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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years. In Hong Kong alone, hundreds of Chinese healing clinics are scattered around the city. Amongst local Hongkongers, they are a trusted source in Chinese culture for improving your general well-being and cure tricky illnesses and pains (although the effectiveness of these practices is still scientifically debated). If you’ve ever been curious about what these curious Chinese clinics have to offer or how acupuncture and dit da (跌打; dit3 daa2) can help improve your health, here is your guide to alternative Chinese healing practices in Hong Kong.
Afraid of needles? You might want to avoid acupuncture. Acupuncture is an alternative Chinese healing practice that is believed to have originated in China around 100 BC and spread to other parts of Asia later on. Said to improve and prevent illnesses, pains, and even acne—wish we’d known that as we struggled through our teenage years!—acupuncture utilises thin needles by inserting them into clearly mapped “points” of the body.
The needles are said to influence the flow of qi (氣), the vital energy believed to flow through your body. If you’re worried about the pain, rest assured that the insertion of the needles is often quite painless when done quickly and precisely by a skilled acupuncturist (and the only kind worth going to, in our books). Having needles stuck in your body is a small price to pay for better health, right?
Where to find acupuncture in Hong Kong:
Albert Place Practice, 1103 Luk Yu Building, 24–26 Stanley Street, Central | (+852) 2234 9932
Healthwise Chinese Medicine, Prosperous Building, 48–52 Des Voeux Road, Central | (+852) 2526 7908
TCM Acupuncture Clinic, Room 501, 5/F, 145 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2528 2248
Tui na (推拿; teoi1 naa4) is a Chinese therapeutic massage that is used to remove energy blockages, muscle pains, and improve bone alignment by brushing, kneading, rolling, pressing, and rubbing the areas between joints. Tui (推), meaning “to push,” and na (拿), meaning “to lift,” are two of the main techniques of the treatment.
Over the years, multiple studies have been conducted to learn the healing benefits of tui na, including scoliosis, stomach problems, chronic pain associated with the joints, as well as improving the after-effects of stroke. To improve your everyday well-being, tui na is also good for those who have stiff joints, neck pain, and back pain from working desk jobs or heavy physical labour.
Where to find tui na in Hong Kong:
Lok Kin Tong, Unit A, 8/F, Wing Yee Commercial Building, Wing Kut Street, Central | (+852) 2116 0012
Balance Health, 2705, 27/F, Universal Trade Centre, 3–5 Arbuthnot Road, Central | (+852) 2530 3315
Usagi Tui Na, 6/F, Prospect Building, 493A Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 9491 1916
If you’ve ever walked by someone with angry, red, circular marks on their back, it’s likely caused by cupping therapy. Popular in countries throughout Asia, the cupping practitioner places cups on target areas and uses fire or a mechanical pump to suck out all the air within the cup to create a vacuum. Cups are left in place for fifteen minutes to improve the qi energy flow, loosen tight muscles, and encourage blood flow. It’s believed that the darker the marks are after the cups are released from the skin, the more toxins you were carrying in your body.
Where to find cupping in Hong Kong:
Harmonic Health Complex, 11/F, Emperor Watch and Jewellery Centre, 8 Russell Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2877 9541
Arooma, 12/F Shun Hei Causeway Bay Centre, 492 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2730 6632
Onber Reflexology, Shop 150–151A, Podium Floor, Stage 3, Mei Foo Sun Chuen, 41–43 Broadway Street, Mei Foo | (+852) 2370 8700
Gua sha (刮痧; gwaat3 saa1), also known as coining, looks equally as intimidating as cupping—if not more. Often leaving dark red marks and bruises on your mark, gua sha is a healing practice where practitioners use a tool to scrape people’s backs to break down tense muscles and encourage blood flow.
It’s oftentimes practised during quite standard illnesses, such as simple coughs and fevers. Gua sha carries similar ideologies as cupping—the darker the marks, the more toxins you have. Don’t believe us? Give it a try when you’re not sick and do it again when you are to compare the colour difference.
Where to find gua sha in Hong Kong:
Oriental Health Chinese Medicine, 2705, 27/F, Universal Trade Centre, 3–5 Arbuthnot Road, Central | (+852) 3904 3369
Quality TCM, 7/F, Golder House, 28 Pottinger Street, Central | (+852) 2881 8267
Chuan Spa, Level 41, Cordis, Mong Kok | (+852) 3552 3510
Auriculotherapy—or ear acupuncture—will make you think twice before you get a new piercing. Based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem of the human body, this practice believes that one’s physical, mental, and emotional issues are treatable through stimulating different acupuncture points in the ear.
Once your acupuncturist understands your problem, they will place tiny beads on the relevant pressure points in your ear and attach them with adhesive tape. While the beads are traditionally made of a flowering herb called vaccaria, nowadays, you’ll find metal or ceramic ones as well. It’s recommended that you change the beads regularly and not leave them on for more than five days.
Where to find auriculotherapy in Hong Kong:
Eu Yan Sang Premier Chinese Medicine Centre, M/F, Shum Tower, 268 Des Voeux Road Central | (+852) 3521 1233
Aberdeen Chinese Medicine Clinic- HKU Chinese Medicine Centre, 2/F, 10 Aberdeen Reservoir Road, Aberdeen | (+852) 2580 8158
Trusted by families across Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, dit da (跌打; dit3 daa2) is an alternative Chinese healing practice that treats injuries such as sprains, bruises, and bone fractures through bone-setting and physical manipulation of muscle and bone. Dit da is oftentimes combined with the use of dit da jow (跌打酒; dit3 daa2 zau2), a well-known Chinese ointment widely used by Chinese martial artists to undo blood stagnation and encourage the flow of qi. It’s almost the Chinese equivalent of chiropractic!
Where to find dit da in Hong Kong:
Luk Chee Fu Bonesetters Patrick Luk Clinic, Unit 1406, 14/F, Eastern Commercial Centre, 395 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 9684 4844
陸智夫跌打醫舘總店, 3/F, Hin Wah Building, 446 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2891 1044