Why try Chinese medicine

Over the last 20 years, Chinese Medicine has moved from the backstreets of Chinatown to become part of mainsteam health care in Australia. Education for acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has also progressed from short courses to undergraduate degrees in Universities with Masters and PhD programs also available. Practitioners have become highly qualified professionals with clinics throughout metropolitan areas.

For most health problems the local GP is the first person to see. However, increasingly it is allied health professionals who are called on to offer specific treatments. Physiotherapists, podiatrists, optometrists, osteopaths and chiropractors, dietitians, psychologists, etc., have become an essential part of our health services.

Chinese medicine is now also being seen as a complement to modern medicine or as a diagnostic and treatment method for a wide range of health problems. A typical day in a Chinese medicine clinic will see women’s health issues (PMS, irregular menstrual cycle, infertility and IVF assistance, pregnancy problems), painful conditions (back pain, neck pain, sciatica, headaches), digestive problems (gastric reflux, constipation, loose stools, bloating), children’s health (colds and flu, acne, poor concentration, failure to thrive), as well as many chronic health problems that patients may be managing with long term medications prescribed by their GP.

Most people will try Chinese medicine after being referred by a family member or friend who has had a good result after having acupuncture or taking Chinese herbs for their own health problem. Because Chinese medicine has a unique way of assessing a health condition, by linking symptoms that may seem unrelated, the experience of visiting a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner will be very different to other health practitioners.

A recent case may give the flavour of how Chinese medicine practitioners investigate the details of a problem. A 70 year old man was brought to the clinic by his daughter. For a year he had been suffering from severe frontal headaches and nausea. He had undergone many tests and treatments from his GP and specialists but to no avail. His family was desperate to find a solution. Although his Doctors had asked him about prior conditions they had missed a detail in the history of his problem that was that it had begun after he had air conditioning installed in his house. Chinese medicine believes that changes in climatic conditions can cause flu like conditions. In this gentleman’s case, his body reacted to the cold from the air conditioning. The severe frontal headaches, made worse in windy conditions, and the nausea, have been described for centuries by Doctors in China, as occurring after exposure to unusually cold climatic conditions. He had a short course of acupuncture and took a prescription of herbs first used nearly 2000 years ago. After each acupuncture treatment his headaches lessened in severity and the nausea subsided. After 3 weeks of treatment his condition had resolved.

Occasionally difficult problems can be alleviated with minimal treatment, at other times intense or longer term treatment is required. Chinese medicine is a treasure trove of treatments that have been successfully brought into a modern health care system in China alongside modern medicine. People in Australia are also finding it can bring a unique perspective to health problems in a modern world.


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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.