Opinion: Acupuncture Practitioner caught molesting client

Acupuncture caught molesting

Singapore, often celebrated for its melding of tradition and modernity, has a rich tapestry of healing practices, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. These ancient modalities have been revered for centuries, offering holistic remedies and alternative treatments to those seeking relief. However, as with any medical practice, ensuring the professionalism and trustworthiness of practitioners is of paramount importance. The recent case involving TCM practitioner, Lim Ah Bah, has brought this pressing issue to the limelight, necessitating a deeper dive into the standards and expectations within the TCM community in Singapore.

What happened?

In Singapore, a 74-year-old traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner named Lim Ah Bah is on trial for allegedly molesting a female patient during a treatment session in 2018, claiming it would improve her blood circulation. Lim argued in his defense that the 42-year-old woman initiated the inappropriate behavior, asserting that she requested him to perform a sexual act on her. The prosecution challenges this account, deeming it illogical and contrived. The victim had previously testified that after a successful first visit with Lim, during which he cleared her cough, she returned for another session. During this subsequent treatment, which included massage, acupuncture, and cupping, Lim allegedly performed the sexual act without her consent. She later confronted Lim and filed a police report. The court also reviewed CCTV footage from the clinic and heard a phone call between Lim and the victim. If convicted, Lim faces potential jail time and fines for his actions.

Opinion: Incident shows a cautionary tale of trusting a professional too much

The value of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Singapore, notably acupuncture, cannot be understated. Many have attested to its efficacy in treating ailments that modern medicine sometimes fails to address. Yet, the recent incident involving a TCM practitioner, Mr. Lim Ah Bah, as detailed in the provided article, underscores a pressing concern in the industry – the absolute imperative for trust, professional integrity, and transparency between practitioner and patient.

Acupuncture, for the uninitiated, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. For centuries, this practice has been heralded for its ability to alleviate pain, cure ailments, and even improve general well-being. It’s a method deeply rooted in tradition, requiring an intimate level of patient-practitioner trust given its invasive nature.

The case against Mr. Lim is a stark reminder that, like any service industry, the world of acupuncture is not immune to instances of abuse and misconduct. While the trial will determine the veracity of the accusations, this incident serves as a wakeup call for both practitioners and patients alike.

For practitioners, it reiterates the sacredness of the oath they take to do no harm. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs or perceptions, the prime responsibility is to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient. Any actions that violate this trust tarnish not just the reputation of one individual, but potentially cast a shadow over the entire profession.

Patients, on the other hand, must be educated about the services they seek. While it’s essential to trust the experts, it’s equally crucial to be informed. By understanding what a standard acupuncture session entails and recognizing the boundaries of professional behavior, patients can advocate for their well-being and security.

Singapore, with its blend of tradition and modernity, has a thriving community of acupuncture enthusiasts and experts. Let this incident be not a deterrent, but rather a clarion call to strengthen the bonds of trust, professionalism, and respect within this community. After all, the essence of acupuncture – or any form of healing – is not just in needles and pressure points; it’s in the human connection.

Recommendations for consumers looking for acupuncture in Singapore

Based on the above, here are some practical tips for getting acupuncture in Singapore:

  1. Research the Practitioner: Always ensure that the acupuncture practitioner you choose is certified and recognized by a relevant Singaporean governing body or association.
  2. Word-of-Mouth Referrals: Ask friends, family, or colleagues for their recommendations. Personal experiences from people you trust can be invaluable.
  3. Read Reviews: Look online for reviews and testimonials about the practitioner or the clinic. A consistent record of positive experiences can be reassuring.
  4. Clarify the Treatment: Before starting, ask the practitioner to explain the procedure, its benefits, and what exactly it involves. Being informed can help you differentiate between standard practices and potential misconduct.
  5. Establish Boundaries: Clearly communicate any personal boundaries or concerns you might have before the session begins. A professional practitioner will respect your comfort zones.
  6. Listen to Your Instincts: If something feels off, speak up or end the session. Your comfort and safety are paramount.
  7. Choose a Clinic with Transparency: Clinics that have clear glass treatment rooms or the option for open-door treatments can provide an additional level of comfort.
  8. Consider Bringing a Companion: Especially for the first few visits, having someone you trust with you can provide reassurance.
  9. Stay Informed: Know what standard acupuncture sessions entail. This will allow you to recognize if something is amiss.
  10. Check for Proper Sanitation: Ensure that the practitioner uses sterilized, single-use needles and maintains a clean environment.
  11. Post-Treatment Feedback: After the session, reflect on the experience. If anything felt uncomfortable, discuss it with someone you trust, and consider addressing it directly with the clinic or seeking another practitioner for future treatments.
  12. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with the standards and practices set by Singaporean authorities. If you believe you’ve encountered professional misconduct, report it.

By adhering to these guidelines, consumers can ensure a safer and more beneficial acupuncture experience in Singapore.


In a world where the preservation of ancient traditions and modern oversight are equally important, the incident surrounding Mr. Lim Ah Bah provides a timely lesson. It emphasizes the critical balance between respecting time-honored practices and ensuring patient safety and professionalism in the modern age. While one case shouldn’t tarnish an entire industry, it’s a clear sign that continuous vigilance, awareness, and education are required. Both practitioners and patients bear the responsibility to uphold the highest standards, ensuring that the rich legacy of acupuncture in Singapore remains untarnished and continues to flourish in safety and trust.


Denisse loves reading and writing about culture, history, and politics. Outside writing articles for The Singaporean, Denisse enjoys musicals, gaming, and Harry Potter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.