Chinese medicine views the patient as a complete being not as a group of different parts. For this reason it is necessary to obtain a complete picture of how all the body’s systems are working and what problems have occurred in the past. The first step in gathering this information is the health questionnaire. You can find this questionnaire here to download, fill out and send back via email before your first visit. You should also bring with you all the records of the medical tests you have at hand for the last year and all those related to your reason for coming to the clinic.
In the initial visit we will go over your questionnaire and all the other information you may have. There will also be other questions some of which you may have never been asked by a medical doctor before. For example: Do you run cold or hot? What is the quality of your sleep?
Chinese medicine is a tradition that has existed uninterrupted for more than 2000 years and until about 50 years ago, western medical testing was not available to the practitioners of this medicine. For this reason, over thousands of years, Chinese medicine practitioners have developed other ways of finding out what is going on inside the body.
Besides questioning the patient about their symptoms, the main ways of doing this are feeling the pulse, looking at the tongue and palpating different parts of the body. In the pulse we aren’t just counting the heart rate but feeling for strength and texture in 18 different locations and depths. In the body of the tongue we consider the thickness and texture of the tongue coat, the color and shape of the tongue body and the sublingual veins. Finally by palpating the abdomen and limbs we can feel changes in the internal organs and changes in the energy meridians, which are present throughout the body.
Using all this information a preliminary diagnosis is arrived at about the basic situation that is causing the problem which you want to treat. In Chinese medicine this is called the “pattern of the disease”. In Chinese medicine one western pathology can be caused by a variety of different patterns, each relating to different disharmonies in the organs of the body. This means that when two patients come into our office with the same western diagnosis, they may receive completely different treatments because each one suffers from a different type of Chinese medicine pattern. By treating this underlying pattern of pathology which we call the “root” of the disharmony we resolve the “branch” or symptoms which are bothering you. For example, if two patients have late ovulation and long cycles, one may have the Chinese pattern of blood stagnation and would be treated with herbs and acupuncture points to move blood while the other may suffer from yang deficiency creating cold in the lower abdomen and need warming herbs and points. They may also be prescribed different nutritional guidelines according to these patterns.
According to your Chinese medical diagnosis, you will receive acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs to specifically treat your individual pattern. For the acupuncture you will be asked to lie down on a comfortable treatment table. Acupuncture is a relatively painless procedure. Occasionally you can feel a slight prick when the filaments are inserted. The sensation is nothing like that of an injection because the filaments we use in acupuncture are made to slide in-between the body’s tissues while injection needles are made to make a hole to put liquid in or remove liquid. Once the filaments are placed and you feel comfortable, the lights will be turned down and relaxing music will be put on. Most people feel a deep sense of relaxation and often fall asleep during the approximately 25-30 minutes of the treatment.
If warranted, Chinese herbs will be prescribed after your visit. The herbal pharmacy will contact you regarding payment and delivery of your herbs. Here you can find a FAQ explaining the herbs and how to take them.