Return Visit to the Chinese Sin-Seh

I was expected back to see shīfu (The Master) on Thursday morning.

Already the swelling over my foot was reduced to an area close to my pinky toe and the top of my foot on the left-hand side of my left foot. I had made some progress in terms of my ability to walk on my foot and had been quite encouraged by the results.

Still, to be honest, I was not looking forward to the pain.

I asked Mr. Yoo to bring me to Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore and once again, act as a translator. Mr. Yoo is a very charming Singaporean who shares lots of insight about life in Singapore (look for a meaty article on Singapore regulations soon based on Mr. Yoo and other acquaintance’s I’ve made here locally’s feedback.


We get to the offices of Siah Ah Cheok. I was really lucky because shīfu was going to China for a week at 3PM on that day. So I almost missed him.

I give them my consultation card and they give me a card with a number.

Appointment Card Chinese Sin-Seh

Appointment Card Chinese Sin-Seh

Then, we wait in the lobby. On both my appointments, I was number 21. I guess it’s my lucky number.

Treatment Rooms at Siah Ah Cheok

Treatment Rooms at Siah Ah Cheok

So I wait for door number 2 to open and for Siah Ah Cheok to see me.
The place is once again quite packed. But the waiting time is quite short. No more than 30 minutes.

In the prescription area, shifu’s wife provides people with eastern medicine as well as admonitions “no warm beverages, no shell fish, no tea, no cold drinks”  She is a Sinseh in her own right. In fact, the whole family is in the business. Mother-Father and son are sin-seh’s while the daugther is a licensed physician.


So Mr. Yoo wheels me into the room. I am then asked to remove my shoe and the bandage on my foot and to walk around.

Mr. Siah Ah Cheok assesses that what I now need is some pain relief and some relief of the swelling. He applies pressure all over my foot to reduce the swelling and then covers my foot with this green soothing gel (a concoction of his own making.) It’s a secret family recipe but it feels great on my skin. I should buy some. I did not know one could purchase his ointments. I found out in the taxi ride back to my place of work at Selatar Aerospace Link.

He then takes a leaf which he places in the most sensitive area of my injured foot. He applies a brown earthy poultice on the injured area and bandages up my foot.

His wife confirms I have a hairline fracture on my foot. If I have pain, I can go back and she can help me. No further manipulation of my foot will be required (no bone cracking) They insisted I need to keep walking on my foot.

I do it…a little…but it hurts and I’m scared of falling. The wheelchair seems like my home now.

I want to find a sinseh back home in Montreal. I’m a believer. I think they do a lot of good.

Some extra interesting information about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): It is the oldest and most comprehensive system of medical diagnosis and complete human health care which combines the use of acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, massage (Tui-na) bone-setting (Dit-da), and qi gong exercises as well as nutrition and healthy living to bring the body into balance naturally. Simply put, Dit Da is the traditional Chinese art of healing injuries. Dit Da deals with both the prevention and treatment of many different types of internal and external injuries such as bruises, sprained and dislocated joints, broken bones, cuts etc. Dit Da Ke (Cantonese) or Tieh Ta Ke (Mandarin) is commonly translated into English as Fall and Hit medicine or Iron Hit Medicine. (Source:

Dit Da has been an integral part of traditional gung fu for centuries. It has developed, flourished and evolved over hundreds of years and passed down from master to disciple for generations as an integral part of gung fu training and tradition. Practice of Dit Da and gung fu training go hand in hand, they compliment and complete one and other. Past masters were always known for their dit da skills as well as their gung fu. They would often earn their living from treating patients and selling herbal medicine. Dit da skills and herbal formulas of a gung fu family were always highly guarded and kept very secret. Only the selected students, the successors of the gung fu family who proved their loyalty and dedication through many years of training would receive the direct and complete transmission of dit da skills along with their gung fu training. This tradition is still carried on today. Dit da uses variety of traditional methods or combination of methods such as massage (tui na), herbal medicine (dita jow, etc), bone setting, acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping to treat such injuries depending on their type, severity as well as other important factors. (Source:


What are your thoughts on Chinese Traditional Medicine? Do you know a sinseh in Montreal? Let’s discuss. To your keyboards my friends.


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