Traditional Chinese Medicine Singapore (TCM): A Complete Guide

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): A Complete Guide

What Exactly is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a form of Chinese traditional remedy. With a very rich history of more than 3,500 years, Chinese practitioners use different types of mind and body practices, and herbal products to cure health issues. Examples of some types of treatment include Acupuncture, Cupping, Tuina and Guasha.


1. 7 Different Types of TCM Treatments
2. How Much Would an Average TCM Session Cost in Singapore
3. What Should I Expect From a TCM Visit?
4. 10 TCMs to Seek Treatment From in Singapore
5. How Can Calibrate Help?

7 Different Types of TCM Treatments

1) Herbal Prescription

Herbs are specially customized for each patient to treat the imbalance or restore energy in their bodies. The herbs used are mainly plant based, however, some would include certain minerals or animal products.

The medication comes in either a solid or liquid form, or both. Some examples include tablets, paste, powders, lotions or herbs in sachets depending on what needs to be balanced or cured in a person’s body.

Benefits of Herbal Prescription
Curing cold/flu symptoms
• Improve your body’s energy
Improve sleep patterns
Decrease pains/aches
Improve menopausal symptoms
Help regulate menstrual cycles (if infertility is an issue)

2) Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a process whereby fine needles are inserted into the body to trigger specific points on the skin to regulate Qi (energy) in the body. This is a minimally invasive form of treatment which causes little to no discomfort at all. Each treatment session will usually last between 15-30 minutes.

Why Acupuncture?

Benefits of Acupuncture

Treat migraines/sinus
• Improves depression
Relieves body cramps
Improves insomnia
Relieves muscle aches
Improves digestion
Relieves muscle cramps

Potential Side Effects of Acupuncture

Minor bleeding*

*Might differ for different individuals

3) Tui Na

Tui Na is a type of chinese massage which directly translates to “push” and “grab or take”.

In this form of treatment, pressure is applied to balance Qi and circulate blood in the human body. It helps to unblock Qi in the body that has been blocked by tension, bad habits and poor health. Sessions can last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Difference between Tui Na and Western Massage

The difference between Tui Na and western massage is that Tui Na works with the body on a deeper and more energetic level. In contrast, western massages focus on muscles, bones and joints.

Benefits of Tui Na

Reduces neck and back pain
• May cure musculoskeletal disorders
May treat premenstrual syndrome
Reduce fatigue and insomnia
Lighten carpal tunnel syndrome
• Reduces headaches
Treat arthritis & osteoporosis
Greatly reduces stress
Improves digestive & respiratory conditions

Common Tui Na Techniques

• Pushing

These techniques are often used together with other TCM treatments such as acupuncture and cupping.

4) Cupping

Cupping involves small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction on the skin into the cup, to break up congested blood channels. Cupping helps cure pain and inflammation as well as improve blood flow within the body. Research has shown that cupping causes vasodilation which is the widening of blood vessels and also helps to increase blood circulation.

Dry-Cupping Technique Vs Wet-Cupping Technique

There are 2 main categories of TCM cupping, namely dry-cupping and wet-cupping

Dry-Cupping Technique

This technique refers to the normal cupping process as mentioned above with no water involved. Dry-cupping is commonly used for puncturing your skin before doing wet-cupping.

Wet-Cupping Technique

In comparison to the dry-cupping technique, the wet-cupping technique has an extra step whereby an incision is made and a small amount of blood would be drawn out into the cup. Wet-cupping helps the kidney clear heavy metals from the body.

Benefits of Cupping

• Cures pain & inflammation
Improves acne
Treats shingles
Treats facial paralysis

Potential Side Effects of Cupping

• Leaves patches of round shaped bruises on skin (might take around 10 days to fade)
Skin discolourations
Mild discomfort

5) Guasha

Guasha literally translates to “scraping” in Chinese. It is the usage of a tool to scrape one’s skin to relieve tension and chronic pain. This form of natural therapy works by having oil applied on the skin and then making short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow.

Benefits of Guasha

• Improves migraines
Improves neck ache
Improves breast engorgement (for breastfeeding women)
May improve Tourette Syndrome* by up to 70%
* A nervous system disorder involving uncontrollable repetitive movements or unwanted sounds.

Potential Side Effects of Guasha

• Minor bruising
Possible minor bleeding
Temporary indentation of skin

6) Moxibustion

A form of heat therapy that involves burning moxa which is a cone or stick made of ground mugwort leaves on or very near the skin.

