1. What is Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine is a sophisticated and powerful medical system that has evolved in East Asia over several thousand years. It combines a detailed and holistic approach to diagnosis with a broad spectrum of therapeutic interventions. These include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and lifestyle advice to treat disease and to restore and maintain good health and wellbeing. Written records of this medical system stretch back over 2,000 years but these practices are even older and almost certainly originate in the earliest stages of human development.
Chinese medicine has been refined over centuries of clinical practice. More recently it has been tested and validated by increasingly rigorous in vitro and in vivo research. In China it is commonly used in over 3,000 hospitals and investigated by over a hundred research institutes. In the past 40-50 years Chinese medicine has become established in the West and is widely practiced in Europe, the US and Australia. The combination of traditional knowledge, and its application and scrutiny in a modern care setting, is one of the great strengths of this system of medicine.
2. What are the benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM)?
Chinese Herbal Medicine offers a comprehensive range of treatments for many ailments. In the West it has built a reputation for the treatment of conditions including:
- Skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
- Respiratory tract disorders such as acute cough and asthma
- Genito-urinary conditions including acute and recurrent urinary tract infections
- Allergic and auto-immune conditions such as Hay Fever and Graves disease
- Digestive diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD, and ulcerative colitis
- Gynaecological disorders such as infertility, endometriosis and Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Mental and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression
- Supportive treatment for people living with cancer.
However the potential of CHM extends much further than this and in China most Western medical departments are matched by their CHM equivalents.
3. What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture has become well established in the West as an effective means of treating musculo-skeletal disorders such as back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, and neck pain. However it has a far wider application than this and acupuncture is now commonly used to help support fertility treatment, and to alleviate digestive diseases, gynaecological problems, allergies such as hay fever, and mental-emotional problems including depression, anxiety and insomnia.
4. How does Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) relate to acupuncture?
CHM and acupuncture both originate from the traditions of East Asian medicines. Much of the modern system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a diagnostic and therapeutic framework that particularly suits CHM. I consider CHM and acupuncture as a kind of Yin-Yang pairing. Acupuncture excels at moving Qi and restoring its harmonious flow through the channel system, whilst CHM works at a more material level to strengthen deficiencies in the body and to expel the pathogenic factors that lead to disease.
In my experience using herbs and acupuncture together allows me to significantly extend the range and the potency of my treatment. Giving a patient herbal medicine to take on a daily basis allows for a regular intervention that reinforces and consolidates the benefits of treatment, enables substantial changes to be made, and a lasting restoration of good health. CHM provides an active treatment every day-something that is not practical or affordable using acupuncture alone.
5. What does treatment involve?
If you are interested in exploring acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine as a treatment option then I will book you in for an initial consultation where I take a full case history, look at your tongue, and feel your pulse in order to diagnose your condition. I will then explain what is going on from the perspective of Chinese medicine and recommend a course of treatment using either acupuncture, herbs or a combined treatment. Acupuncture treatment is usually administered on a weekly basis whereas herbal consultations will initially take place every two weeks and then on a monthly basis once a successful course of treatment has been established.