Want the down low on traditional Chinese medicine? Cinci Leung is your go-to mama!
Our mamapreneur this month, Cinci Leung, is a health and wellness expert who used her expertise in Chinese Medicine to create a line of stunning, organic handmade soaps and teas. Essentials by Cinci teas are each designed to address a specific need – cure tired eyes, revitalize the body, or improve attention and focus – while the soaps cater to various skin types and have creative names to boot: “Happy Baby” and “Silky Rose” are perfect for rejuvenating dry, dull skin for us busy mamas! Here, we sit down with Cinci to discuss her love of Chinese Medicine, journey to motherhood and health tips for the on-the-go mama!
Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you become interested in Chinese Medicine?
I received my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Pepperdine University and worked as a marketing assistant at the Trade Development Council (HKTDC) for Chopard Hong Kong Limited for almost 3 years after graduation. My interest in Chinese Medicine grew slowly over time. It started when I sprained my knee in high school during a mile run fitness exam and it was a Chinese Medicine Practitioner who helped mend my knee. At the time, I was very interested in sports medicine, but I didn’t end up choosing it as my major.
Shortly after, I met a mentor who was a Western Medicine doctor and a Chinese Medicine Practitioner whom my mother and my uncle saw to treat their shoulder pain. He recognised my interest in sports medicine and was willing to advise me as I explored the career paths of Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, and physiotherapy. I thought, in terms of sports related injuries, Western Medicine is quite aggressive as it often recommends patients get injections of anti-inflammatory medicines or encourages them to undergo surgery. In terms of physiotherapy, it wasn’t as in depth as I wanted it to be, so I chose Chinese Medicine. As I learned more and more about Chinese Medicine’s fundamental theories and approaches in internal medicine, it made a lot of sense to me and I knew that becoming a Chinese Medicine Practitioner was what I wanted to do and be good at.
Where do you practice and what types of services do you focus on at your clinic?
I practice in my own clinic in Central. We offer Chinese Medicine consultation and prescription services, covering internal medicine, gynaecology, paediatrics, acupuncture, dermatology and tui na. We also offer specialised treatment plans for: pain management, weight management, lactation consultation, dermatology care, and treatment for insomnia.
Can you tell us about Essentials by Cinci? Where did the inspiration come from?
I realised that each person’s Emotional Quotient (EQ), diet and lifestyle play a big part in influencing their body types. And I saw that, in turn, medicines worked more effectively in patients that also adjusted their lifestyle habits as a part of treatment. So, this led me to want to give patients another way to improve their well-being. I decided to create my own line of products to do just that.
The products in Essentials by Cinci are meant to be used alongside other treatments or prescription medications. They provide people another way to improve their everyday lives through the use of natural products. Each product in the line is natural, free of preservatives and leaves out other potentially harmful chemicals. Every product created by Essentials by Cinci is guaranteed to be organic, handmade, and free of additives and chemicals.
How were the Essentials by Cinci teas developed?
In creating the Essentials by Cinci Teas, I found that compared to coffee or juice, herbal tea is a better option, especially for working professionals or those that are stuck in an office during the day. Each type of Essentials by Cinci Tea has its own unique benefits as well.
Essentials by Cinci Soap is natural, made with no additives, and produced using high quality oils to help take the burden off of your skin. Our skin is often exposed to free radicals found in pollution, makeup, and mass produced cleansers so Essentials by Cinci soaps work wonders for patients that suffer from skin irritations such as rashes and eczema.
Any big challenges you had to overcome while developing the products?
It took me a while to find a GMP certified tea wholesaler and manufacturer. I needed to be sure that the teas ingredients I used were safe and high quality. I came up with making soap after I took courses on how to make handmade cold-pressed soaps while I was pregnant. I wanted to come up with formulas for soap that wouldn’t be drying and would instead have a therapeutic effect on skin. I infused the soaps with Chinese Medicine and high quality oils, so that they could contain therapeutic effects as well as target different conditions.
The big challenge behind the entire process was perfecting the formulas. This step was always very time consuming, but I was fortunate enough to meet a fellow soap making student that opened a soap studio and was willing to help me ready my soaps for sale.
What do you hope to achieve through your Essentials by Cinci line?
