Meet the Doctor: Marla Sulindro, TCM & Acupuncture
Marla Sulindro earned her master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Shanghai University for Traditional Chinese Medicine, with a major in osteopathology and traumatology. Prior to that, she received her bachelor’s in acupuncture and tuina from Chengdu University of TCM. Marla specializes in pain management, musculoskeletal disorders and internal medicine. She uses an array of TCM treatments including herbal medicines, acupuncture, gua sha and cupping to help patients.
Where are you from and how did you come to live in Shanghai?
I was born to an Indonesian family in L.A., and primarily raised in Singapore. I came to China in 2009 to pursue undergraduate studies in TCM. I did the first two years of my studies in Shanghai, and then transferred to Chengdu to complete my bachelor’s degree. After completing my bachelor’s in 2015, I enrolled in a master’s program back here in Shanghai. I stayed here after completing that and acquiring the practitioner’s license to begin practicing TCM.
How did you become interested in TCM?
My interest began through my family and developed more deeply during the process of learning TCM itself. Though in Singapore we were primarily treated with western medicine when we were ill, my Mom often sought TCM treatment. I recall her receiving acupuncture and taking herbal medicine at various times. She always told me how much it helped her with specific conditions and overall wellbeing.
My passion for TCM was further sparked and nurtured in the first year of my studies during the module on ‘The Foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine’. This module broadened my perspective into seeing a person as a whole being. It opened my eyes to how much interconnectedness a person’s body has with their surroundings. Meaning, understanding how external influences can cause internal changes or imbalances to a person’s body, resulting in manifestation of perceivable symptoms.
What do you like about practicing TCM?
Thus far, I appreciate the balance it brings to people, both patients and the practitioners ourselves.
From the clinical rotations I did in the hospital during undergraduate and postgraduate studies, I’ve come to conclude that what I like most about practicing TCM is that it is a companion that meets you at whatever stage you’re in with your body. TCM is patient in guiding the body’s overall wellbeing into a more acceptable and desirable state.
I enjoy listening to and evaluating the patient’s needs and tailoring a treatment that will be effective. Working in a holistic setting like Body & Soul allows us to address the root problems and use different approaches to get the best results.
Tell us more about your specialties and the types of conditions you treat.
In my master’s program, I majored in TCM osteopathology and traumatology. Therefore, pain management, rehabilitative care and orthopedics are primary specialties. I focus on problems pertaining to the neck, back and joints. Additionally, I focus on internal medicine symptoms and conditions such as headache, migraines, dizziness, tinnitus, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, psychiatric issues, gastrointestinal problems, rhinosinusitis, etc.
Treatments vary accordingly to each individual. Being able to incorporate both acupuncture and herbal medicine is the ideal approach, especially for chronic and recurring issues.
Most importantly, TCM focuses on balancing the body, so we also recommend that patients consider a regular “tune up”. This helps prepare the body to deal with different toxins and stressors and stay well throughout the year. As the Chinese proverb states, “Waiting to treat illnesses after they manifest is like waiting to dig a well after one is thirsty.”