Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system based on over 2000 years of professional clinical experience and research from Asia. It includes treatments such as Acupuncture, Herbal medicine, physical body work, exercise meditation and dietary therapies.

Your first consultation may be longer than subsequent sessions. A practioner needs to assess your general state of health in order to identify the underlying pattern of disharmony and give you the most effective treatment. You will be asked about your current symptoms and what treatment you have received so far. You will also be asked about your medical history and that of your close family. The practitioner will also ask you about your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and your general emotional state.To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, they are likely to feel your pulse, noting the quality, rhythm and strength. The structure, colour and coating of your tongue also gives a good guide to physical health.Once enough information has been gathered to determine the likely causes of your problems, a treatment will be prescribed which best address the imbalance that is causing your health complaints. The treatment may include dietry guidlines, herbs, acupuncture or body work.

A Chinese medicine practitioner will asses your condition using a combination of the four diagnostic methods. This is a set of examinations and questions that are designed to help the practitioner determine your individual patterns of imbalance and how they are effecting your health. A practitioner will enquire into the reason you have attended the clinic but the examination and questioning will often be quite broad covering areas you may not have realized are related. One area that is unique to Chinese medicine is they will frequently examine the tongue and pulse. The examination of the tongue reveals much about the internal function of your organs (particularly the digestion) and circulation of Qi and blood. While the pulse provides information on the strength and balance of Qi and circulation throughout the body. You will notice that the pulse is often taken on both wrist at three positions on the wrist and at different pressure levels.

Chinese medicine is based on a completely different paradigm of understanding health and disease. As with most knowledge its development was influenced by cultural norms of the time. This led to a non-invasive medical framework and an holistic approach, on the other hand Western medicine was strongly influenced by the microscope and an invasive study of anatomical structures of the body. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Chinese Medicine is very effective in many situations where western is at a loss. This can often be seen in its ability to relive pain without drugs. Or in its effectiveness  in helping couples with fertility problems conceive a child without invasive IVF programs.

Acupuncture is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. It became popular in the West in the early Seventies, and is now one of the most widely recognized complementary therapies. It involves the use of fine needles to stimulate reflex changes in the body that promote health and recovery from injury or illness.

There is not yet a complete scientific understanding of how acupuncture works however there are numerous studies that demonstrate the effects and changes in the body induced by acupuncture.  From a traditional standpoint it works by altering the flow of a form of subtle energy called Qi. The Qi  flows through pathways in the body and effects the health and function of tissues and organs that it connects to.

Chinese Herbal Medicine has evolved over 4000 years as a powerful and accurate tool regulating the internal organs and immune system.  All the ingredients used by proper Chinese herbalists are natural, and unlike most Western drugs, have no side-effects. Over 450 herbs are commonly used in Chinese medicine. Herbal prescriptions are a mixture of different herbs to treat an individual's illness. Often the prescriptions will be tailored to treat the specific ailment of the individual, in other cases for common complaints the herbs maybe in a patent form of pill, plaster etc.please see Chinese Herbs for more details

Most people find acupuncture a pleasant and deeply relaxing experience. The needles bear little resemblance to needles used in blood tests and injections. They are much finer, and are solid rather than hollow.  There should be no pain during the insertion of needles if the doctor is fully trained and experienced. Sometimes you may feel numbness at the point of entry or an energy transfer along the meridian to another part of the body. Needles are inserted for a short time and then removed, or more commonly left in place for up to 25 minutes, depending on the effect required.After acupuncture, you will feel relaxed or even slightly sleepy, so please take care not to tackle anything strenuous for a few hours following your treatment. The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition: many people find that it can also lead to increased energy levels, better appetite and sleep, as well as an enhanced sense of overall well being.

The total number of treatments will vary from patient to patient, however likely timeframes specific to your case will be discussed with you.It is worth keeping in mind a general rule of thumb especially for chronic conditions the longer you have had the problem the longer it will take to resolve it. If you have had a problem for several years it would not be unrealistic for it to take 3-6 months to resolve. However as a part of treatment you will be given guidelines that help you to determine the effectiveness of the the treatment you are receiving.

Try not to have a big meal within a hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse. Also avoid alcohol and food and drinks which alter the color of your tongue just before you have your treatment.

Traditionally, Chinese herbs are boiled in a soup or as tea to extract the essence of the herbs, which is then drunk by the patient. However,  modern prescriptions often involve concentrated powders or pills that require no cooking.

Most people find that tea is at least a little bitter and sometimes unpleasant to taste. Honey can be added as a sweetener, but it is generally accepted that the effects of the medicine far outweigh the sometimes bitter taste.

A healthy lifestyle in general is important. Diet, exercise, fresh air, deep breathing, enough sleep, and relaxation all contribute to good physical and mental health.

Acupuncture can be used alongside conventional medicine in the treatment of both acute and chronic disease. As with any treatment, it may be important to mention certain details about your current state of health, as this will assist the practitioner in his full diagnosis of your condition.

Registered practitioners must observe a code of practice which lays down stringent standards of hygiene and infection control. In our case all needles are single use disposable.

For people who are not comfortable with the idea of having needles inserted into the body, there are various alternative techniques based on the principles of acupuncture. These include:  Electro-acupuncture (applied with or without needles), Laser-therapy, or various body work techniques.

Traditionally ingredients such as tiger bone were used in Chinese Herbal Medicine. However we do not use them please see our policy here.

YES. Chinese medicine in general does not conflict with Western medicine, and may be used as a complementary therapy. However, please inform us about any current medications you are taking.

The Optimum Wellness Challenge is a practical workshop on what it takes to be in optimal health. It is based on thirty years of experience in diet, exercise and professional health care. It combines the wisdom and experience of Traditional Chinese Medicine with the best of modern research it follows time tested and proven principles for living well.