Chinese doctors spend a lot of time in interviewing patients to find out their full medical history, diet and lifestyle. By feeling their pulse, observing their general appearance and expression, listening to their voice and smelling their breath, the doctor will form an initial opinion on where the problem is.
Once the diagnosis is made, Chinese doctors will use both internal and external treatments to help patients to recover. Internal and external treatments always go hand in hand, regardless of the type of ailment. Only small or minor cases will use one type of treatment. It is because internal treatments are for changing the internal body conditions using nutritional approach and external treatments are for fast and effective corrections of qi and energy flow, clearing blockages and to correct any structural misalignments.
Chinese medicine believes most diseases progress from initial stage with obvious surface symptoms or external conformation to internal conformation with bigger problems. If problems can be treated at the initial stage with dispersing drugs, the progression can be stopped. But when surface symptoms and interior symptoms are both present, the disease should have gone internal and become chronic in nature and is more difficult to treat. The treatment then has to work on dispersing internal symptoms first. When the internal problem is fixed, the surface symptoms will disappear automatically.
Initially, doctors will find out the basic constitution of the patient to see whether he/she has a strong or weak, yin or yang constitution.
The second step is to correlate his/her constitution with the specific symptoms to identify the conformation of the sickness. The various conformations are yang (hot and feverish) or yin (cold and weak) conformation, surface or internal conformation, and deficient or excessive conformation.
After establishing the above, treatment will start with herbal remedies first to address the immediate imbalances and to control harsh symptoms. Usually, herbs of opposing nature will be used. When the problem is contained, food therapy will follow to use balancing nutrition to heal the decease parts. Read more about food therapy on the following page.
Herbs are being classified as yin or yang, hot or cold, tonic or purgative, dry or damp, ascending or descending, accumulating or dispersing and neutral, etc. Most foods are being classified in the same way.
Yin herbs are cooling, calm hyperactivity, relieve inflammation and lower feverish temperature.
Yang herbs provide a warming effect and treat chill conformation, warm the body and stimulate metabolism.
Hot /warm herbs are to treat cold symptoms such as cold extremities.
Cold/cool herbs are for controlling fever, profuse perspiration and constipation.
Tonic herbs are for nourishing and strengthening people with weak constitution in order to increase resistance to fight diseases.
Purgative herbs expel foreign or accumulated wastes from internal organs and are used on people with strong constitution.
Dry herbs expel excess fluids from the body.
Damp or moistening herbs increase the vital fluids necessary for lubricating the whole body system.
Ascending herbs control symptoms with too strong descending effects such as too much urine, diarrhea, blood in stools, excessive menstrual flow and lack of perspiration.
Descending herbs control symptoms such as coughing, vomiting blood, abnormal perspiration and constipation.
Accumulating herbs control the too strong dispersing symptoms and exert an inward effect.
Dispersing herbs ease congestion and stagnation, exert energy outward.
External treatments include tai-chi, chi-gong, acupuncture, moxibustion, suction cups, massage (tui-na) therapy, acupressure, skin-scraping, blood-letting, ointments, exercises and meditation.
TCM treatments are best for:
Chronic symptoms such as dizziness, lack of energy, heart palpation, insomnia, constipation, diarrhoea and profuse sweating which western medicine cannot find the causes and offer little effective treatment.
Problems such as flu and hepatitis, using herbal detoxification can be effective and safe without over using antibiotic which has created the super bug problem. Antibiotic killing the good and the bad bacteria in our gut is also the cause to other serious health problems including autism.
The approach in TCM in not just treating the symptoms but in improving the overall health of vital organs such as the spleen, liver and kidney and in promoting blood and qi have been proven to be most effective in curing women's problems.
TCM focuses on nutritional balancing and digestive health which is highly effective in solving children’s problems due to bad diet and weaken digestive functions.
TCM in treating the whole body as a whole is more effective in preventive care, improving overall health and treating chronic conditions that come with age.
TCM treating the root of problem can solve many different symptoms at the same time. This can eliminate the need to use different drugs for different symptoms and can prevent drug over use and side effects.
For people who have allergic reaction to pharmaceutical drugs, their best alternative is to use all natural herbal medicine in TCM.
TCM has a better system of nutritional care and support with the help of superior herbs used in food therapy. It can speed up recovery, improve patient's body constitution and organ functions.
TCM is a natural health management system and is meant for every person to learn, to understand and to apply through proper diet and energy (exercise) training.
“Treating Sickness with both Medicine and Food.”
- Neijing, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine