Traditional Chinese Medicine in Asia

October 22, 2012

TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine - lighting moxabustion on acupuncture needle in Asia

I've now done extensive TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine ( (simplified Chinese: 中医; Traditional Chinese:  中醫; pinyin: zhōng yī ) on three continents, including using acupuncture, moxibustion , cupping, Chinese boiled herbs, deep stomach and organ massage and more. It is a facinating natural method of healing that is over 2000 years old.

What I have found is the treatment really varies depending on the practitioner and so far I have found those in Asia far superior ( and MUCH cheaper) than any I found in Europe or the U.S.A. ( including Chinese in America).

pretty Lam Wah EE entrance of Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital in Penang, Malaysia

My favorite place in Asia for excellent acupuncture and TCM is at Lam Wah EE with Lim Lip Soo Yi-shi and it's my most visited hospital in Penang as well ( although we've only used the TCM). This large hospital  began in 1883 for the Chinese community and has served millions over the years. We are always the only Caucasians there for outpatient treatment ( so get some stares of surprise) from the locals, but everyone is very sweet, kind and helpful.

Yep that is my knee on fire and feels great! TCM works for me

As many of you know I have been sharing my travel health secrets as I walk through my own healing journey while traveling the world.Ever since  I had a bike crash on the Danube and ended up in a foreign hospital needing surgery and paralyzing my dominant right arm for over a year and  doing physical therapy in 6 countries, I've been dealing with travel health issues.

The massive antibiotics given to me during that surgery, then more by  my Danish dentist in Spain in May 2010, created a severe health problem for me, so not only have I seen the best M.D.'s and alternative healers on three continents, taken endless tests, but I've also accidentally become an expert on health and travel.

TCM acupuncture needles in my belly

The good news is that with all my research and using myself and my family as guinea pigs, I've learned a tremendous amount so have been able to help others to explore natural and low cost ways to heal, even while doing extended world travel. I've become quite the whiz at making health improving probiotic foods like Kefir and fermented salsa, fermented mango chutney, nourishing bone broths and more.

I've even got my kid making her own healthy yummy popsicles, healthy soda
and organic popcorn as well as the whole family going shampoo free and making our own DIY deodorant to stay healthier while spending less. I've got MUCH more to share and will as I have time.

TCM Chinese herbs as I am given them from the hosptial

I'd tried TCM and acupuncture over the years in various parts of the USA for various things, but wasn't real thrilled with it, but desperate times sometimes leads to good results. When I was extremely sick last year in Penang and got no real help from the M.D.'s and hospitals here, I was advised by a healer I work with online, to try a good Chinese Medicine doctor here.

My sweet Chinese  landlord last year, took us by car to one way out in the middle of nowhere ( from our perspective) in quite an aged, unkept local building out towards the airport. I was moaning and bent over in extreme pain and could barely hobble in and they spoke no English. Any sane person would have been in a hospital emergency room, but I had already done that with no help.

He gave me a drink of hot Chinese herbs as soon as I entered and I went from extreme pain to almost normal within fifteen minutes and felt it working immediately. I was amazed and shocked. I also got a miraculous healing on my knee from another Chinese healer a few weeks earlier when my knee painfully dislocated  from me just rolling over in bed while sleeping, something it had not done in 11 years.  ( More on these stories later).

TCM Chinese herbs in my stainless steel pot

That was my first indication that Chinese Medicine in Asia is quite different than it is else where. He was too far away for us to see regularly, so then I found  Lam Wah EE with Lim Lip Soo. Mr. Lim is sixty years old (so highly experienced), from China and his father was also a TCM doctor ( much is passed down from one generation to the next). He also trained and worked in Japan for a while ( TCM methods are some what different there). He specializes in the gastrointestinal area and internal medicine.

He took me from being very, very sick last year to being able to travel to Bhutan, Jordan and Spain in just a few short weeks. Sadly, I had to leave before I got 100% better.  He gave me secret recipe herbs to take with me. I felt fairly good until I ran out in Spain.

