When visiting a TCM doctor for the first time, there will usually be an in-depth question asking period. In asking questions, we are looking at things such as body sensations (feelings of heat or cold, thirst levels, pains or discomfort), mental states and how you deal with emotional issues, sleep patterns, digestive patterns (how you feel after you eat, cravings, bowel patterns etc), environment/lifestyle situations (living conditions, work patterns etc) as well as genetics and previous health conditions.
In addition to the interview process, the practitioner will also be observing you, looking at your skin, your hair, listening to your voice as well as taking your pulse and looking at your tongue. All this information will help to identify the underlying cause of disharmony in the body. Once analyzed and a pattern or imbalance is identified, a customized treatment plan will be recommended for you.
Everybody is different and each treatment is unique. Common feelings are a deep sense of relaxation or feeling somewhat sleepy or tired. Some people find they need to clear their schedule after acupuncture, particularly if they have been overworked, and just take the day/evening to rest and relax. Others feel a surge of energy and renewed vigor. Some feel a shift in their mood and a decrease in stress. Each session will be unique according to where you are at the time – It is important to listen to your body and honour it as best you can. If you ever feel dizziness or lightheaded after you get up, it’s best to mention it to your practitioner as it does happen on occasion. Usually just taking a bit of extra time getting up and drinking some water clears it up.
If you have never had acupuncture before, you might be surprised at how relaxed you feel during and after the treatment. It is nothing like a typical needle sensation instead you may feel a slight heaviness or a dull ache around the needle. Sometimes you can feel a slight pinch when the needles are inserted or a radiating sensation but often you won’t feel much at all. Very often people fall asleep on the table and leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
TCM and acupuncture can be extremely effective for pain relief and management but, as we always seek to find the root cause of any kind of ailment, TCM can be used to treat any kind of condition or disease. It is also ideally used in a preventative way – Often the body is showing signs of minor imbalance long before anything will show up on a diagnostic test. When we are able to identify these signs and symptoms early, we can help the individual maintain a high level of health and vitality throughout life.
Unfortunately there is no set treatment protocol as each person is unique and responds differently. Generally, if you’re coming in for an acute condition, we usually say to give it 6-8 treatments before assessing although some things respond immediately. For something more chronic, remember, it took a long time to get to that point so you have to have patience when healing. Usually treatments are spaced closer together at the beginning and then spread out as you get a base improvement. If you’re coming in for prevention and well-being, treatments spaced every 4-6 weeks is ideal.
Because Chinese Medicine seeks to bring balance back to the body it can be used to help treat virtually any ailment. There are thousands of diseases out there, but only a limited number of ‘patterns’ in TCM – by identifying the underlying pattern (root cause), and working to bring the body back to a state of balance, the various disease and conditions can heal and people can recover. Sometimes this is a complete healing and other times it allows the person to strengthen their system and operate with the optimal amount of energy and health that is possible for them.
Some common conditions treated but not limit to include:
- Post-partum conditions
- Labour preparation and support
- Digestive disorders (including IBS, Colitis, Crohn’s )
- Insomnia/Sleep disorders
- Digestive imbalances
- Body aches and pains
- Menopausal symptoms
- Allergies and asthma
- PMS and irregular periods
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Absolutely! TCM can be used as a stand-alone treatment for many things but often it is recommended to use in conjunction with other therapies. Because the underlying premise of TCM is to treat the root, often what happens is the individual gets stronger and as a result, conventional therapies are more effective as well. TCM herbs, diet and acupuncture are often combined with Cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation, with IVF or other fertility treatments or in conjunction with antibiotic or other medication if that is what the individual desires.
Chinese herbs are safe but care must be taken in picking the source and manufacturer. I use only the highest quality, GMP manufacturing standard approved herbals for your safety and also because the finest quality herbs produce the best results.
More and more extended healthcare plans provide coverage for acupuncture. Contact your insurance provider to see what coverage you have and be sure to check and see if you require a referral from your doctor.
We look at the colour, shape, coating, moisture level as well as overall appearance of the tongue. This gives us an idea of what is going on internally. We also take the pulse – 6 in totally, 3 on each side. Each pulse corresponds to a different organ or system and gives us a better idea of what is going on internally as well.