Traditional Chinese Medicine


What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a school of medicine that has been practised by generations of people from the Chinese culture for thousands of years. Contemporary western medicine focuses on diagnosing and treating a disease based on the patient’s symptoms using methods such as drugs and surgery. In contrast, TCM is based on the philosophy of treating the patient holistically, taking into consideration not only physical symptoms but the patient’s physical and emotional balance and Qi (life force energy). As disharmony or imbalance within the body is believed to be the source of illness, natural treatment methods such as acupuncture, herbs, exercise and massage are prescribed to restore a patient’s Qi. The focus is not just on treating symptoms but boosting immunity to prevent illness and speed up recovery from any early signs of imbalance in one’s state of health.

TCM modalities include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition and dietary therapy, tuina – a form of Chinese therapeutic massage, and “tai chi” and “qi gong” exercises.

Benefits of TCM

TCM treats multiple chronic and acute issues and approaches treating ailments from a holistic perspective. A variety of physical and psychological symptoms that are treatable include pain, inflammatory bowel syndrome, colitis, infertility, neuropathy, arthritis, insomnia, stress and depression.

Parkway Shenton TCM treatments

TCM services we offer

Parkway Shenton offers TCM modalities such as acupuncture and massage as part of our commitment to provide holistic care for our patients. These include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition and dietary therapy, tuina (Chinese therapeutic massage), cupping, scraping, adequate exercise etc. The usage of treatment modalities is dependent on the patient’s current body constitution and symptoms. Hence they may be changed as the patient’s state of health rebalances over time.


Acupuncture works by guiding the patient’s own Qi to flow smoothly in energy meridians, rebalancing and nourishing any deficiencies, therefore decreasing the physical symptoms exhibited. Very fine disposable stainless steel needles (0.18 - 0.3mm thick) can be inserted in more than one acupoint, in many different parts of the body at the same time and left in the patient’s body for a specified time for their Qi flow to regulate themselves.

Acupuncture is widely used for:

  • Common ailments such as espiratory conditions (coughs, colds etc), digestive issues (constipation, diarrhoea, bloatedness, flatulence, GERD)
  • Chronic conditions (e.g. managing high blood pressure, diabetes, skin conditions like rashes, and sleep issues)
  • Pain management (e.g. head, neck, shoulder and back aches, and injuries from sports and other activities)
  • Boosting immunity by increasing overall energy levels to decrease risk of respiratory issues and maintains one’s good health
  • Men’s and women’s wellness (e.g. maintain hormonal balance, improve mood and reduce stress, improve skin health and fertility, helps women with various menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms)

Cupping and Moxibustion

Both methods apply the same concept of acuputure by moving Qi flow, with the difference being using cups and the moxa herb instead of using needles or parts of the body.


The physician puts some massage oil on the acupoints to be cupped and places glass or plastic cups on those acupoints. The area to be cupped is usually a fleshy part of the patient’s body to ensure suction. It is normal for cupping to leave faint marks on the body for a few days after treatment - the darker the marks, the more toxins have been purged from the body. Cupping is suitable for pain management with heaty body constitution and not suitable for patients with cold body constitution.


The physician lights Moxa sticks or cones and places them over or on the acupoints of the patient’s body to warm the acupoint and subsequently the targeted meridian up. Slight redness of skin around the area treated is normal and will disappear after a few days. Moxibustion is suitable for pain management for those with a cold body constitution and helps to boost immunity levels.

Herbal Formulas

The most used treatment modality in TCM is herbal formulas.

Herbs work together in a team towards the same intention of nourishing one or more of the 4 internal energies (Qi, Blood, Yin, Yang) and purging the 6 pathogens (Wind, Cold, Summer-Heat, Dampness, Dryness, Fire). There are many kinds of herb combinations available: 2 - 10 herbs or more than 20 herbs in one herbal formula.

Herbs can also be used after the other treatment modalities to maintain the latter’s effects for a longer time. The forms of herbs that are available in Parkway TCM clinics are concentrated herbal powder, capsules and tablets for easy consumption.

Dietary Consultation

Eating well ensures that we nourish and rebalance our own Qi flow through our daily food intake.

Foods can be classified into 5 different categories of Cold, Cool, Neutral, Warm, Heaty. When you see a TCM physician for consultation you will know your personal current levels of Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang internal energies and which of the 6 pathogens are in excess. The consultation will also help you understand which foods are suitable or not suitable. A comprehensive TCM dietary plan can help with weight management and digestive disorders.

Patients will be informed which categories of vegetables, grains, fruits and others are more suitable for their current body constitution and which to stay away from. When they consistently eat foods that are suitable for them, they will be able to nourish and rebalance their own Qi flow, maintaining a healthy digestive system the natural way.


