TCM relevance in today’s health-worried world

As the Chinese New Year is fast approaching and we are getting ready to say goodbye to the Rat and to welcome the Metal Ox, this weeks ZOOM discussion hosted by IndigoEight on the subject of relevance of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in today’s world was perfectly timed. 


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a multi-disciplinary health system that perfectly complements traditional Western medicine and often helps to find solutions to our emotional & physical state. It also addresses small health symptoms ignoring which can lead to bigger, chronic health conditions. 

An hour-long discussion on Zoom connected people and experts from different countries and focused on the philosophy, varying applications of TCM and the positive effect to be derived when we increasingly feel that our individual health is under the threat.

The panel was moderated by writer Daisy Finer and included Dr. David Wei, doctor of TCM at Sangha Retreat by Octave Institute (speaking from China),  Dr. Ursula Muntean-Rock, Head Physician at Original FX Mayr specializing in Mayr & TCM medicine (speaking from Austria), Katie Brindle, founder of Hayou method & TCM practitioner (speaking from the UK) and Marina Efraimoglu, founder of Euphoria Retreat and specialist in Five Elements Chinese Philosophy (speaking from Greece). 

Current pandemic (that sadly shows no sign of loosening its grip on the world) in a way is a result of a broken-up relationship between humankind and nature, so it’s not at all surprising to see the resurgence of the popularity of ancient healing modalities, like TCM and Ayurveda. A combination of science and medicine, coupled with centuries-old knowledge that can satisfy thirst for knowledge, provide comfort and safety at the time when we all feel swayed and unsteady.

It was interesting to hear about each practitioner’s experience with TCM and how they came to combine their studies and scientific knowledge with ancient modalities. Dr. Ursula wanted to be a doctor from a young age, but after having accute pancreatitis and taking lots of medicines, she realised that traditional medicine didn’t offer a solution to her problem. So by studying TCM in China for four years she managed to combine her extensive knowledge with skills in treatment and diagnosis. Marina Efraimoglu had cancer in her 20s, so she quit banking and studied energy medicine with Donna Eden, focussing on the five elements and finding answers for body, mind and soul during the illness. She believes in practical spirituality and the effect of nature and changing seasons on the individual. Thus in her retreats you can expect to have acupuncture, massages, herbs and spiritual mentoring that will give you the tools to understand yourself. Then you can return home and continue to mindfully look after your health and wellbeing using your own powers and capabilities.

Dr. David’s father had serious back issues, which prevented him from farming and supporting his family. A solution in expensive surgery wasn’t an option, but an appointment with an acupuncturist addressed the issue and allowed him to support his son’s studies. Dr Wei studied TCM and believes that Western medicine works well with TCM – giving an example of the SARS epidemic and TCM being more advanced with dealing with it at the time. Now the importance of this combination is clearer than ever and I know plenty of GPs and consultants working in the UK who share the view that a synergy between Western medicine and modalities within TCM offer effective solutions to all kinds of ailments in adults and children.

Katie Brindle actually planned to become an opera singer, but a car crash and serious whiplash injury put an end to her career ambitions in that field. In order to recover Katie knocked on doors, saw doctors, osteopaths and other practitioners but her pain only got worse. Until a ten-minute in the TCM clinic on Edgware road changed the course of her journey and led her to study TCM modalities. With her health firmly in her capable hands and ancient traditions, hidden in plain site, coming into focus, now Katie, treats and educates those receptive to alternative medicine pathway.

So as we continue to hibernate during the last month of winter, we can also focus our thoughts on the beckoning of spring season. By practising patience, courage and wisdom, we can open our minds to a wider wisdom and contemplate small changes that can make our daily habits and health better. Our connection and relationship with nature is vital, as is the focus on addressing cumulative grief and lung health. By directing our thoughts towards transformation that spring brings, we should open our windows wider and cultivate moving energy in the lungs. By buying flowers we can focus on the re-brith and creativity blooming again.

Marina Efraimoglu, creator of Euphoria Retreat

Katie suggests committing to something and making a plan, as well as daily practise of body tapping in order to get the energy moving. Marina proposes that we notice flower bulbs popping from the ground & bringing fresh flowers into our homes. Ursula reminded us of side-effects of cover-19 in many – headaches, weaker lungs, as well as lack of concentration. So she reinforced importance of knowing your individual health weaknesses and taking steps to correct them.

Subject of sexuality was also touched upon – so a good reminder to keep tabs on your weekly alcohol consumption, addressing our hormone health and remembering that TCM’s holistic approach won’t bring instant, but rather slow results. Meditating on healing our own love connection is an easy & helpful daily practise, as well as a reminder to re-connecting with our bodies and the signals they send to warn us.

Dr. Ursula Muntean-Rock, Head Physician at Original FX Mayr

This week we will welcome a Chinese Year of a Metal Ox ( ox and rat, the ruler of the year 2020, are considered to be friends, even though their characters are quite different). Oxes are known to be heavy, stoic, intelligent and enjoying structured work. So now is the time to get structure back into your life, asking yourself what you want to achieve in the year ahead and make plans. Metal, the element of the Ox this year, is linked to gratitude and letting go, so by focussing on improving the quality of our breath, we can improve not only the health of our lungs, but remind ourselves of our desire to live fully. In Mandarin ‘crisis’ also means opportunity and I think no matter how exhausted, sad, unpredictable, scary and frustrating 2020 was, 2021 is the time to re-connect to our heads, bodies and our individuality. To open windows and minds wider and to know that while the virus is not going to disappear completely any time soon, there is a lot that we can do to get our lives back on track. Structure, determination and TCM are something to focus on.

I am also attaching a link to the recording of the talk kindly provided after the event by IndigoEight for you to watch:

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