The heat from burning moxa helps stimulate acupuncture points to improve the flow of blood or Qi in the body. Moxa materials are usually compressed into a stick or cone and burned slowly until the skin turns red. Once the patient feels the heat, the practitioner removes the stick.

Benefits of Moxibustion

Improves digestion
Improves menstrual cramps
Improves eczema
Improves fatigue

Potential Side Effects of Moxibustion

Nausea and vomiting
Sore throat or coughing from moxa smoke
Dark patches of skin

7) Taichi Exercise

Also known as Taijiquan, it is a form of chinese martial arts for the purpose of improving one’s health and fitness. This type of exercise is commonly seen among the elderly or middle aged with its slowly paced and relaxing moves.

Benefits of Taichi

Improves mood
Increased stamina
Improved flexibility and balance
Improved muscle strength
Decreased stress, anxiety & depression

Potential Side Effects of Taichi

Muscle aches or pains for beginners

How Much Would an Average TCM Session Cost in Singapore?

The cost of TCM sessions depend on the type of treatment required and duration of treatment for each individual:

Image: DoctorxDentist

What Should I Expect From a TCM Visit?

Similar to any other western clinics, it follows the typical doctor-visit procedure:

1. Consultation
2. Diagnosis
3. Follow-up plan

Disclaimer: TCM should not be used as a replacement for conventional or allopathic treatment, especially for serious conditions. However, it may be beneficial when used as complementary therapy. Since some TCM herbs might interfere or be toxic when combined with Western medication, you should inform your doctor or primary healthcare provider if you are using TCM.

Also, If you have a pre-existing health condition, talk with your health care provider before using TCM herbal products.

DO NOT use TCM to replace or delay seeking conventional care.

10 TCMs to Seek Treatment From in Singapore


1. Si En Medicare⁺

Address: Square 2, 10 Sinaran Drive, Novena Medical Center, Sq 2, #10-28

• 1-for-1 SilverCare: Healthy Aging + TCM Body Constitution Screening – $30
• 1-for-1 GynaeCare TCM Body Constitution & Women Health Screening – $30
• Happy Child Immune care TCM Body Constitution Health Screening – $30

Book their services via this link. 

2. Novahealth Premium TCM Clinic

Address: 1 Raffles Place, One Raffles Place #05-17 (S)048616

• TCM Pain Management (45 mins) – $128
• TCM General Medicine: Consultation (30 mins) – $20
• TCM Slimming/Aesthetics (60 mins) – $128

Check out other services by Novahealth or book via this link

3. Heritage TCM Clinic

Address: 304 Orchard Road, #05-43 Lucky Plaza, Orchard Medical Specialists Centre

• Consultation First Visit (20 mins) – $25
• Consultation Subsequent Visits (20 mins) – $20
• Acupuncture (30 mins) – $50

Check out other services by Heritage TCM or book this link


4. Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution (Woodlands)

Address: 679 Woodlands Ave 6, Singapore 730679

Opening Hours: Mon-Tues, Thurs-Sat 8am–12:30pm, 1:30–5pm, 7–9pm | Wed 9am -9pm | Sun Closed


5. Xin Hua TCM Clinic

Address: 100 Tras St, #02-13, Singapore 079027

6. Sin Kang TCM

Address: The Star Vista 1 Vista Exchange Green #B1-18

Other outlets include 100AM and Paya Lebar.

• Acupuncture (30 mins) – $60
• Tuina Massage (60 mins) – $68
• Chinese Osteopath (60 mins) – $128

Check out other services by Sin Kang TCM or book via this link


7. Oak Health

Address: 83 E Coast Rd, Level2, Singapore 428786

Opening Hours: Tues-Fri 11am-9pm | Sat 9am-5pm | Mon & Sun Closed

Telephone: +65 6286 8896

8. Sian Chay Medical Institution Team

Address: 610 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389549

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9am–12pm, 1–5pm | Sun Closed

Telephone: +65 6744 1512


9. Simpson TCM

Address: 1 Bukit Batok Central Link #03-17 West Mall, Singapore 658713

Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-9pm

Telephone: +65 6970 5339

10. Quintessence

Address: Ang Liang Medical Hall, Blk 320 Clementi Ave 4 #01-21Singapore 120320

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm

Telephone: +65 8234 4845

How Can Lexly Help?

With our verified TCM practitioners, Lexly seeks to help you better understand your various treatment options. Find and book an expert near you for any TCM related treatments.

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