By Marie Hopkinson, Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner (Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs) – If ‘Better Health’ is one of your goals in 2019, then you might be interested to learn about how the system of Functional Chinese medicine (CM) works and how it can help you.
While most patients initially seek help because of a particular health problem, Chinese medicine practitioners can also help you with increasing your overall health.
The Health benefits of preventative treatment
Preventative treatment – that is going for treatment when there isn’t anything specifically wrong with you – can be a tough one justify. However, when one is able to quantify its personal value, many patients who started out using CM for a particular health problem end up staying on a maintenance health plan because they are aware of the benefits that are specific and individual to them.
Some ways of quantifying the value of preventative treatment can be easy and simple to do.
One easy way is to keep brief health journal. This can be done in the notes on your phone, or health apps, or in a simple paper notebook. By rating on a scale of 1 – 10 each day, or week as needed changes in what CM considers the basics of health – sleep, appetite /diet, mental health /energy etc, patients often see incremental changes. Looking back in retrospect, improvements in general aspects of health like bowel movements, weight, mood, energy, motivation or specific symptoms that might have been of concern to you in the past. Especially symptoms that might flare up in a stressful situation (eg headaches, muscle tightness, sleep issues) can be compared in severity with similar life situations when there has been no treatment. Your practitioner may be able to help you do this reflective activity without the use of a journal.
Preventative treatment, particularly for people in high stress jobs or life situations, can be of benefit in helping to cope with stress. The benefits of seeing a CM practitioner extend beyond taking the actual medicine, and the acupuncture treatment itself, to the health benefits of being able to talk about problems to a health professional as well. Having that regular de-stress when things are not extreme, as a pressure release along the way, rather than waiting until there are more serious signs of your body being affected by stress is a healthier way of dealing with life as a high-performer.
Some patients feel an increased ability to cope with stress / difficult situations when they are maintain their constitutional pulse-based herbal medicine formula. The style of functional Chinese medicine is specialised in its ability to support function regardless of the severity of symptoms, and even when symptoms have gone away patients often feel better continuing their herbs.
Using herbal formulas to support your bodies function may help withstand difficulties of life that might normally cause people to have poor sleep, food cravings, muscle pain /tightness, headaches or things like skin breakouts. This is going to be very different for each individual patients, but this is one way patients /practitioners are able to quantify the benefits of health promotion / preventative treatment.
One final thought about the benefits of prevention to improve health is that we often don’t know how bad we were feeling until we start feeling good. If you’ve ever undertaken a serious exercise program, diet program or quit smoking /drinking, or made any significant changes to your routine you often come out the other side saying “I wish I did this earlier” or “If I had known how good it would feel, I wouldn’t have put it off for so long”. The health benefits of acupuncture particularly for mental health and stress relief are well utilised by high performers for this reason.
Sometimes there are issues we face that are not quantifiable by other medicine systems. Through pulse-based herbal medicine we can address symptoms that are bothering you without it needing to be a big deal, helping to restore better function of your body. When our mind and body are free of stagnation, you are able to get the best out of your body when you need it the most.
How often do I need to come in for prevention?
If you are a new patient to Marie, you would normally need to be seen weekly or fortnightly for the first 2 – 3 sessions. Depending on changes in symptoms, usually about 3-6 months patients are often onto a maintenance type plan where they can be seen for acupuncture every 6 weeks (or as needed) as long as they are staying on the herbal formula, which can often be repeated with consultations every 6 weeks or so. This is a very broad and general time frame. Marie takes the individual nature of each patients care very seriously, so your treatment plan will be specific to your own needs and discussed with you at your initial consultation.
Marie Hopkinson is a registered Acupuncturist and Classical Chinese Herbalist, who has three degrees, including a Masters of International Health(Curtin) and a is a Diplomate of Cannonical Chinese Medicine, studying pulse based herbal medicine with Dr Arnaud Versluys. Marie is highly committed to onging learning, traveling interstate up to three times a year to complete advanced pulse taking training and bring you the best possible commitment to practice in Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. Marie is also a lecturer in CM. Marie welcomes new patients. If you are ready to book now, please allow one-hour for your initial consultation, and call 9328 9233 or book Here (INSERT LINK) / paste below whatever.
If you are unsure of how /if Marie can help in your individual situation please call the clinic and request a phone pre-consultation call with Marie that Marie will do at no charge.
This article is written by Marie Hopkinson, the Chinese Herbalist & Acupuncturist at Perth Natural Medical Clinic, and is the personal views of the author, not necessarily the views of the practice entirety. This information is provided in public interest of keeping people as healthy as possible. Common sense should always be applied. Too much of anything can be hazardous to health. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis by a health practitioner. If you have a health condition, you should check with your health care practitioner before using any health advice or foods as medicine treatments, if you are in any way unsure about the suitability of the food agents, herbs or recipes contained in this article for your body. In a medical emergency always contact emergency services, call 000 in Australia.
Chinese medicine organs and some words are capitalized to indicate they are different to the biomedical understanding of the organ. In Chinese medicine each organ represents the system of function according to ancient principals of understanding, including the channel system, philosophical, mental and physical functions. The traditional understanding of Chinese medicine organs is actually a functional system which often encompasses many now biomedically defined aspects such as lymphatic and endocrine (hormone) functions that are attributed to that organ (system). A lower case letter of an organ will indicate it’s reference to the biomedical organ. EG Kidney (refers to the Kidney functions of CM) and kidney (refers to the biomedical/physical kidney).
© Marie Hopkinson 2019 Reproduction permissible only with express permission of author.