Searching for a Chinese Medicine Practitioner?
Follow These Tips
When a client moves or has family and friends in another area, we’re often asked what to look for in a good acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner. In every profession there will be a spectrum of skills, experience and approaches among practitioners, some being more suited for different people and issues than others. However, in general, there are a few things you should look for when searching for a reliable Chinese medicine practitioner.
Ensuring your practitioner is a registered Chinese medicine practitioner means they have extensive training in acupuncture techniques (beyond the limitations of dry needling) and traditional herbal medicine (beyond the use of singular herbs for symptomatic relief), and that they regularly update their knowledge each year to stay registered.
It is important that your Chinese medicine practitioner is able to explain everything to you in a way that is easy for you to understand. At Village Remedies, we always take the time to explain what to expect during and after a treatment, what and why we’re doing or suggesting, as well as outlining a treatment plan to get you back to feeling your best. During treatment, your comfort is important and so we will always tailor the treatment to your tolerance of acupuncture - we work with many people who hate needles and are able to adjust treatment accordingly. As treatments progress, we are particular about checking in with you and your symptoms to make sure that you’re improving as expected and finding value in treatment.
There’s nothing worse than having treatment with someone who doesn’t explain what they’re doing, sticks you with needles, leaves you resting uncomfortably for a while and then gives no recommendation of when to return or how many treatments may be needed to get you feeling well again. Make sure you find someone who can explain everything clearly and answer your questions.
A good Chinese medicine practitioner will look to treat you as a whole person, not just a set of symptoms. This means focusing treatment on helping your main complaint but working that into a treatment that helps support your overall healing and recovery. For example, at Village Remedies, we will still ask questions around stress, sleep and digestion when treating an injury such as chronic lower back pain. If any of these areas are negatively affected, they will impair your body’s ability to fully heal and recover from pain and injury.
So don’t be surprised if your practitioner asks questions that seem unrelated to your issue, it is them doing a good thorough job to treat you as a whole person. Having said that, you shouldn’t keep seeing someone who is saying they’re treating you “holistically” but your original issue is not actually improving.
Styles of Treatment
Chinese medicine has a long and diverse history which continues to evolve to this day. This means there are many different styles and approaches to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, some being more suited for certain people and certain conditions. As long as your practitioner ticks the above boxes, the treatment methods don’t matter as much, as long as they’re helping you get results. To give you an idea of the different methods commonly used by Chinese medicine practitioners, here are few differences in acupuncture styles and forms of Chinese herbal medicine:
Distal Acupuncture vs Local Acupuncture
Most acupuncture treatment methods can be split into two main categories of distal and local acupuncture. Local acupuncture is what most people will expect when they come in for treatment of an injury, where a practitioner will needle in and around the painful or injured area. While effective in some cases, traditionally, acupuncture was rarely performed at the site of pain, instead, distal points (i.e. distant to the affected area) were selected to stimulate a healing response in the desired area. When used correctly the effects are immediate and reduce the risk of aggravating an already irritated area. At Village Remedies, we use distal acupuncture primarily.
Chinese Herbal Formulas
Traditionally formulas were tailored specifically for you and your condition, composed of various raw ingredients (mostly plant) that you would then have to decoct over the stove and drink several times daily. While this method is still used today and considered the most potent form of consuming herbal medicine, it is quite inconvenient and difficult to adhere to for most of us.
The next best form are herbs in “granule” form, which is where the herbs have already been decocted, then processed into powder so that all you have to add is hot water. These granule forms still allow your Chinese herbal medicine practitioner to tailor the formula specifically for you and your needs. At Village Remedies, we use granule herbs primarily.
The other common forms are pills and capsules. While the most accessible, they are the least potent form and cannot be modified to suit your specific needs. However, there are many premade formulas that can be used effectively in many cases.
If you are in Sydney and are looking for a reliable Chinese medicine practitioner, please contact us or book online - our whole team is AHPRA registered and maintains a high standard of care.