TCM clinics see surge in acupuncture treatments as curbs ease, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

TCM clinics see surge in acupuncture treatments as curbs ease

This article is more than 12 months old

Customers rushed for acupuncture treatments at traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinics yesterday, the first day such treatments were allowed to resume since the start of circuit breaker measures on April 7.

Ms Lim Swee Cheng, general manager of clinic services and operational excellence at Eu Yan Sang, said its clinics saw a surge in acupuncture appointments yesterday, with some physicians being fully booked.

Physician Li Huarong, who owns Yu Sheng Tang TCM Clinic, said she received advance bookings for acupuncture treatments after the announcement was made on Saturday.

"Many of my customers complained that they had endured body aches for close to a month now, so they are glad to be able to resume treatment," she said.

Her first patient of the day was oil and gas technician Yeo Cheow Juan, 60, who has been receiving regular TCM treatment for around two years for lower back and knee pain.

"I've been trying to bear the pain for the past month, so I'm glad to be able to resume my regular acupuncture treatments again," he said.


Since the introduction of circuit breaker measures, TCM clinics were allowed to provide only consultation and dispense herbal medicine to patients.

Now, TCM halls with registered practitioners are also being allowed to sell retail products. However, services like cupping, gua sha and tui na are still not allowed.

Mr Tan Ooh Chye, honorary secretary of the Public Free Clinic Society, said: "During the circuit breaker, customers have dropped to between 30 per cent to 50 per cent, as more refrain from TCM visits unless they experience acute or intolerable pain, which is hardly the case."

Others lamented that TCM halls selling general wellness products will not resume operations on May 12.

Ms Joy Tay, 46, founder of an enrichment centre, said she regularly purchases nourishment products from these shops.

"It's important to people, especially among the older generation, as these herbs and tonics can help us to build our immunity during this crucial period."

These sentiments were echoed by MP Lee Bee Wah, who requested in Parliament on Monday that the re-opening of these TCM shops be prioritised.

In response, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said people can buy these products from TCM halls with registered practitioners, though the multi-ministry task force is looking to see how this could be expanded further.