What is TCM diagnosis based on?

An acupuncturist sticking needles into the stomach of a patient.
An acupuncturist sticking needles into the stomach of a patient.PHOTO: ST FILE

I was disappointed by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board's reply to my letter (What TCM practitioner failed to do, April 16; and TCM board should clarify proper treatment practices, April 6; respectively).

According to the board, the diabetic patient's initial complaints were "weakness and chills".

Whether the symptoms were systemic or confined to only the feet is not clear.

If the symptoms were systemic, the cause could be anaemia or infection.

If only the legs and feet were affected, the cause could be lack of blood supply to the lower extremities or diabetic neuropathy.

There could have been other causes that required scientific investigation.

Why did the board call it a "deficiency of yang energy" and agree that heat lamp application to the feet was "appropriate" treatment?

What is the patho-physiological basis of "yang energy"?

Singapore is now a First World country and is able to provide scientific, evidence-based medical treatment to its people. Why is there still a need for treatment based on 2,500-year-old concepts?

Ong Siew Chey (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'What is TCM diagnosis based on?'. Print Edition | Subscribe