The best of two worlds: TCM and Western medicine

SINGAPORE - Historically, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine have been at odds.

Today, many TCM physicians are trained in both types of medicine. Some Western doctors even hold concurrent positions as acupuncturists, according to Ma Kuang Healthcare Group, one of the leading providers of TCM health-care services in Singapore.

The health-care group opened in 1999 and has since grown its chain of clinics to 24 branches, with a team of 35 TCM practitioners.

But not everyone is aware of the health benefits of TCM. The health-care group said the lack of knowledge has kept many from trying the Eastern branch of medical services.

"Currently, visiting a Western doctor for medical advice and treatment still remains the first choice for many Singaporeans," said a spokesman for Ma Kuang.

In Singapore, questions like "when is the right time to visit a TCM physician" and "in what ways can TCM help" are often asked.

To help answer these, and more, here is Ma Kuang's list of common ailments which can be treated with TCM, Western medicine, or a combination of both:

Soft-tissue injuries: Inflammation and pain of the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Arthritic diseases: Arthritis and rheumatic diseases which affect the joints and connective tissues.

Allergic diseases: Allergic rhinitis - a group of symptoms affecting the nose which can be triggered by dust, animal dander or pollen - and asthma.

Autonomic nervous-system disorders: Stress-induced insomnia, fatigue and lethargy.

Digestive-system disorders: Gastric pain, constipation and acute diarrhoea.

Fertility and reproductive-system disorders: Irregular menstruation and infertility.

Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular nervous-system diseases: Post-stroke syndrome; hemiplegia, or paralysis on one vertical half of the body; facial paralysis and dysarthria - a motor speech disorder resulting from brain damage.

According to Ma Kuang, individuals should approach a TCM physician when they are unable to detect an ailment despite feeling uncomfortable.

The company says TCM can complement Western medicine, and help to maintain the health of patients who are unable to undergo surgery.

For more information, call 1800-336-5855 or visit

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