Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Ngaio Richard - AccupunctureAcupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which originated in China over 2000 years ago. This science and art of healing has become widely accepted over the past three decades. It has now been established as a profession in Australia and has proved to be safe and effective.

Today both Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine are regulated by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia which in partnership with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency), the same body which oversees nurses, dentists & other allied health professions, works to protect the public and guide the profession.

TCM; simplified Chinese: 中医; traditional Chinese: 中醫; pinyin: zhōng yī; (literally “Chinese medicine”) is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.[Wikipedia]

Chinese Herbs have been used for centuries. Plant/botanical elements  are by far the most common ingredients. Typically a formula is prepared as a decoction containing 4-18 substances. Some of these are considered as main herbs, others as ancillary. Other ingredients may be added in order to cancel out any toxicity or side effects of the main herbs.

In this practice, you may be prescribed your Chinese herbs in one of the following formats:

  • Patent medicine – a standardized herbal formula in the form of hard little pills. These are easy and convenient to administer & the most affordable type of medicines on the market. Great for mild illnesses.
  • Herbal extracts (granulated or powdered; may be in capsule form or loose) –  formulas constructed from herbal extracts are usually tailor-designed for you as an individual. Each formula contains single ingredients put together much like you would prepare a home-cooked meal using a recipe from a recipe book. Only in this case your herbalist (Ngaio) is writing the recipe just for you according to your current health needs. Your formula is then built according to this recipe (actually we call it a prescription).

How Is The Diagnosis Made?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes diagnosis of disease as being very specific to the individual.

To diagnose Ngaio takes a medical history, and listens to her patients experience of the symptoms. Pulse and tongue diagnosis are often implemented, according to the principles of TCM.

It is always a good idea to bring your western medical diagnosis and test results with you however this is not imperative. TCM has it’s own ways of diagnosing illness and is based upon an entirely different paradigm to western medicine. If you have your test results or can access them, it is always a good idea to bring them along though.

How Long Does An Acupuncture Treatment Take?

Needles usually stay in between 20 to 35 minutes (less so for children). We need a little time prior to catch up on your progress since your last treatment, or to run through your initial consultation.

People are usually pleasantly relaxed after acupuncture and it is good if you do not have to ‘spring back into action’ immediately afterward, nor do involved mental work.

All in all, you should put aside a good hour for your treatment, plus a little time after you leave here to ‘come down’  – maybe another 1/2 hour.

What To Expect From Acupuncture?

Most people experiencing acupuncture for the very first time are pleasantly surprised to discover how relaxing the treatment is. All you really have to do is relax. No need to ‘do’ anything else. Some people float off to sleep, some dream vividly or see colours, some experience strong emotions. It’s different each time.

Sometimes symptoms will change while you are on the table, sometimes as you leave the clinic, sometimes it can take a few treatments before you see significant changes. In early days of treatment, most people comment that they have a ‘greater sense of well-being’.

The frequency and number of treatments depends on several factors like duration and intensity of your illness. Your age, constitution and individual circumstances such as your desired health goal, are also taken into account.

You may feel you need to rest the day after your treatment, while on the other hand you may experience high energy. Both these responses are normal and demonstrate that your body is falling back into balance. Go with these feelings and allow yourself to rest if you feel the need and try not to over-exert yourself if you feel exuberant!

What Are The Benefits Of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of natural healing which has the following major benefits:

  • Drug-free pain relief
  • Treats the cause as well as the symptoms
  • Assists prevention against disease
  • Effectively treats many common ailments
  • Holistic approach to illness, linking body
  • Mind and emotions