Frequently Asked Questions
What does a typical visit involve?
A typical visit begins with diagnosis through questioning, tongue diagnosis and pulse diagnosis. If this is not your first visit, these techniques are still applied to monitor progress.
Depending on the diagnosis, most treatments involve a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine - acupuncture is applied during your visit and you are given herbs to take at home.
Read more about TCM diagnosis.
Is acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture should produce a very mild sensation in the form of a dull ache, throb or electric shoot. This is a sign the needle is in place and is doing its work.
This sensation is often described as relieving and even pleasurable, in the same way someone might describe a deep massage.
Acupuncture needles are extremely fine so insertion does not give the same sharpness or "sting" that an injection or blood test does. See acupuncture.
How are Chinese herbs taken?
Chinese herbs are rarely used singularly but rather in combinations known as formulas.
The herbs supplied in this practice are mostly in the form of granulated extracts, and much like instant coffee, are prepared by simply adding your measured dose to hot water twice a day. More about Chinese herbal medicine.
What if I can't stomach the herbs?
Chinese herbs aren't always, but can at times, be strong tasting. This will depend on your illness and the herbs needed to treat it.
Most people get used to even the strongest tasting prescriptions very quickly and come to look forward to taking their herbs.
For those with especially weak stomachs, the herbs can be placed in capsules.
Children usually take their herbs well if they are made up with a little honey.
Will I experience any side effects?
It is unlikely that you will experience side effects from using Chinese medicine. Very occasionally people note a slight light-headedness following acupuncture, or loose bowels after taking herbs, but this is rare.
If you do experience side effects, your treatment can usually be easily modified to avoid these reactions.
Can Chinese medicine be used in conjunction with modern pharmaceuticals?
In most cases, yes. There are very few reports of adverse interactions between Chinese medicine and conventional medicine. In fact, the two are routinely used to complement each other.
For example, TCM is often used to treat the side effects of modern drugs, and to strengthen patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other heavy treatments.
This said, it is always important to inform your practitioner of any medications you are taking so the potential risks can be assessed.
How long is a treatment course?
Generally, the longer you've had a particular illness and the more servere it is, the longer it will take to treat.
For example, someone suffering from the common cold or food poisoning should only need treatment for a week or two, whereas someone who has had psoriasis for 20 years may need treatment for 6 months or more.
Diseases such as Hepatitis C, Parkinson's, or rheumatoid arthritis, for example, may require treatment, at a low dose, on-going.
Are animal products used in this practice?
Some animal products are used as medicines in this clinic, however they can be substituted for plant products should you not wish to use them.
Are endangered species used in this practice?
Some endangered species are used. In most cases they are plant materials. They are brought to Australia via strict CITES (Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species) export (Chinese Government) and import (Australian Government) permits. Such permits ensure they are from an artificially propagated or farmed source, and are not wild collected.