As a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, I am concerned about the growing number of TCM massage centres that have sprouted up recently.
Most of these shops display a flashing neon sign of two feet, with staff at the door asking people if they need a massage. They give the impression that the shop provides TCM treatments as well as massage services.
However, when people ask for acupuncture or physician services, the staff reply that the physician is attending to a house call or is not around.
Even though the TCM practitioner is not in the shop, his practitioner's certificate is hanging on the wall. Does this mean the shop is able to provide massage services in the name of TCM?
Some of these shops "buy" certification from a TCM practitioner and are able to use the TCM label for their shop name. This is misleading and puts TCM in a bad light.
It has been a long and tough road for TCM practitioners to gain more recognition.
We are trying to raise the professional image of TCM practitioners and encourage them to enhance their knowledge and skills, but there are grey areas that need to be addressed.
I hope the TCM Practitioners Board will look into the matter I raised and set guidelines to regulate the use of the TCM label for such massage shops.
Letter from Ong Eng Soon
This article was published on April 19 in The Straits Times.
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