What is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese Medicine is a medical system which has been used for thousands of years in China. It aims to prevent, diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses through the use of various modalities such as acupuncture and herbal medicine. The view of Chinese Medicine is to treat the person as a whole, acknowledging the connection of mind, body and environment and the effect they have on the development of disease. In this way, clinicians take into account the person as a whole in order to determine the best possible treatment plan. Patients are more than just their symptoms and no two patients are the same (even with the same biomedical diagnosis), so each treatment is tailored to the individual in order to obtain the best treatment outcomes. You may have heard about concepts such as ‘Qi’ and “yin and yang’. Today in the clinic, we see these as descriptors of physiological processes such as the proper circulation of blood, which describe the complex interactions of the various systems within our bodies.

During your first visit, the practitioner will ask you for a full medical history, look at your tongue, check your pulse, palpate various areas of your body such as your abdomen and ask you many seemingly unrelated questions in order to customize a treatment plan for you.

How does Chinese Herbal Medicine work?

After a thorough consultation, your clinician will make a herbal mixture or formula tailored to your specific needs. This may change over time as your body responds to the medicines. The herbs utilized are comprised of various roots, stems, seeds and flowers in various tried and tested combinations which are designed to alleviate symptoms and prevent further illness.

Herbs can be taken in various ways, in the form of pills, raw herbs which need to be decocted or cooked in order to extract their active ingredients or pre extracted granules. Your practitioner will work with you to decide the method which will work best.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture uses fine needles inserted into various parts of the body along meridians or channels in order to reduce pain, re-regulate the flow of qi in the body and stimulate the body’s own healing response. Modern research into acupuncture suggests that when acupuncture needles are inserted, they interact with the nervous system and connective tissues to release biomolecules such as hormones in the body.

As with herbal medicine, after a consultation, your practitioner will help determine the best treatment plan for your needs. This includes treatment frequency as some conditions will require appointments closer together initially, which will in time reduce to maintenance sessions once or twice a year to maintain optimum health.