The guiding philosophy behind Essentials by Cinci is to go back to basics and to promote health through small, practical lifestyle changes. I hope to provide one more safe yet good option for people. I want to show them that Chinese Medicine can be combined with herbal tea and that these teas can also taste good. Essentials by Cinci Soaps are made from high quality oils without additives and are not drying to the skin. They’re gentle enough for even baby’s skin.
What are your favourite products?
Among the Essentials by Cinci Teas, my favourite is Restore Your Radiance, I love the taste of it! Among the Essentials by Cinci Soaps, my favourite is Silky Rose because your skin feels so soft and moist after using it.
Any future plans?
I recently just launched my book, which is a guide on the basics of Chinese Medicine presented in layman’s terms. It’s ideal for beginners that would like to use Chinese Medicine to improve their health. The book also includes 61 soup recipes in both English and Chinese.
Looking forward, I am exploring how I can do a continuation of my book and work to continue promoting Chinese Medicine. I’d like to continue sharing my insights and knowledge of how simple dietary changes can help us to maintain our health and that of our family.
What are the benefits of your products and can children use them?
There are no hidden ingredients in Essentials by Cinci products. Aimed to be a helpful solution for busy people and the working crowd – whom are often under stress – Essentials by Cinci Teas contain unique mixtures of herbs and tea leaves that act as effective remedies for stress, fatigue and the wear that long hours of work can cause. Though I don’t recommend children drink tea, the benefits that children will receive from our teas are happy and stress-free parents!
Essentials by Cinci Soaps contain no additives, so they cleanse and moisturise the skin without leaving potentially harmful chemical residues. Our soaps are also infused with Chinese Medicine, and therefore, they have therapeutic benefits for your skin as well! I would recommend our Happy Baby soap for children, especially for kids that suffer from rashes and eczema.
Tell us about your family. How do you balance being a mum and a career woman? Is it hard to juggle?
My husband is a businessman and has flexible afternoon hours. My son is turning 2 next month, and will be entering pre-nursery school. In terms of my work-life balance, I have become good at multitasking. My clinic hours are by appointment only, so this gives me a lot of flexibility to complete different tasks in between appointments.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I have always enjoyed people-watching, I do get a lot of inspiration from just watching people. I also read different kinds of books for inspiration too.
What are your favourite healthy living spots and activities in Hong Kong? Favourite healthy dining spots?
I love to take my family to my father’s organic farm in New Territories during the weekend for a short break and to escape city life. I actually prefer to eat at home, so that I can control what ingredients go into each dish, but when I do eat out I really love going to NUR.
How do you balance a healthy lifestyle in Hong Kong?
I would say that it’s best to know your body type in terms of Chinese Medicine, and to eat accordingly and exercise regularly. I believe the key to health is balance. Also, it’s important to know what you like to do to release your stress, so that you do not hold things in for too long. I started running with my husband twice a week and have been doing Pilates once a week. And no matter how busy I get, I make sure to have some quality alone time for myself to wind down before I sleep.
What are your best Chinese medicine tips for busy mamas?
Busy mamas usually have the qi-stagnated body type; a hectic urban life filled with stress and emotional burdens impairs the liver’s conveyance and dispersion functions, thereby affecting the circulation of qi and blood and causing irregular menstruation. I recommend them keeping a jar of red rose tea or jasmine tea handy in office or at home. Scented teas are especially soothing for those under a large amount of stress. It helps to course the liver to rectify qi.
Favourite thing about Hong Kong?
It’s my home! Having lived in LA during my college days, I especially appreciate the efficiency, the food and the culture of Hong Kong.
Why do you think Hong Kong is a good city for entrepreneurs?
It is efficient. You are able to accomplish a lot in a day and for entrepreneurs, time is crucial!
What’s your best advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Be patient and take any time necessary to find your true passion. Start with your strengths and then add to your skill set, step by step, and brick by brick. Before you know it, a path of opportunity will begin to emerge. When you’re doing something you really love, it’ll be easy to immerse yourself in that field – and you’ll develop an intuitive feel for the opportunities that lie ahead.
What do you hope to pass on to your little one?
The ability to laugh at our ourselves, the ability to recognise and appreciate each blessing, no matter how big or small, and knowing how to be content.