Diagnosis and Treatment


Although practitioners of Chinese Medicine study Western medical science and understand disease processes from the Western viewpoint, diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is not made according to a disease name, but according to patterns of the relative balance of Yin and Yang in the various organ systems.  The appearance of the tongue and its coat and 28 different pulse qualities in 6 positions are fundamental in identifying patterns and diagnosing which organ systems are implicated. These patterns tell us the underlying cause of the condition referred to as the “root”, it is the root that the treatment will chiefly focus on. It is possible for two people to present with the same ‘disease’, for instance, ‘constipation’, but fall into different ‘patterns’ and receive different treatment. Conversely, two people could present with different disorders – for instance, one with heavy periods and one with migraines, but the underlying pattern could be the same and they might receive similar treatment.

What is the treatment?

The initial consultation entails a comprehensive interview with tongue and pulse diagnosis to establish what factors are contributing to the problem & to understand the individual constitution of the client. This initial consultation & treatment may take up to an hour & a half. Follow-up treatments generally take forty-five minutes. Most people feel relaxed afterwards and report improvements in sleep, energy and general well-being.

Course of Treatment

Courses of treatment vary according to the person & the complaint. Children usually respond very quickly. Acute illnesses, such as a recent cold, sore throat or urinary tract infection may only need one consultation and a few days of herbs. Acute sports injury usually only requires a few acupuncture treatments (3-5 on average). Long term conditions and chronic illnesses usually require a longer course of treatment. Generally speaking, the older the illness and the more complex the condition, the longer the course of treatment required. Usually, treatment will be more intense during the first few weeks, following which, intervals between treatments will gradually become longer. The period of treatment can vary greatly. Often there is no recurrence of symptoms but in some cases less intensive maintenance treatment is required.

Is Chinese Medicine safe?

In order to be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA), Chinese medicine practitioners must have a bachelor degree in Chinese medicine, and meet high standards of training and competence in order to provide safe and effective care.  They must also continue to develop their knowledge and skills as part of their professional development. It is therefore recommended that you see only a registered Chinese medicine practitioner as some practitioners are not registered with the CMBA and may have just completed a short course or a few units as part of another course of study.  You can check here:  http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx

Although Chinese medicine has a long history of safe practice, and is generally considered to be safe, there are always some risks associated with any form of treatment and, as with any form of treatment, there can be adverse reactions in individual cases. Only sterile, single-use, disposable needles are used and in the hands of a registered practitioner the risk of adverse reactions is very low.

How are the Herbs taken?

Concentrated granules are used. These have been shown by research to be at least as effective as the traditional raw herbs and have a higher absorption rate. They are prepared simply by dissolving in hot water, and because they are concentrated, a single dose is only about 50-100mls.

Is Acupuncture Painful?

The word “needle” is unfortunately associated with a hollow hypodermic syringe which has a large diameter and an angled cutting edge. Acupuncture needles, on the other hand, are very fine and flexible; they do not have a cutting edge but are rounded at the tip; they are not inserted into veins, but are gently eased into the skin and muscle. In most cases, insertion causes little or no discomfort, but for the needle-shy, needle-free techniques or herbs can be used.