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 disease, known as the root, and 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, ‘ulcerative colitis’, but fall into different ‘patterns’ and be treated quite differently. Conversely, two people may present with different diseases, one with asthma, the other with dysmenorrhoea, for example, but be diagnosed with the same pattern and have very 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 maintenance treatment is required.

Is Chinese Medicine safe?

In the hands of a qualified practitioner of Chinese Medicine safety is assured. Only sterilised, single-use needles are used and there is no chance of cross-infection. Herbs are selected appropriately for the client and do not have the side effects associated with some modern drugs and it can be used safely on a regular basis.

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.