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Theres an old Chinese saying

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					YL W E L L B E I N G




  Traditional
  A quarter of the world’s
  population can’t be wrong.
  That’s how many people
  use Traditional Chinese
  Medicine (TCM) and, as
  Kate Johnston discovers,
  there’s no madness in this
  ancient method.


  T
         here’s an old Chinese saying
         about health: waiting for full-
         blown symptoms before treating
  an illness is like digging a well after one
  has become thirsty. Our mothers and
  their mothers before them knew that an
  ounce of prevention equals less pain
  later. Making time to give your body           been cured! To this day, Chinese doctors
  engine a fine-tune at the Chinese doctor       believe a cure is possible, if the patient     What TCM treats best
  not only keeps your wheels turning, it         is willing to look honestly at their health
                                                                                                ■ skin disorders: eczema, psoriasis
  adds power to your motor.                      from all angles. Thus a visit to a TCM
                                                 practitioner today includes a discussion       ■ immune-related disorders
  Over thousands of years, practitioners         of diet, exercise and emotional issues, as     ■ diabetes
  of TCM have developed a system based           well as acupuncture or herbal treatments.
  on our interdependence with nature to                                                         ■ liver, kidney and gall bladder
                                                                                                  conditions
  treat the symptoms and the source of a
                                                 A healthy tightrope
  problem – potentially putting themselves                                                      ■ muscular-skeletal problems:
  out of a job. In fact, in ancient times, a     TCM believes that if you are functioning in      back-ache, arthritis, fybromyalgia
  doctor didn’t get paid until the patient had   balance and harmony, your inbuilt healing        (constant pain of a non-
                                                 mechanisms are better able to fight illness.     descriptive nature)

       Did you know?                             This balance and harmony, or lack of them,     ■ headaches, migraines
                                                 is reflected in the body’s organ functions.    ■ nervous disorders, hypertension,
       If your TCM practitioner prescribes
                                                 Dr Raphael Lim says the body is like a           stress, anxiety, depression
       acupuncture but you have an
       aversion to needles, there is a           map that TCM practitioners are trained         ■ hay fever, sinusitis, colds, flu
       machine called the action potential       to read. “We believe that life force or Qi     ■ digestive problems, irritable
       stimulator. The doctor attaches           [pronounced ‘chi’] travels on pathways           bowel syndrome, constipation,
       pads to the acupuncture points,           called meridians,” he says. “Each of these       indigestion, heartburn
       turns on the machine and it
                                                 meridians is linked to a specific organ.       ■ hormonal problems, menstrual
       transfers electrical impulses, which
                                                 A blockage of Qi on a certain meridian           problems, menopause.
       do the same job as needles.
                                                 results in a dysfunction of that organ.


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                                                                                                    W E L L B E I N G YL




Chinese
Medicine
“There’s a number of ways we diagnose        “I had both Western and TCM training.
how strong or weak the Qi is in these        In China, Western medicine and TCM            Force of nature
organs. For instance, inspection of          are practised side-by-side. There’s
                                                                                           The concept of yin and yang reflects
the tongue – each part of the tongue         research showing that both together
                                                                                           a principle of nature: opposite forces
corresponds to an organ. We also take        are effective in treating acute, chronic      are, in fact, mutually dependent and
the radial pulse and check the abdomen       and life-threatening conditions, such         complementary, in that they make a
and other pressure points along the          as liver cancer. TCM can minimise the         whole. TCM applies this concept
body. There’s a whole art of pulse           harshness or side effects of medication       of ‘opposites in balance’ to the
diagnosis. In the old days a doctor didn’t   or it can increase its effectiveness.”        body, boiling it down to function:
even speak to you. You’d just put your                                                     Something is either functioning too
hand through a little door and they’d feel   Tailor made                                   much or too little, or something has
your pulse.”                                                                               too much substance or not enough
                                             Without the luxury of modern                  – too yin or too yang. Foods are
TCM also thinks in terms of principles       technology, doctors in China developed        also considered either yin or yang
of nature, such as yin and yang (see         their theories from observation. Thus,        in function.
box to the right). “We use analogies         TCM treats the patient as an individual.
with nature,” says Dr Lim. “For instance,
we describe body fluids as like rivers,      “Everyone is different,” says Dr Lim.
channels or reservoirs. And we diagnose      “One person can come in with the
in terms of wind, heat, cold, dryness and    same complaint as another, but different
dampness. That might sound poetic, but       organs will be affected. We believe
it’s not a folk medicine.                    no single treatment will work for
                                             everyone; they must be tailor-made to
                                                                                              MORE
                                             that individual, because the condition
  Be food wise                               could get worse if you give the same          Dr Raphael Lim practices TCM
                                             herb to two people with different organ       and Thought Field Therapy (TFT),
  Dr Lim says it’s not just a matter of                                                    a mind-body system which uses
                                             dysfunction.”
  finding the perfect diet and sticking                                                    acupuncture points to relieve
  to it. A good diet adapts to your          That personal touch is something the          emotional distress. His Melbourne
  condition. “Say you have a cold,”          oft-faceless Western medical system           clinic, the Mayfield Chinese
  he says. “You feel cold and if you         could work towards improving. Of              Medical Clinic, also offers
  eat refrigerated food, fruit, or                                                         Chiropractic services.
                                             course, for certain conditions, nothing
  vegetables like cucumbers, these                                                         Ph (03) 9437 7728
  foods have cold properties and will        can beat a visit to the GP or hospital. “If
  make things worse. Eating                  you’ve broken your foot, go to a Western      The Australian Acupuncture and
  warming foods, such as ginger or           doctor,” laughs Dr Lim.                       Chinese Medicine Association is
  spring onions, will warm you up.                                                         the leading national professional
                                             But rather than spending dollar after         association of acupuncture and
  And if you’ve got phlegm, eating
  dairy products or bananas and              dollar after you’ve admitted you              Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  mangoes will produce more                  are ill, or saving money by not even          practitioners. Search nationally for a
  mucus, so eat something drier, like        seeking help, consider another choice:        practitioner using their website
  pears or a little bit of chilli to dry     prevention. Sometimes spending a little       search facility.
  out the dampness.”                         saves a lot. Wasn’t that also what our        Ph 1300 725 334
                                                                                           Web www.acupuncture.org.au
                                             mothers told us? YL


YO U R L I F E S U M M E R 2 0 0 6 / 0 7                                                                                            67

				
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