Having an adequate amount of exercise is an important concept in TCM because it is not just the amount of Qi we have, but how we move and rebalance its flow. If there is too little exercise or inactivity, Qi stagnation and decrease in Yang energy occurs, leading to symptoms of pain, sluggishness and low immunity. Too much exercise or activity leads to Qi deficiency and decrease in Yin energy, showing up as symptoms of tiredness, breathlessness and strains.

During a TCM dietary consultation, basic breathing techniques are also shared so that patients know how to breathe themselves into relaxation daily. TCM exercise and diet programmes are available for different body constitutions and preferences as well.

Expert Manipulative Massage Automation (EMMA)

At Parkway Shenton, we offer Expert Manipulative Massage Automation, or EMMA, a robotic massager. It uses sensors and 3D vision technology to analyse muscle stiffness and determine the optimal course of treatment for patients. Following a consultation with a TCM physician, the prescribed therapeutic massage is performed by EMMA’s robotic arm, consisting of a soft silicone ‘thumb’.

Why choose Robotic Tuina?


What is Tuina?

Tuina is a form of traditional Chinese therapeutic massage that is widely used to treat muscle, bone and tendon pain. Tuina massages can be performed by our licensed TCM physicians and physiotherapists or EMMA, a robotic massager. EMMA uses sensors and 3D vision technology to analyse muscle stiffness and determine the optimal course of treatment for patients. The EMMA treatment is currently only available at Parkway Shenton, Toh Yi.

The benefits of Tuina

Benefits of tuina includes boosting of blood circulation, reducing neck pain, relieving low back pain, managing depression, promoting healthy lactation, treating osteoarthritis, easing carpal tunnel syndrome, treating musculoskeletal disorders and improving quality of life of cancer patients.

The benefits of Robotic Tuina

Ability to provide longer massages

As tuina massages require a lot of strength and can be labour-intensive, patients who require longer massages may find EMMA’s tuina massage more consistent and comfortable. Compared to massages by massage therapists which can be inconsistent due to human fatigue or error, EMMA provides consistent precision and effort throughout the massage.

Ability to deliver clinically-accurate massages

EMMA is designed to deliver clinically-precise massages in consultation with a prescription by a TCM physician. For instance, EMMA can analyse a patient’s blood flow and pressure, detect areas of muscle stiffness, and measure muscle stiffness levels before and after the massage. EMMA is also able to accurately target acupoints in the body. This data helps the TCM physician tailor the massage specifically to the patient’s condition.

Avoid prolonged human contact during this COVID-19 period

During this COVID-19 pandemic, EMMA is also a good option for patients who wish to minimise contact with other people and still receive therapeutic treatment. As EMMA is able to provide back massage, patients whose concerns are mainly in these areas can benefit from having EMMA massage them. Patients who require massage on more areas of their bodies can still benefit from EMMA. Person-to-person contact is still minimised as the massage therapist need only focus on other areas of the body that EMMA does not massage - such as the neck, ankle or wrist.

Who is suitable for Robotic Tuina?

Patients who suffer from aches and pains in areas around their backs and wish to opt for tuina massages will be able to benefit from EMMA. For patients who are considering having their tuina massage performed by EMMA and are concerned about safety, do note that EMMA is equipped with multiple layers of mechanisms in its hardware and software to ensure safety, e.g. the force that can be exerted by EMMA during massages is automated to be kept within a safe and comfortable limit.

Where are Parkway Shenton’s TCM services available?

TCM services are available at certain Parkway Shenton clinics.

Shenton Medical Group (Toh Yi) TCM Clinic

TCM treatment modalities available include manual Tuina massage, EMMA robotic tuina, electroacupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine (concentrated powder/capsules/tablets) to help with pain management and recovery, digestive disorders and skin disorders. Call +65 62358926 to book your TCM appointment.

Shenton Wellness Centre (Alexandra Retail Centre)

TCM treatment modalities available include comprehensive dietary consultation with health report, traditional acupuncture techniques, traditional fire cupping, scraping, moxibustion and herbal medicine (concentrated powder/capsules/tablets) with a focus on stress and sleep disorders, boosting immunity, men and women’s health maintenance. Call +65 63761630 / +65 63761303 to book your TCM appointment.

For DBS/POSB cardholders, receive a 30 minute Robotic Tuina Massage at Shenton Medical Group (Toh Yi) TCM Clinic as well as a TCM dietary consultation/teleconsultation at Shenton Wellness Centre (Alexandra Retail Centre) at $38.*

*Terms & Conditions apply.