Chinese Medicine in Hong Kong: Where to Go & How Much It Costs?
13 December 2021
Looking for a Chinese medicine practitioner? Alea brings you a comprehensive guide to help you learn about your options and better understand the Chinese medicine services available in Hong Kong.
This guide does not aim to be exhaustive. It is informative only and based on our independent research. No practitioner or clinic paid any fees or rendered any services in exchange of inclusion in this article.
What does Chinese medicine treat?
Under Chinese medicine, there is actually wide range of medicine practices. All the approaches share the same theories regarding the human body that have been developed in China for thousands of years. Some common ones include acupuncture, Tui Na (a therapeutic massage), cupping, various forms of herbal medicine, different kinds of Chinese mind-body exercise, and Chinese food therapy.
Such techniques under Chinese medicine are claimed to address and treat a variety of health conditions. Most common reasons for people to see a Chinese medicine practitioner include (but not limited to):
- Cough & common cold
- Female health issues such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain), problems during pregnancy, perimenopause & menopause
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Allergic rhinitis
Note: While patients continue to receive Chinese medicine treatments as they believe in the effectiveness of Chinese medicine, traditional Chinese medicine is not based upon scientific knowledge and generally more scientific research is needed to support the effectiveness of Chinese medicine.
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How to choose a Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong?
There are over 7,000 registered Chinese medicine practitioners in Hong Kong, working both in public and private sectors.
Any Chinese medicine practitioner who wishes to practice in Hong Kong must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong. This council was accredited by the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Chapter 549) and sets out the professional standards, ethics and the licensing examination of the profession.
According to the Chinese Medicine Regulatory Office under Hong Kong’s Department of Health, to become a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong, applicants must graduate with an undergraduate degree course in Chinese medicine practice approved by the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board of the Chinese Medicine Council and pass a licensing examination organized by the Board.
You can find an updated list of all registered Chinese medicine practitioners in Hong Kong on the Chinese Medicine Council’s website here.
How much does it cost to see a Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong, the cost of seeing a Chinese medicine practitioner varies greatly (as the case with other health practitioners), depending on the location and service chosen.
Our research shows that a one-off consultation in more local areas of Hong Kong generally costs between $120 and $300. In a high-end private clinic, an all-inclusive Chinese medicine programme (for example, consultation + acupuncture treatment + herbs prescriptions) can cost from $1,100 to 2,000.
In order to promote the development of “evidence-based” Chinese medicine and outpatient Chinese medicine services in the public sector, as well as to provide training placements for local Chinese medicine degree programme graduates, the Hospital Authority has established a total of 18 Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres in each of the 18 districts of Hong Kong.
Each of the Hospital Authority Tripartite Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres charges differently but affordably. Please contact them for pricing inquiries.
Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres now provide quota-based Government subsidized services to eligible persons (holders of eligible HKID). General consultation (including prescribed Chinese Medicine products for no more than 5 days) as well as treatment-related acupuncture, bone setting and Tui Na, each of these items costs $120 each attendance. For Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients and the Higher Old Age Living Allowance recipients aged 75 or above, the fees of Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres are waived.
You can also go to the public sector to see a medical specialist (e.g. orthopedist) and request for a referral to public Chinese medicine clinics.
For holders of eligible HKID, attending a public clinic costs $135 for specialist outpatient.
For non-eligible people, the cost for specialist outpatient is up to $1,190 per attendance.
Beware of waiting times which can be very long in the public sector. Please enquire at your clinic of choice for specific costs.
* All amounts are in HKD and were last updated in December 2020. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
Chinese medicine clinics in the public sector
You can find the list of all Chinese Medicine Clinics cum Training and Research Centres here.
Keep in mind that waiting times can be very long in the public sector.
Chinese medicine clinics in the private sector
For private practices, refer to the list of registered Chinese medicine practitioners for their locations.
You can also find a list of individual private Chinese Medicine Professionals and Acupuncturists from our partners Healthy Matters:
Does insurance cover Chinese medicine treatments?
According to Alea, Chinese medicine is extremely popular in Hong Kong and most local medical insurance plans cover it under outpatient benefits. Beware that such coverage is generally subject to a reimbursement limit per visit and limited to a fixed number of visits per year. As for international health insurance policies, Chinese medicine is also reimbursed under outpatient benefits and most often subject to a sub-limit under Complementary medicines. Beware of sub-limits and whether your plan requires the practitioner to be registered with the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong. Depending on the plan and insurer, a GP referral letter may be required to receive reimbursement.
What is Chinese medicine used for?
Chinese medicine has its own way to tackle a vast range of health conditions, from the common cold, pain, infertility, female health problems, skin problems, skeletomuscular issues, to even mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
What is the cost of seeing a Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong?
According to Alea's research, as per your choice of clinic, practitioner, service and more, the cost of a Chinese medicine practitioner visit can range from HK$120 to $300. If you wish to receive more comprehensive treatments at a specialized clinic, the price can be around HK$1,100 to $2,000.
What is the difference between Chinese and Western medicines?
Chinese and Western medicines differ fundamentally in their perceptions of health and the body's functioning. In short, Chinese medicine puts more emphasis on the "root" of the health issue and work on strengthening one's body over a longer term by balancing the different elements in the body. Contrarily, Western medicine targets the symptoms specifically and aims to cure each symptom as fast as possible by administering medications, surgeries or using advanced medical technology if necessary.
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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.