Not only is TCM much better in Asia, but the cost is much better, certainly here in Penang. It costs about $8.00 for a treatment and herbs at Lam Wah EE and similar treatment costs about 80 dollars in California and 60 euros in Spain or more. I went to a top TCM school in Santa Cruz and the top TCM practitioners in the area and was highly disappointed with them all. I began to lose faith in the whole system.

TCM Chinese herbs boiled down to take as a tea

I've been trying several other things that were helping me to make some progress and I will write more about them soon, but I was still having up and down days. I often feel pretty good in the morning, but would often be in pretty severe pain and incapacitated in the afternoon and evening. Literally, moaning in pain again (and even some while on the Chinese herb program of late).

We're about to take an extended trip into China for deep language immersion, so I have been worried about my health that is still not stable. As luck would have it, I ran out of most of the natural medicines that we brought with us, so was forced to go back to Lam Wah EE with Lim Lip Soo for another try.

I've been making the two hour ( each way)  trip by bus to Lam Wah EE every day for several weeks and boiling down my herbs twice a day. Recently he added gensing ( scientifically proven helpful with preventing stomach cancer) which has really helped me, along with the other new supplements I have been taking on my own ( based on research).

This combination along with the spiritual inner work I am doing seems to be working really good so far. I've even paid for Mr. Lim to treat me in our Penang apartment on the weekends in order to get me ready for China and he will make me those secret herbs to take. Luckily for me, I have a dear friend in China who is a Tai Chi master, knows wonderful TCM doctors there and how to get the best organic food.

I am feeling confident and optimistically hopeful that I will stay well during this China trip as Mozart makes deep progress in her Mandarin and we enjoy the sights!

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Shanna Schultz

I am a massage therapist in the US, and I have a number of client who get great results from Acupuncture. I have never tried it myself, but I always find healing methods from other cultures fascinating (and often much more efficient than out westernized medical system and its medications.)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I find it fascinating as well Shanna and you should try some acupuncture next time you are in Asia. I love massage and was a massage therapist myself for a while and use to host all kinds of healers from around the world at our home in Santa Cruz.

I am much more into natural ways of healing whenever possible.


Thank you so much for your informative post. I live in Japan, but I am from the US and have been waffling on what to do from this point on in my life. I am really interested in Chinese Medicine, and have been searching around for a reasonably priced Masters or PhD program, however, even in China, they seem to have gotten much more expensive over the past few years. Do you know if your doctor knows of a college near his house? I just have this feeling that if I stop looking for a program at a college aimed for foreigners, the prices will be a lot more reasonable...

jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Sofia, I am glad you liked it! They do teach at this place and I listed the doctor and the hospital, so perhaps you can ask them.

We met some amazing people doing TCM travel in China and they might be able to help you as well as they are extremely well connected to TCM in China. Look for their link in this post:

And I will be writing more about them and all that they offer.

Good luck! ( Penang is much cheaper than Japan and also has a large Japanese community and of course, very large Chinese community.)


Thank you very much for your post.
I want to study Chinese Medicine and I've been looking for schools, but so far I'm not sure which way to go.
Most of the schools are extremely expensive ...I checked in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some in Europe (these ones, in some of the countries, I found them to be less expensive). Also in Singapore,.
Malaysia I was not sure if they were recognised in other countries , so I didn't check.
At the moment, I'm on my way to China to continue study Mandarin, which is being quite difficult, but I love the language.
I thought in study in China, but the pollution in extreme for me and gave me some skin problems, and eyes and for long periods I can not stay there. Also I found that the teaching is not really the best , specially for foreigners.
People advised me do study somewhere else and then go these to do the seems it is the best way.
So I'm completely lost ...from your experience, could you recommend some schools, and some countries...
I checked the hospital in Malaysia you mention but I couldn't find the school....
I most appreciate any information you can share with me.

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