Traditional Chinese medicine is a form of primary healthcare that treats conditions ranging from the common cold to autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue. Short of conditions requiring emergency or surgical intervention, it is a viable method of care for most health complaints. Practitioners administering acupuncture and herbal medicine joined the National Register and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professionals in mid-2012. This is the same scheme that regulates medical practitioners, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists and osteopaths, among others. In order to administer acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to the general public, individuals must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA).
Based on over 5,000 years of clinical experience, the Chinese medicine practiced in Australia today has evolved with modern medicine. The World Health Organisation lists over 100 diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials and reported in recent literature to have at least some therapeutic effect.
Among those in the first tier, for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been proven, include:
- Pain and neurological conditions – Headache, renal and biliary colic, facial pain and neuralgia, knee pain, lower back pain, post-operative pain, sciatica, sprain, tennis elbow, neck pain, stroke, periarthritis of the shoulder, dental pain, temperomandibular dysfunction.
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Systemic and circulatory problems – Essential hypertension, primary hypotension, leucopenia, rheumatoid arthritis.
- Mood disorders – Depression, including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke.
- Obstetrics and gynaecology – dysmenorrhoea (period pain), morning sickness, induction of labour, correction of malposition of foetus.
- Digestive disorders – dysentery, epigastralgia in peptic ulcer and chronic gastritis, nausea and vomiting.
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and chemotherapy
In my experience in the Chinese medicine clinic, I commonly see cases of autoimmune disease, infertility and women’s health, digestive trouble, fatigue, low immunity, stress and mood disorders, pain and neurological conditions.
Being a holistic modality of healthcare, Chinese medicine places as much emphasis on disease prevention as on treatment. This allows scope for the patient who comes in for a general check-up, looking to improve overall health and vitality.
It should be noted that a lovely side effect of treatment is that it is very relaxing. Most patients leave the clinic feeling calm and centred, with a greater capacity for looking after their own health.