TCM Made Simple

Treating Work-Related Ailments with TCM (part 1)

Freddie Quek, 62
Marine Engineer

Q: Why did you first seek out TCM treatment?
Working long hours with extended stretches away from home is common in my line of work. I don’t really have the time to take care of myself unless something is obviously wrong, so you can imagine my shock when I happened to glance at my reflection in the mirror earlier this year and saw that the right side of my face was drooping. My family was highly concerned, thinking I had suffered a minor stroke. Several doctor visits later, I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. It is a type of facial paralysis that affects control of the muscles on the affected side of the face, thought to be caused by a viral infection of the cranial nerves. My inability to control my facial muscles meant that it was difficult to do simple things like eat, close my eyes, or even smile or frown.

Q: Why did you turn to TCM?
My doctor told me that there was no specific treatment for Bell’s Palsy, and that it was something that would improve with time. He prescribed several medications including a corticosteroid drug which would reduce inflammation, but that did not improve the symptoms. Meanwhile I was having problems with social interaction and eating. I even had to tape my eye lids down with surgical tape when sleeping to prevent my eyes from drying out! My daughter knew of someone who had had the same condition, and had improved quickly after receiving acupuncture treatment, so I decided to give it a go.

Q: What was the diagnosis?
According to my TCM physician, my condition was caused by a ‘qi’ deficiency on the right side of my face. Coupled with an imbalance of yin and yang, it allowed for “zhong feng” (中风) — external wind-cold attacking the meridian channels on my face.

Q: What did the physician prescribe?
She prescribed weekly sessions of acupuncture with moxibustion, as well as oral herbal medicines. Within a month, I could see a vast improvement in my appearance. Three months have passed and I have now fully recovered. I still go for acupuncture treatments once in two weeks.

Q: How else did you modify your lifestyle?
I have reduced my work load to better manage my stress levels and also exercise regularly, walking at least 20,000 steps daily. To regain muscle strength in my face, I do facial exercises such as wiggling my eyebrows, whistling and smiling often.


Beatrice Zielinski, 44
Sales Compensation Director

Q: Why did you first seek out TCM treatment?
I was first taken to a TCM practitioner by local friends in Hong Kong, where I travelled to regularly for business. The visits were usually for stress headaches, stomach issues or colds, which I suffered from fairly often due to my frequent travelling and a stressful lifestyle.

Q: Why did you turn to TCM?
I was seeing Western doctors and taking the prescribed medication, but I also started to seek out more organic solutions to these medical issues. I decided to try TCM as its treatments are more natural.

Q: What was the diagnosis?
Stress had affected the flow of ‘qi’ in my body. Together with my constant travelling and the long hours I spent in the office and at meetings, it was causing tension, particularly around the shoulders. This, in turn, caused headaches and stomach aches.

Q: What treatment did the TCM doctor prescribe?
He prescribed some herbs and did cupping therapy on me to clear my ‘qi’ stagnation and promote smoother blood and lymphatic fluid circulation. When I had colds, this also helped to clear my lungs.

Q: Did you modify your lifestyle in other ways?
My whole family, including my three children (aged 3-10 years old), now go for regular tui na as a form of wellness maintenance. We also see a TCM practitioner at the first sign of a cough or chest cold. We head to a Western doctor if an infection develops.

The stated diagnoses have been provided by interviewees. Diagnosis may vary from patient to patient. Do consult a qualified TCM practitioner who can diagnose your condition and prescribe the suitable treatment.