Chinese Medicine General FAQs
Chinese Medicine treats the person, not just the disease and its symptoms. This holistic approach means that a Chinese Medicine practitioner place heavy emphasis on identifying internal patterns of disharmony. Chinese Medicine sees the underlying disharmony as the root, whereas the disease itself is merely the manifestation or branch. Of course treating the chief complaint takes priority in the initial treatment plan, eventually resolving the root of the disease is the key to long term relief.
Be prepared to face in-depth questioning in your first consultation. You will be asked about things which you do not think relates to your chief complaint, such as your emotional state, sleeping patterns, diet, even bowel habits. As part of an ancient diagnostic regimen, the practitioner will also check your tongue and feel your pulse. The abdomen and selected body areas are sometimes palpated.
It is essential to list down Western medications and natural supplements you are currently taking. Always helpful if you bring the medical report or any scan results relevant to the condition being treated.
The mode of actions of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine are completely different. Chinese Medicine treatment methods are mostly natural and non-invasive. During a consultation session, you will find that a Chinese Medicine practitioner rely very little on modern technologies in making a diagnosis. The treatment approach is not interventive in nature, but rather focusing on encourage the body to heal itself. Natural Chinese herbs instead of synthetic pharmaceuticals are prescribed.
Chinese medicine treatment is a proven effective complement to conventional Western medication. Take the example of eczema. Instead of focusing on stopping the itch or drying the weeping rash, the Chinese Medicine idea is that the condition is caused by a few patterns of internal disharmonies. Subject to their lifestyle, diet and emotional state, individuals are prone to developing certain patterns. As such a Chinese Medicine practitioner will prescribe different Chinese herbal formula and acupuncture therapies to different patients who comes to the clinic with eczema.
No. Always consult your Western physician prior to changing doses or stopping medication you are currently on.
In many situations Chinese Medicine treatments are used as complementary therapies. Whether for purpose of addressing certain aspects of a complex condition, or reducing side effect of conventional treatment, the effect of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine phases-in gradually. Even in cases where it is commonly known that conventional medicine offers no profound effect apart from symptomatic relief, stopping your medication abruptly could cause undesirable effect and sudden shock to the body.
When you adopt Chinese medicine as a treatment regimen for a particular condition, you are at the same time improving general health, and preventing future health problems. The key difference comes from Chinese medicine treating patterns of illness, not just the symptoms or the condition. You can think of the patterns as an extension of the underlying contributing factors, or root cause, of your current illness.
For example, different patient suffering from insomnia will get diagnosed with different patterns of disharmony in a Chinese medicine clinic. In general insomnia is classified as a ShenDisturbance (Heart Spirit which is wandering or unsettled) syndrome. But say you are complaining of having insomnia for the past 6 months, and during the initial consultation we found that you have been bottling up anger, drinking nightly attempting to relieve pressure, and that you have been tossing and turning, waking up at 3am unable to fall back asleep. A flushed complexion, red tongue, fast and strong pulse will confirm the diagnosis of Liver Fire harassing the Heart Spirit as your pattern of illness. Instead of prescribing you with sleeping tablets, Chinese medicine will drain Liver Fire, calm the spirit, and promote sleep.
Sometime during the course of your treatment, you may notice that you no longer suffer from heart burn, and that constipation has gone away. Liver Fire can also affect the Stomach and Intestines, causing symptoms related to upward rising Qi and dryness. By treating the Liver Fire pattern, we have also restored the Qi movement and preserved the moistening Yin substance in the digestion system.
At the same time, treating the Liver Fire pattern which is the cause of your sleeping problem today, can actually help preventing the development of other health problems arising from the extension of your Liver disharmony. Left untreated, Liver Fire can lead to serious mental health condition such as anxiety and panic attacks. Or say you are a female in late thirties, then early menopause or severe hot flushes may happen, due to Kidney Yin being damaged by untreated Liver Fire.
Your initial appointment at the clinic will begin with a comprehensive consultation process. During the consultation, we discuss your health problem, and gather information which will enable us to do a differentiation of disease patterns. At the end of the process, we arrive at a diagnosis, and it is expressed in Chinese medicine terms as patterns of disharmony. This is the starting point of your treatment plan. We like having a brief chat so that you understand the internal disharmony (as in physical and emotional imbalances) and external influences (as in diet, lifestyle, habits etc.) which are contributing factors to your unique pattern. Most importantly we want to know your expectation in seeking Chinese medicine treatment, so that we can decide on treatment courses and treatment techniques.
After that you will either be lying down for a relaxing 40-minute acupuncture treatment, prescribed herbal granules for taking at home, or both.
What information do you gather in the consultation process?
The Eight Principles, Zang Fu (internal organ) theory and Meridians theory are the 3 guiding principles of Chinese medicine diagnosis. The 4 main diagnostic methods are: Inspection, Olfaction and Auscultation, Questioning and Palpation. Inspection of tongue, palpation of pulse and meridian pathways are particularly important.
Be prepared to be asked questions seemingly unrelated to the condition you are seeking treatment for. There will be extensive history taking and discussion on lifestyle and diet. Since we are treating the person rather than just the symptoms, we need to analyse all available information to arrive at a diagnosis as in patterns of disharmony.
Commonly asked questions during a Chinese medicine consultation are: body temperature, sweating, pain and discomfort in all major body areas (including characteristic of pain); pain and discomfort in all sensory organs, digestion (as in appetitie, thirst and taste), toilet habits and emotions.
The combination of acupuncture treatment and Chinese herbal medicine is highly recommended because the synergy itself creates better and sustainable clinical results. The advantages of combined therapies using both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are:
- Time saving and cost-effectiveness:
To bring the symptoms of acute and sub-acute illnesses under control, frequent and regular treatments need to be administered within a short time frame. The objective is to effect rapid relief to pain and discomfort, also prevent development of complications or the progression into chronic health disorders.
Acupuncture works by bringing blood flow to the painful areas and restoring the balance of bodily functions. The treatment outcome of acupuncture is the cumulative effect of a series of regular treatments. In China, patients attend the acupuncture clinic multiple times per week during the active treatment phase of an illness. However, this type of treatment program is not practical in the Australian clinical setting.
Expedited healing through concentrated treatments can be achieved by receiving regular acupuncture treatments at the clinic, combined with the taking of herbal medicine at home during the interval between acupuncture treatments. Less visits to the clinic means saving of time, and a shorter course of treatments brings about cost-effectiveness.
- Better management to provided targeted treatment approach
- – complement each other
- Complicated and chronic pathology need both modalities to see effect.