Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has origins in China dating back to at least 2,500 years ago, and continues today to be a very safe and powerful natural healthcare system.Since the introduction of acupuncture to the West in the 1970s, acupuncture has continued to rise in popularity as a powerful, safe and drug-free alternative or complementary health care system to Western medical treatments. At the centre of Chinese medical theory is that illness is caused by disharmony or imbalance within the body, and so TCM takes into account physical, emotional and psychological components of what is going on for you. The various healing methods (described below) used by Chinese medical practitioners aim to guide and ease the body back into balance, without the use of pharmaceutical products or invasive procedures.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of incredibly fine needles to stimulate the body’s physical and energy systems and restore it to a state of balance, or homeostasis. Acupuncture points are located all over the body, and are carefully selected by your practitioner to gently and holistically stimulate, strengthen and/or relieve symptoms of your unique presentation. The ones we tend to use most frequently are located on the limbs, ankles, wrists, abdomen and back. When stimulated, these points initiate a a healing response in the body, helping to clear stress hormones, boost energy levels and bring the body back into balance, naturally.
Acupuncture treatment is very safe, and we only ever use single-use, high quality disposable acupuncture needles. We have seen many ‘needle phobic’ patients, who have all left feeling relaxed and grounded. We employ a very gentle technique to ensure the most comfortable and a pain-free acupuncture experience. Acupuncture treatments are an immersive and incredibly relaxing experience – in fact, most of our patients fall asleep on the table!
Cupping is a physical therapeutic method that involves the placement of plastic or glass cups (therapeutic ones, not drinking ones!) on the skin. It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture and is helpful in the treatment of sore or stiff muscles, colds & flus, coughs and headaches. A vacuum is created within the cup, which is then placed on the skin, gently drawing in and stretching a portion of the skin, fascia and muscle towards the cup. It boosts healing & immune processes by helping to draw blood to the area and generally feels very pleasant and enjoyable. Cupping can be performed virtually anywhere on the body, but is mostly performed on the back, shoulders, abdomen and occasionally legs.
There are different styles of cupping including retained (stationary) cupping, flash cupping and moving/sliding cupping to name a few. Your practitioner will be able to effectively address which style would be best suited to your unique presentation. Many techniques can leave you with circular red/purple marks – these are not painful and will generally fade away within 2-7 days. Cupping is very effective and safe when performed by a professional. All our therapists are experienced with the use of cupping in treatments.
Moxibustion (moxa) is a gentle technique of heating acupuncture points with a herb known as mugwort (Ai Ye). Moxa generally comes as a pre-rolled, cigar-like object which is lit and held a centimetre or two away from the skin. Sometimes the loose herb is shaped into threads or small pyramids and placed either directly on the skin or on a medium such as a piece of ginger or the top of an acupuncture needle. Once burning, moxa creates a very pleasant warming sensation which penetrates deep under the skin to stimulare the surrounding tissues, and is removed before it gets too hot.
Moxa is used to increase blood and energy flow within the body, relieve pain, improve energy levels, and decrease inflammation. It can be useful for treating many conditions such as fatigue, emotional imbalances, poor circulation, pain, poor digestion, infertility and even turning breech babies. Your practitioner will be able to assess whether or not moxa may be beneficial for you.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal medicine is the oldest aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine, having been in use in China for over 5,000 years. Prescribed in our clinic as pills, capsules or in granulated forms to be dissolved in hot water, Chinese herbs can be incredibly helpful in treating a very wide variety of conditions and may extend the effects of an acupuncture treatment, which is especially helpful in patients who may otherwise require multiple treatments a week.
Chinese herbs are very safe to take as long as they’re prescribed by an experienced practitioner. In modern practice, there are over 450 different substances commonly used in herbal formula; most of which are of plant origin, with a small number of them containing animal and mineral substances. This being said, no endangered species or unethical products are ever used in our clinic, and we only prescribe products that are approved by the TGA. People who wish not to consume animal products in their herbs are easily catered for.
Chinese dietetics (food/nutrition advice) ties in very well with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, following the same ancient traditional Chinese principles. Alongside looking at dietary basics like vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, Chinese dietetics focus on the energetic effects of food on the body by taking into consideration qualitative properties such as the temperature, taste, colour and nature of foods. Chinese dietary advice is given from a holistic perspective and in line with your treatment, taking into account your unique signs and symptoms, as well as your bodily constitution and seasonal & location factors (i.e. the weather).
Gua sha (pronounced gwar shar), meaning “scraping sha”, is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is stimulated with the gentle scraped of a blunt ceramic or stone instrument. It is used to release tension, and stimulate blood flow and localised healing. Gua sha tends to be most commonly performed on the back and neck, however as with cupping, it can be used virtually anywhere on the body.
Gua sha can be helpful in the treatment of a number of conditions including colds, flus and tight/stiff muscles. It generally feels very similar to a massage and most people enjoy it. Due to the friction of the instrument, it can leave a purplish marking on the skin similar to those left by cups – again, these are not typically painful and indicate the amount of release that’s taken place. When performed by a professional, gua sha can be a very effective and pleasant adjunct to your treatment.