If you're suffering with aches, pains, or illness, a TCM reset at Herbal Health Cares may be just what the doctor ordered...
From hypnotherapy to a raw vegan diet, I’m up for trying anything, especially when it comes to my health. You see, I live with Crohn’s Disease (you can read more about my journey with it here), an auto-immune disorder where the immune system attacks the intestinal tract for no good reason. So when things got particularly rough for me earlier in the year, I tried visiting the team at Herbal Health Cares. Here’s how their TCM reset has helped me on the road to wellness.
A bit more about Crohn’s Disease…
In a nutshell, people with Crohn’s have difficulty eating, digesting, and go to the bathroom frequently – it’s a pretty shitty (pun intended) disease. On top of that, there’s a range of fun complications including arthritis, skin irritations, and eye issues that come along with the condition. The treatment for Crohn’s is medication, and I’ve been taking a super strong drug called mercaptopurine for over 20 years which lowers the bodies immune system and basically tells it not to fight infection, not great for someone who has always preferred the natural healing route.
So when did things get unmanageable?
In January, I realised that my period was a few weeks late, something that never really happens to me unless my Crohn’s is getting bad – sigh. A few days later, I woke up and my hands looked like they had been plunged into a fire, they were blistered, swollen, cracked and felt horrible. The GP thought it was eczema while my specialist thought it was an allergic reaction; both of them wanted me to take medication for it, but I was fed up with popping pills.
Anyway, I was walking around Discovery Bay one evening after everything was shut when I noticed a tiny little shop hidden away above the plaza. What captured my eye was the poster in the window that mapped out all of the different meridian points on the body.
Having tried and had success with numerous TCM treatments like acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion before, I was more than a little interested in seeing if the clinic could help with my current menstruation and skin woes.
When I went in the next day, I met with Dr. Jackie Ng, the founder of Herbal Health Cares and the resident specialist. Luckily, he had availability to see me, so we chatted about my medical history and he explained how he could help.
He likened his treatment to a factory reset of a phone. He wanted to get my body back to its original condition in just four weeks. His plan included a list of specific foods to eat, a selection of teas, powdered medicine, acupuncture, and bone setting (similar to chiropractic work.) Best of all, each of the ingredients would be natural and completely vegetarian – a big win for this closet-hippie.
The cost would be $5000 per week, inclusive of three in-person sessions weekly, all of the teas and the medication. At that point, my body was feeling so rough that I couldn’t really afford not to try the treatment, though it wasn’t without some apprehension.
Jackie’s friendly demeanour and openness for discussion, however, twisted my arm, and we started right away. Even after the first session of acupuncture I was feeling relief. A huge deal for anyone who lives with chronic pain.
A quick history about Dr. Jackie
So, here’s the DL on the doc. Originally, he was actually a software engineer, and then he decided to make the change into Traditional Chinese Medicine, something he had always been interested in. He studied as an adult at Hong Kong University (HKU) and had to travel to China regularly to practice in hospitals that treat people specifically in this way of healing (side note: even now, Hong Kong doesn’t have any TCM hospitals.) His office is filled with books, and his wife, Mrs. Ng says that he is always reading and learning so he can help his patients even more. Also, he flew through his training because he was such a natural, completing a programme that typically takes five-ten years in just four and a half – genius much?!
“The registration process was only starting in Hong Kong when I finished studying, and the exam was extremely difficult, with over 18 topics. There is a lot to remember: treating men, women, and children, how to work with bones, internal organs, how to handle medicine,” he explains about his passion for helping people.
“Traditional Chinese Medicine can help many different types of sickness, but it is different to Western medicine. We look at the whole body and don’t just specialise in one area,” Dr. Jackie continues.
I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to help my Crohn’s in the past: eating only macrobiotic foods, eating a low-residue diet, FODMAPS, gluten-free, the list goes on, so for me, the taste of the powdered medication and the teas was totally fine. But many people note that they can be quite strong or organic.
Each week, he brewed a different type of tea to assist with whatever my major concern was at that time (period and skin brews definitely helped!) On top of that, the three weekly sessions of acupuncture really made my body feel better, and on top of that each was an hour of self-care that my body really appreciated.
Just one week into the treatment, my period came back. After two weeks, my body was sensing pain in a more regular way, plus the skin problem on my hands had all but disappeared. There were a number of other positive side effects after the full four weeks too, including dropping over 10 kilograms in weight and the strange small bumps that had started forming on my skin eight years ago when I first arrived in Hong Kong completely disappeared!
Will I keep going?
When it comes to TCM, I really think you need to give yourself over to the specialist. Often we want to pick and choose which parts of the treatment we want to opt for, but it’s a completely different way of healing to western medicine and it can’t be compartmentalised in the same way.
Finding someone who knows what they are doing and who you feel comfortable with is also really important, and I can’t thank Jackie enough for his help and healing. I’m definitely making regular visits a part of my self-care routine. Plus, his occasional Buddhist song performances are not to be missed!
Herbal Health Cares, Shop 106B, Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, p. 2834 7276