What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese medicine is a primary healthcare system that has been used for thousands of years. It is a medical system in its own right with its own unique form of diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and therapies. Different modalities which are used in Chinese medicine include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, remedial massage (tuina), exercise and breathing therapy (such as tai chi and qigong), and diet and lifestyle advice. The most popular forms of Chinese medicine healthcare in Australia are acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach and its primary belief is that in order to be healthy we must maintain or restore balance, harmony and order in our bodies. It looks at getting to and treating the root cause of a condition, as opposed to just treating the symptoms, and focuses just as much on the prevention of illness as it does on the treatment.
How does it work?
In Chinese medicine Qi, or energy, flows along meridians (these are invisible energy pathways which can be likened to blood vessels or nerves). If the flow becomes blocked or there isn’t enough Qi in the body than the body loses its balance and isn’t able to maintain harmony or order, resulting in disease and illness.
There are many different factors which can affect our health including stress, emotions, diet, exercise, overwork, pathogens, weather and environmental conditions, and lifestyle factors. A Chinese medicine practitioner will take a thorough case history asking many questions which may not seem relevant or related to your presenting complaint but are vital in identifying any disharmony and disease patterns that may be presented. They will also ask about your medical history as well as look at your tongue and feel your pulse in order to achieve a diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis has been made a treatment plan is constructed, including why the body has become dysfunctional in the first place as well as ways in which to treat the underlying cause, or root, of the problem (not just the presenting symptoms). Treatment will then include different tools such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, massage, diet and lifestyle advice in order to restore balance in the body again.
Why choose Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine is a very unique medical system and takes a holistic approach. As a thorough history is taken in order to make a diagnosis and find the underlying cause of a problem, treatment is very much individualised. For example, 10 different people may present for treatment all complaining of headaches. Though they all have the same complaint by taking a detailed history and asking many seemingly irrelevant questions we are able to identify the cause of the problem so these 10 people may all receive different acupuncture treatments and different Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions. So where some forms of medicine just look at a symptom and have a one size fits all approach to treatment Chinese medicine if very individualised and focused on treating the cause as opposed to just the symptoms.
What treatments are used in Chinese medicine?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into certain points on the body to stimulate the flow of energy and blood. As well as invigorating the energy and blood flow in the body, acupuncture also nourishes organs and tissues and helps to calm the mind.
Acupuncture is usually a quick and painless process and the sensation is usually a dull ache, numbness, tingling or throbbing sensation. Most people tend to find that acupuncture is very relaxing and calming. Only disposable (single-use) acupuncture needles are used. It is a drug-free way to treat a wide range of disorders.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine involves the use of specific herbs, which may be of plant, mineral or animal origin, which are combined to form special formulas. In order to prescribe a formula we take a detailed case history looking into the symptoms and overall health of the person, including pulse and tongue diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been made an individually tailored herbal formula is prescribed. The herbs used at Hillside Holistic Health are in granular form, which conveniently dissolve in hot water to make a tea. We do not use any endangered species in our herbs.
Cupping involves the use of a flame to heat the air inside a glass cup to create a vacuum. The cup is then carefully placed on the surface of the skin and the cup stays on by the suction created. Cupping promotes the flow of blood and energy to the local tissue, relaxing muscles and is usually used in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and the onset of common colds. Cupping may cause bruising, which is usually painless, which usually fades within 2-7days.
Diet is a very important part of our health. Each food has different properties which can benefit our wellbeing or may be contributing to the disharmony in the body. As part of your treatment we may look at you diet and offer advice on foods which could be beneficial or those which you should avoid.
Your emotions, work and environment have a huge impact on your health. Emotions such as stress, anxiety and grief can weaken the body so that it’s not functioning as well as it should be. Through looking closely at your lifestyle we may be able to advise you and work together on making changes that can improve both your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Other tools which may be used as part of your treatment include: electro-acupuncture, moxibustion, tuina (massage) and heat therapy.
Click Headings for detailed information.
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis/Golfer’s elbow
- Muscular tightness/pain
- ITB tightness
- Shin splints
- Sprained ankle
- Rotator cuff injury
- Infertility (male & female)
- IVF support
- Morning sickness
- Breech presentation
- Pre-birth/labour preparation
- Insufficient lactation
- Post-natal depression
- Period pain
- Irregular menstruation
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Common Cold/flu
- Thyroid disorders