What is Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine is a medical system which is rooted in over 5000 years of history. It can treat a wide range of physical and emotional conditions. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are its main form of treatment.
Treatments of Chinese medicine use the body’s natural functions to create balance. When one is suffering from a medical condition (which is an imbalance of bodily natural functions), acupuncture and/or herbal medicine will help the body to find equilibrium and in doing so go to the root of the medical condition. It treats the whole body, not just the symptoms. This is the strength of the Chinese medicine system. For example, if someone is suffering from IBS we will treat the fullness in the liver in order to maintain balance in the spleen and large intestine.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment is based on the meridian system and the balance and flow of energy known as Qi or (lymphatics in Western terms). Energy flows in lines called meridians all over the body. It is believed that illness and pain occur when the meridians become unbalanced or blocked so energy can no longer flow. Acupuncturists place fine sterile needles in specific points on the body to restore the flow and balance of Qi, leading to a healing response of the body.
What is the difference between Western herbs and Chinese herbs?
Unlike Western herbs which are used for their single action on the body, Chinese herbs are combined into formulas. In this way, rather than treating a single symptom, Chinese herbs are designed to target underlying energetic imbalances. Some herbs might open a particular area of your body whereas another group will then take a particular action in that area. The formulation of the herbs is a skill which takes many years to acquire. Chinese herbs can be prescribed raw (which is in dried form) and need to be cooked up at home in a clay pot. They can also be prescribed as granules, which can be dissolved in hot water. Also available are capsules, which can be taken like tablets.
What can I treat with Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine can be used for most health conditions but is especially effective for skin conditions, headaches, menstrual problems, infertility, aches and pains and digestive issues. Some conditions respond better to acupuncture and others better to herbs. Your practitioner will advise you on the best way of action. Sometimes a treatment can include both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
What can I expect in my first treatment?
Your first consultation starts with a conversation about the history of your condition. You will be asked when it started, how it started, and other questions to gain an understanding of why you have come. The practitioner may ask about other symptoms which relate to your condition. You can then relax on the treatment table where the practitioner will take your pulse, look at your tongue or examine areas of pain. The practitioner will collate all the information and reach a Chinese medicine diagnosis. Usually a treatment of acupuncture will be given during the first treatment. Your first treatment may take over an hour, so make sure you allow enough time.