Having lived in Singapore for 11 years (and counting!) I thought I’d lived a pretty adventurous life, taking the opportunity to try innumerable new experiences whenever possible. But one unique experience had totally escaped me — Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). While many of us gravitate towards Western medicine for medical issues, it’s long been encouraged in Asia to look to alternative medicines to cure common ailments. Sure it’s convenient (and sometimes comes with great side effects) to pop a couple of pills, but what if you could treat your ailments through natural remedies, rather than drugs?
I was recently presented with the opportunity to learn more about exactly that at a live presentation at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape – Singapore’s exclusive wellness sanctuary – as the company makes a refreshing return to the roots of Chinese medicine. A key element of the COMO Shambhala wellness philosophy is using holistic Asian therapies to treat chronic ailments, decrease stress and bring the body back to balance. Shambhala translates as “peace” in Sanskrit, and with this in mind, they’ve launched a new programme based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, including Qigong, Meridian Therapy and TCM-Yin Yoga.
The first thing that strikes you about their Orchard premises is the immediate sense of serenity and peace that hits you the moment you walk through the door. It’s as if you’re suddenly transported from the maddic stressful city we live in to a peaceful retreat hidden away in parts unknown and untouched. Soft lighting, tranquil music, state of the art facilities and soothing aromatherapy complete the calming experience – and this was just within the first 5 minutes of being there!
The programme was kicked off by visiting specialist David Melladew, who with over 15 years of experience teaching Asian therapies, runs the Oriental Medicine Programme at their estate in Bali and is a certified acupuncturist and Qigong teacher. Qigong combines breathing exercises with “tai chi-esque” movements to encourage good circulation, mental focus and overall relaxation. David also practices Meridian Therapy, a modern method that uses a combination of Japanese ION pumping techniques and needleless acupuncture to relieve obstructions in the body’s meridian system (thus helping treat pain and restricted movement!). Who knew such a thing as “needleless” acupuncture even existed? Not me!
Next up was new resident consultant Mark Chern, who focused Sound Therapy as an effective method of cleansing toxic emotions. Mark had us holding traditional Chinese bowls and illustrated how striking the bowl at different heights and with different objects, produced different notes and sounds, albeit, each remarkably soothing. We then practiced a series of breathing exercises, each affecting a different chakra of the body – very interesting once you got into it!
Both David and Mark base their practices on energy flow through the body and the Five Element theory (each organ of the body is linked to a particular emotion and element). It’s quite amazing how TCM looks at the body as a whole (rather than focussing on the particular ailment only) and pulls together knowledge from different medical disciplines. Rounding off the therapies was a 60-minute yin yoga class that combined the restorative benefits of yoga with a focus on clearing the meridian system, leaving the same overall effect as acupuncture.
Although we didn’t end up having time for a hands-on Qigong session with David, it’s certainly on my to-do list in the near future. I loved how TCM gently treats the source of the problem holistically, rather than offering a quick fix, more traditional solution.
So go on mama, why not give it a shot – what do you have to lose? Apart from stress, anxiety and medical problems!
Como Shambhala Urban Escape
402 Orchard Road, #06-01/02 Delfi Orchard, Singapore 238876
Tel: (+65) 6304 3552