Many Hong Kong people seek help from “bone setting” when they have a dislocation, sprains or strains. Although treatments for many musculoskeletal injuries might have been taken over by modern medicine nowadays, bone setting is still commonly applied by Chinese medicine practitioners and remains well-known among Hong Kongers. In fact, apart from ankle sprains and muscle strains, many physical conditions can also be treated with Chinese medicine (TCM) bone setting.
“Bone setting” is the common name of "Traditional Chinese Medicine Orthopedics and Traumatology", also regarded as the general term for all TCM orthopedic procedures. Unlike orthopedics and traumatology of modern medicine, Chinese medicine bone setting is a combination of TCM orthopedics and traumatology, osteopathy and chiropractic. It integrates the theories of Chinese medicine, human pathology, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, sports medicine and osteopathy. The discipline focuses on treating both internal and external injuries of the musculoskeletal system, such as bone fractures, dislocations, muscle injuries, tendons or ligaments injuries, other soft tissue injuries as well as acute and chronic pain. Practitioners use mostly non-invasive procedures to treat musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), examples are Chinese medicine, manipulation, fixation, acupuncture, cupping and massage, etc.
Bone setting can bring the following major therapeutic effects:
In Chinese medicine bone setting, musculoskeletal disorders and traumas are generally classified into 3 stages: early, middle and late stages. Considering the stages and degree of injuries, bonesetters (who are Chinese medicine practitioners in HK) may apply various treatment procedures for different effects.
Different from modern medicine, Chinese medicine bone setting treats musculoskeletal disorders with the conjunctive use of TCM orthopedics, osteopathic and chiropractic approaches. Bone setting procedures are mostly non-invasive, thus leaving mild to no damage to the human body. In clinical practice, Chinese medicine practitioners (or bonesetters) would provide different bone setting treatment procedures depending on the type of injuries, severity, patient’s physical conditions, medical history and preference, etc. Common bone setting treatment procedures include, but are not limited to:
Most damage to bones, muscles, skin, flesh, meridians, blood, and organs caused by both external and internal forces can be treated by bone setting. Bone setting is usually used to handle musculoskeletal disorders like various types of fractures, joint dislocations, soft tissue injuries, trauma, sprains or muscle strains, etc. Except for severe trauma or bleeding and injuries that may require treatment by modern medicine and surgery, Chinese medicine bone setting is applicable to the following common fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries as a non-invasive approach:
In Hong Kong, legal bone setting treatments should be provided by registered Chinese medicine practitioners. Bone setting treatments are available at the following local Chinese medicine clinics:
In Hong Kong, there are 18 Public Chinese Medicine Clinics operated jointly by the Hospital Authority, non-governmental organizations and local universities. They all provide the public with Chinese medicine and bone setting therapy services.
HKU Specialist Clinical Centre for Teaching and Research
Address: 10 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Tel: 3917 6433 / 2872 7041
HKU Clinical Centre for Teaching and Research (Central)
Address: Room 703, The Galleria,
9 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 3169 3170 / 3152 2139
CUHK Chinese Medicine Specialty Clinic cum Clinical Teaching and Research Centre
Address: 1/F, Sino Building, Chung Chi College,
CUHK, NT, Hong Kong
Tel: 3943 9933 / 2603 7203
HKBU Chinese Medicine Clinics
Address: Multiple locations are available, see the address here
Tel: Click this for various contacts
UE Chinese Medicine Clinic
Address: Room 408, 4/F, Universal Commercial Building, 65-69 Peking Road, TST, HK
Tel: 9888 1714
Joyful and Health Chinese Medicine Centre
Address: 11 locations around Hong Kong, see address here
Tel: 2503 3699
Valid Hong Kong citizens can enjoy the government-subsidized services at any of the public Chinese medicine clinics in Hong Kong at a consultation fee of $120 per visit, while that of non-subsidized services ranges from $130-180. The fee for bone setting services ranges from $210-520 per course.
On the other hand, the cost of bone setting therapy at private TCM clinics can be widely variable, with most ranging from $210-1600 per visit depending on the type of injuries, treatment methods, severity, required Chinese medications and treatment duration, etc.
Please be reminded that some musculoskeletal disorders may not be cured by a single bone setting treatment course, some patients may need several sessions or even longer treatment duration. The cost of bone setting treatment can be multiplied for some cases.
*All amounts are in HKD. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is accurate.
In Hong Kong, bone setting therapy ought to be provided by registered Chinese medicine practitioners. According to Alea, most local medical insurance plans cover Chinese medicine 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.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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