the vacuum simply by squeezing the cup to expel the air. This means that anyone can do cupping at home and enjoy the benefits they like. I think filming the process is going to be interesting, so what better time to do it than now!

This article was written by Ruth Lee and originally appeared on Nana Asia. It is shared with their kind permission.

Why One Must Take Care of the Womb

by Grace Yu

The health of one’s uterus is connected to the female menstruation cycle. From fertilization to giving birth, this female organ plays an important role.Whether or not one would want to bear a child, one must take care of the uterus as it controls the female hormones. The ovaries connected to the left and right sides of the uterus are responsible for the secretion of female hormones.

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the coordination of the five organs including the liver, spleen and kidney are key. Once these are not harmonious with one another, neither the ovaries nor the uterus can function normally, and blood and lymphatic circulation will also deteriorate, causing adverse effects on the whole body.

When one is under stress, one’s defense mechanism activates and will start to protect the body to gain some balance, especially the liver. Therefore, the blood or nutrients needed to maintain uterine strength will be stopped, affecting the secretion of female hormones.

Excessive weight loss, abdominal chills and obesity cause female hormone secretion to become abnormal, leading to poor blood circulation and other physical issues.

Suggested Exercise

Kneel down with knees naturally separated. Kneel comfortably on the bed, straighten the waist, bend forward so that the chest and face are as close as possible to the bed surface for 5 minutes. Then lie down on the bed and exercise the abdomen and hips. Keep it up for as long as possible, and feel the uterus contract with the body. Doing it once a day can improve some gynecological problems.

Herbal Tea Recipe

  • 2 pieces of roses,
  • 1 piece of jujube,
  • 5 pieces of gojiberry,
  • schisandra 3g,
  • rice beans 3g,
  • coix seed 3g,
  • Lobed Kudzu vine Root 2g,

  • Ophiopogon japonicus 2g,
  • licorice 1g,
  • privet 2g,
  • Spine Date Seed 2g,
  • floating wheat 2g,
  • barley 2g,
  • angelica 2g,

Add ingredients to 500ml of hot water and soak it for about 15 minutes.

This herbal tea can help women with hair loss, early graying and lack of energy during menstruation, or women experiencing menopause or postpartum and experiencing mood swings.

*For pregnant women, please consult a professional physician before use.

To book a Traditional Chinese Medicine consultation with Grace Yu:

Please call 2530 3315 or
Email appt@balancehealth.com.hk



Chinese Medicine Herbal Tea Formulas to Boost Immunity Against Flu, Coronavirus

by Dr. Grace Yu

Do you want to stay safe from viruses such as the coronavirus?
Keep a healthy diet, sleep properly, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive outlook are the key points to help improve immunity.

Here are three recommended Traditional Chinese medicine recipes that help combat the flu and other viruses.

1. Yupingfeng San (for person with Qi Deficiency)

Scutellaria baicalensis 10g
Saposhnikovia divaricata 10g
Atractylodes 6g

Mix ingredients with 1000cc water until it boils and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

This tones the spleen and stomach, strengthens the external qi, and enhances one’s immune system.

2. Clearing Heat and Detoxifying Formula (for Heat-trapped person)

Honeysuckle 6g
Forsythia 6g
Raw licorice 3g

Mix the ingredients with 1000cc water until it boils and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

This recipe clears heat and detoxifies to prevent virus invasion.

3. Asian Pear Lungs Nourishing Soup

Scutellaria baicalensis 10g
2 dried monk fruits (Luo Han Guo)
2 Asian pears
800cc water

Wash the pears, peel and slice them. Peel the dried monk fruits.

Add water to the pot, boil over high heat.

Add Scutellaria baicalensis, Luo Han Guo, and pears. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, and turn over low heat for 10 minutes.

The first soup is to enhance resistance. If infection occurs, the second soup can be used to clear the heat and detoxify to prevent virus invasion. It is always recommended to consult a professional first.

Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the individuality of medicinal materials according to individual symptoms. If there are no symptoms, it is not recommended to use them arbitrarily.

Please consult a Chinese medicine practitioner based on your symptoms.

For health concerns and TCM inquiries please schedule an appointment with Dr. Grace Yu at 2530 3315 or appt@balancehealth.com.hk.

Remote consultations are also available.

How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help with Infertility Problems?

In this blog post, Balance Health is pleased to interview Dr. Ruth Lee – Registered Chinese Medicine practitioner. She will share with us the root causes of infertility problems, as well as give us an overview of how those problems can be successfully tackled with the help of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

1, Dr. Ruth Lee, thanks for participating in this interview. Infertility is a growing medical problem in the modern world. Do you often treat patients with infertility-related problems?

