Herbs, acupuncture, cupping – what’s TCM all about?

Although it has been around for over 2500 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has only recently been embraced by Western cultures. Boasting a range of benefits that promote holistic mind-body-spirit wellness, TCM has become the go-to antidote for today’s busy, stressed-out pace – with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian jumping on board the TCM train. 
To find out a little more about the secrets behind this ancient healing modality, we sat down with Zhiyong Lu, TCM practitioner and owner of Westpoint Chinese Medicine Clinic

Q. What should a patient expect at their first appointment?
Questions! A lot of questions about your current concerns and any symptoms you might be experiencing. We’ll then take your pulse and check your tongue, and make a preliminary diagnosis based on fundamental theories of Chinese medicine. Then we move on to treatment plans, which vary greatly depending on a patient’s condition and how long they have suffered the condition.

Q. What is the philosophy underlying Chinese medicine? And can you explain ‘Qi’?
The philosophy behind Chinese medicine is simple but complicated. The natural balance of yin and yang in the body reflects the yin and yang in the universe. Once a person’s body’s yin and yang balance is broken, they will feel unwell. It might be pain, cold, hot or even depression.  
Qi has two broad meanings. One is the energy that surrounds us; the other is the energy that is within us. It is not random although it cannot be seen. It follows certain pathways through the body; we call these meridians and collaterals.  

Q. How does acupuncture work? 

Acupuncture corrects the flow of qi through the body by signalling certain points along meridians and collaterals.  A patient doesn’t even have to believe in the philosophy behind it; they just have to pay attention to the improvements. 

Q. Why do you think acupuncture has become more common in the West? 
Acupuncture became world famous after an American delegation visited China in 1972. Since then, a lot of studies have shown its efficacy and many health professionals in the Western world are using it in their daily practice. For example, dry needling is form of acupuncture. I think one of the major reasons for its popularity is the lack of side effects. 

Q. Is TCM the standard treatment in China? 
In China, Chinese medicine belongs to the public health system and is the first line of defence for people’s health. Each suburb has its own Chinese medicine hospital. The larger hospitals usually combine Chinese and Western treatments.  

Q. What other TCM treatments should we know about?
Common treatments include Tui Na, a Chinese style of remedial massage. Then there’s cupping and Gua Sha (scraping). Diet manipulation and Qi Gong (a type of holistic movement) are also commonly used to assist acupuncture and herbal treatments. 

If you want to test Zhiyong Lu’s claim that TCM can offer side effect-free treatment of many common health problems, drop into the Westpoint Chinese Medicine Clinic, Level 3, near Blacktown Healthcare.