The healing Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Writer Catharine Nicol | July 24, 2013

China’s ancient philosophy of health, Traditional Chinese Medicine has numerous modalities that help create a healthy lifestyle of balance and well-being. AsiaSpa talks to five TCM doctors, who all provide consultations at various spas in China about some of TCM’s key modalities and how they benefit the spa-goer.


“It was discovered more than 2,000 years ago and has developed from using stones into using needles,” says Dr Doris Rathgeber from Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai. “In Chinese medicine we say that with the needle we can stop stagnation on the meridian, where chi should flow. If there is a stagnation of chi, we feel pain. Where the needle goes into the skin the patient will feel a warm reaction, which is called De Qi Sensation, and means the needle has already moved the chi. Western medicine believes the method causes the end of the nerves to send a reflex to the brain, which sends a set of painkilling, relaxing and happy-making hormones into the needled area. Doing acupuncture frequently elevates hormone levels and stops the brain from remembering the pain.

“Sometimes only one to three needles are needed to heal a condition. For the patient, the most important point is to come for help as early as possible. The longer they wait, the more tissues get involved and the root is harder to find. All chronic and acute pain, internal disease, gynaecological diseases, imbalances or deficits can be addressed by acupuncture and if the patient adds herbal medicine, the healing result will be even better. Insomnia, anxiety, depression, sadness and PMS can also benefit.”

Dr Doris Rathgeber, Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai

Dr Rathgeber travelled to Shanghai with her husband and became immersed in learning Mandarin. She started her TCM career as a patient and was so fascinated that her doctor enrolled her into the TCM University in Shanghai, where she studied TCM and Western medicine. She loves being able to offer two complementary medical systems to her patients in her four clinics in Shanghai.

In Chinese medicine we say that with the needle we can stop stagnation on the meridian, where chi should flow
~ Dr Doris Rathgeber