Acupuncture in Singapore

Acupuncture in Singapore

In Singapore, you might have heard of acupuncture from your parents.

Acupuncture is an ancient Asian medicinal art based on ‘meridian theory’ devised 5,000 years ago that involves the use of thin, cylindrical needles that are inserted into specific portions of the body called acupuncture points.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the numerous functional— and, in the course of time, occasionally also substantial—disorders are disturbances in the area of circulation and the production of Qi and blood. By maintaining the flow of Qi and blood in the meridians, disorders can be managed and treated. Each of the acupuncture points act as a gate—sending energetic information electromagnetically via the fascia deep into the body.

How Acupuncture Works

The essence of acupuncture mechanism in clinical application is microinjury, increased local blood flow, facilitated healing, and analgesia. 

As acupuncture points are designated areas of electrical sensitivity, inserting needles at these points stimulates sensory receptors that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain. The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be some 200 times more potent than morphine). 

Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, hormonal issues and infertility. The substances released as a result of acupuncture relax the body, and also regulate serotonin in the brain, which affects emotional states. Other physiological effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count, which supports the immune system.

Clinical Applications of Acupuncture in Singapore

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a number of conditions in which acupuncture has been proven effective.
  • High and low blood pressure
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Gastric conditions, including peptic ulcer
  • Painful periods
  • Dysentery
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Facial pain
  • Morning sickness
  • Tennis elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Reducing the risk of stroke
  • Inducing labor

Acupuncture, is it safe?

Unlike other pain reduction and pain management treatments, acupuncture is fairly non-invasive and non-habit forming. Other than occasional bruising, little or no side effects have been observed and reported under the supervision of a trained and skilled TCM physician in Singapore.

Not only does it alleviate pain, it also increases the body’s energy level by stimulating the meridian points. It brings the body into homeostasis and allows one to feel better with very little to no pain at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

The number of treatments depends on the duration, severity, and nature of your condition. This may range from a single treatment for an acute condition to a series of treatments for chronic problems. Degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. Fertility treatments usually warrant two sessions per week ideally. In addition to acupuncture, there may be nutrition recommendations, supplements or Chinese herbal prescriptions to assist in the healing process. 

The sensations vary from completely unnoticed to a small pinch followed by a sensation of tingling, numbness, a dull ache, the movement of a warm fluid, or heaviness. Usually patients will go into deep relaxation during treatment.

The most common concern about acupuncture is the fear of the needles. However, the needles used are much finer than those used for injections and blood tests – 25 to 50 times thinner than hypodermic needles. You’ll feel a little pressure as the needle pierces the skin. Once the needle is in the muscle, there should be no pain.

TCM Physicians in EMW Physiotherapy & TCM in Singapore and only use sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles. 

Acupuncture points are located on or close to the skin’s surface, but needles can be inserted from 1/16 to a few inches deep. The depth of insertion depends on the nature of the location and condition being addressed, the patients’ size, age, and constitution, as well as the acupuncturist’s style and training.

A session lasts approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on the nature of modalities used and the illness treated. 

For your initial consultation, the acupuncturist needs to assess your general health. You will be asked about your current symptoms and any treatment you’ve received so far. It is also important to gather detailed information about your medical history and that of your family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. The purpose is to identify what needs to be addressed in order to target your specific complaint, and to boost your overall vitality.

Stimulation of specific areas affects the functioning of various organs. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where you are experiencing a problem. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted into your foot or hand. There are 365 specific acupuncture points on the body, and an unlimited number of non-specific points. An experienced acupuncturist will use a selection of these for each session. Often during the course of a few sessions, different points will be selected as the patient’s condition changes.

Once a treatment plan is determined, you will spend approximately 20-40 minutes being treated and relaxing on the acupuncture table. 

We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing to receive acupuncture treatment in Singapore. You should be aware that the acupuncturist may need to access points on your torso, arms and legs. It also helps to be in a calm state. Try to arrive 5 or 10 minutes before your appointment to give yourself a chance to relax. Try to avoid the following:

  • Eating a big meal within one hour of your appointment
  • Fasting for more than six hours before your appointment
  • Alcohol, tobacco, food or drinks that color your tongue (such as coffee) immediately prior to treatment or just following a treatment
  • Vigorous exercise or sexual activity within the hour before treatment

We also recommend that you avoid wearing any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated. Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics.

Do not bring your cell phone into the treatment room or at the very least turn it off before entering the office. Having the phone ring during an acupuncture session takes away from the effect of the healing and is distracting to both the Doctor and the patient.

Many people think that they should not schedule an acupuncture treatment when they are sick with a cold or flu, but this is actually a good time to come, since acupuncture and herbal remedies can help speed recovery.

In Singapore, TCM physicians are allowed to do other treatment modalities other than acupuncture.
  • Electro-Acupuncture: Electrical stimulation of the needles may be used which produces a vibration or tapping sensation. This technique, often used in conjunction with acupuncture, has been proven to decrease pain, accelerate healing, and significantly reduce inflammation, edema and swelling.
  • Cupping: In cupping, a glass or plastic cup is suctioned onto the body and kept in place for about 10 minutes. This stimulates circulation, relieves swelling, and enhances the acupuncture or electro-acupuncture.
  • Gua Sha: Gua Sha literally means “scrape away heat”. It is performed by applying pressurized strokes to the back using a specialized scraping instrument. Gua Sha is used for many ailments from muscle aches to fevers to digestive and gynecological issues. The treatment leaves redness and bruising on the skin that can lasts for 1-7 days.  
  • Tui Na: A form of Chinese body work used in conjunction with acupuncture for a variety of musculoskeletal and organ-related issues.

After an acupuncture treatment you will be advised to rest and drink extra water. In Singapore, most people feel very relaxed and energized after an acupuncture treatment. On occasion you may experience a small bruise where a needle was inserted. If you experience any pain, large bruises, swelling, difficulty breathing, or dizziness after an acupuncture treatment, advise your practitioner or doctor immediately.

Patients normally feel relaxed and calm. You may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours if the experience is particularly strong.

Sometimes there is immediate relief of pain or discomfort; sometimes the acupuncture treatment effects are more evident several days later. You may also experience a short-term flair-up of symptoms in the healing process.

Because acupuncture is restorative and encourages the release of tension and worry, there is usually a sense of renewal and calm. After a session, it is a good idea to sit quietly and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Avoid big meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol and stressful situations.

Our TCM Physicians

Principal Physician
Edmund Pang

Senior TCM Physician
Jasmine Xie

TCM Physician
Lau Ee Wen