Yes, I am a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and practitioner of Chinese medicine specializing in women health and fertility. I have helped many previously infertile patients to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Some of them have already adopted assisting reproductive technologies, such as IVF (In-Vitro fertilization), and wanted to use acupuncture and herbals to boost the success rate before the egg is implanted into the uterus. Some just came for natural ways to regulate their body’s balance to get themselves prepared for the future pregnancy.

2, With years of experience in TCM, do you think that modern-day changes in lifestyle such as stress and unhealthy foods contribute to infertility?

Sure, they do. People are eating processed and genetically modified food, seafood loaded with mercury; exposed to radiations, hectic work hours; all of them lead to problems such as abnormal fallopian tubes, hormonal problems, cervical infections and uterine troubles. They all will lower the reproductive potential.

3, In addition to those factors, what are the other causes of infertility among women?

I would say aging is another major factor for female infertility. Research tells us that women become less fertile after the age of 35. And nowadays, women focus on building their career during their younger ages so they miss the golden time for conception.

4, Is infertility an increasing phenomenon among men as well?

Yes, infertility can stem from the male factors, such as low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape, abnormal sperm motility, etc. Why is men’s body producing dysfunctional sperms? It is mainly due to hormonal irregularities and genetic disorders. Exposures to toxins like tobacco, alcohol or some drugs like steroid or antibiotics, radiations, heavy metal will all affect the normal sperm production or damage the DNA in sperm cells. And in TCM terms, these external pathogens will damage our Kidney, Liver, and Spleen Systems which will disrupt the internal balances of our qi (life energy) and blood flow.

5, Can you please share with us how TCM therapies can assist with pregnancy?

Various studies done in the West and China have shown that TCM therapies, such as acupuncture, herbals, cupping, womb warming tuina and ear-seeds treatments, can address the underlying imbalances so that the body can function healthily. By applying the right treatments, it can help increase the qi and blood flow to the uterus, regulate the hormones to help with the growth and release of a mature and healthy egg during ovulation, improve the thickness of the uterine lining, stabilize the nervous system to allow the body to handle stress better and detox heavy metals inside the body. For men in particular, TCM can also help to stimulate the teste to produce normal and active sperms. These can improve the chances of conception.

6, How does an IVF (In vitro fertilization) acupuncture treatment look like?

Before the treatment, I will first review the patient’s medical history and evaluate his/her body constitution, analyze the tongue and pulse characteristics. Then I will insert ultra-fine, sterile, disposable acupuncture needles into specific acu-points on the body along the selected meridians according to the diagnosis. The patient will lie still for around 30 minutes with the needles in place and infrared heat on top. Usually people find it very relaxing as it is a process of balancing the qi and blood flow.

7, How do Chinese herbals work for infertility?

Chinese herbals have been used for healing infertility in the past two thousand years. The ancient masters found that reproduction functions are tightly linked to the Kidney system. They documented formulas that can heal infertility by strengthening the Yin and Yang of the Kidney, which are proven by current studies, very effective to promote hormone balance and regulate the menstrual cycle. That’s why Chinese herbals are not only great for facilitating fertility, but also for alleviating premenstrual syndromes like acne, cramps, tender breasts, bloating, backache, depression and anxiety. In addition, I strongly believe that Chinese herbal tea can act as a very potent anti-oxidant which can slow down the aging process — good news for those who try to conceive over age 35.

Every time I see the patient, I will prescribe combinations of herbs that are uniquely tailored to his/her detailed health history. The personalized formula is carefully balanced to accentuate the patient’s strength and works for his/her particular form of infertility. It is made into powder form, which can be dissolved into water and taken just like instant coffee.

8, And if an infertile couple wants to come for IVF acupuncture and herbal, when should the treatment begin?

True healing takes time. Primordial eggs cells take 120 days to mature before one is released during ovulation, so I will usually recommend my patients to take three to four months before progressing to IVF for a proper pre-conception care to ensure healthy egg quality. This will increase the chance of conceiving and decrease the risks of miscarriage In general, a course of acupuncture once or twice a week combined with herbals will have the best therapeutic effect.

9, Is there any lifestyle advice that you would like to share for couple who wants a successful IVF treatment?

Preparation is key for optimizing fertility. And below will be my tips for anyone who want a healthy pregnancy:

1. Eliminate mercury containing fish, refined sugar, genetically modified food, caffeine and foods that you are sensitive to.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Limit your alcohol intake.
4. Watch out for workplace hazards. Use protective clothing, proper ventilation and face masks to reduce your risk of absorbing toxins.
5. No hair dye.
6. No extreme workouts.
7. Eat plenty organic food and fermented veggies.
8. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness training and journal writing to reduce stress.

Disclaimer: The interview above is for informational purposes only. The practitioner and editor have attempted to verify information in this interview, but neither ones should assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or your interpretation of the above contents. If you have any medical problems or healthcare needs, please consult your healthcare provider.

To book a TCM appointment at the Balance Health clinic, please email: appt@balancehealth.com.hk or call us: +852 2530 3315