Chinese medicine is a sophisticated and powerful medical system that has evolved in East Asia over several thousand years. It combines a detailed and holistic approach to diagnosis with a broad spectrum of therapeutic interventions. These include acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage (Tuina) and lifestyle advice to treat disease and to restore and maintain good health and wellbeing.
Written records of this medical system stretch back over 2,000 years but these practices are even older and almost certainly originate in the earliest stages of human development. Chinese medicine has been refined over centuries of clinical practice. More recently it has been tested and validated by increasingly rigorous in vitro and in vivo research. In China it is commonly used in over 3,000 hospitals and investigated by over a hundred research institutes. In the past 40-50 years Chinese medicine has become established in the West and is widely practised in Europe, the US and Australia.
The combination of traditional knowledge, and its application and scrutiny in a modern care setting, is one of the great strengths of this system of medicine.
Over 400 plants are used in Chinese herbal medicine and although this includes commonly known herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, mint and goji berry, we prescribe many others that are less well known in the UK.
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Benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine offers a comprehensive range of treatments for many ailments. In the West it has built a reputation for the treatment of conditions including:
• Skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
• Respiratory tract disorders such as acute cough and asthma
• Genito-urinary conditions including acute and recurrent urinary tract infections
• Allergic and auto-immune conditions such as Hay Fever and Graves disease
• Digestive diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD, and ulcerative colitis
• Gynaecological disorders such as infertility, endometriosis and Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome
• Mental and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression
• Supportive treatment for people living with cancer.
However the potential of CHM extends much further than this and in China most Western medical departments are matched by their CHM equivalents.
What does taking Chinese Herbal Medicine involve?
In our practice, we offer Chinese herbal medicines as dried whole herbs or as granulated or powdered extracts.
Our herbs are usually prescribed to be taken orally on a daily basis. Dried whole herbs are normally prescribed where a stronger clinical effect is needed such as in acute conditions or for dermatological conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. For chronic conditions such as symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, granulated or powdered extracts are frequently given which are mixed with hot water and taken as a herbal tea.
For some patients or problems, we prescribe Chinese herbs for external use. This includes for children where ingestion of herbal medicines could prove difficult to manage, or for pain problems such as period pain, sports injuries or inflammatory arthritis where external poultices or bath soaks are indicated.
Who can use Chinese Herbal Medicine?
We have clinical experience in prescribing Chinese herbal medicine for many conditions listed on the RCHM website and have particular success in:
• Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome including irregular or absent periods, excessive hair growth and acne
• Other gynaecological conditions such as painful periods, endometriosis, male and female subfertility
• Dermatological conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and urticaria
• Respiratory illnesses such as frequent coughs and colds, bronchitis, allergic or perennial rhinitis
• Gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation
• Musculoskeletal conditions such as sports injuries, frozen shoulder and arthritis We will never discourage essential medical treatment for conditions where your GP or consultant needs to be consulted.
As with all our treatments, your safety is of utmost importance to us. As a (currently student) registered practitioner of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM),
I prescribe authenticated Chinese herbal medicines that have been quality-assured by using only RCHM-approved suppliers. These suppliers must fulfil rigorous criteria following a thorough investigation by independent auditors and which includes demonstrating that herbal medicines are manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. These are important safeguards for ensuring safety standards are met and to ensure that our patients receive the best quality herbs available.
How does Chinese Herbal Medicine relate to acupuncture?
CHM and acupuncture both originate from the traditions of East Asian medicines. Much of the modern system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a diagnostic and therapeutic framework that particularly suits CHM.
We can consider CHM and acupuncture as a kind of Yin-Yang pairing. Acupuncture excels at moving Qi and restoring its harmonious flow through the channel system, whilst CHM works at a more material level to strengthen deficiencies in the body and to expel the pathogenic factors that lead to disease.
In my experience using herbs and acupuncture together allows us to significantly extend the range and the potency of treatment. Giving a patient herbal medicine to take on a daily basis allows for a regular intervention that reinforces and consolidates the benefits of treatment, enables substantial changes to be made, and a lasting restoration of good health.
CHM provides an active treatment every day - something that is not practical or affordable using acupuncture alone.
“I am a long distance runner and have had hamstring issues on and off for several years. I went to see Jenny on recommendation for a Tuina massage. After a Postural Assessment and a subsequent massage I was delighted to find that my legs felt completely different on my next marathon. It lasted for about a month so I returned.
This time I had Acupuncture which after only 1 session completely took away the pain. That was 3 months ago. I would definitely recommend Jenny for her professionalism, expertise and care. I really enjoyed my treatment and indeed will be returning for maintenance massage when I need it.”
“My lower back has progressively got worse since my second child. Nothing seemed to work despite 2 weekly Chiropractor sessions for a year, drugs and various other professionals. After my first session of Acupuncture with Jenny, the pain lessened considerably – 2 more sessions and it’s gone!
Jenny has a way about her – she made me feel completely at ease and I knew she understood my pain and my situation. I felt safe. I was confident from the first session that she could help me. I now also have a regular Tuina massage with Jenny to keep my back supple and pain free. Tuina is amazing – I wish I had found this style of massage years ago!”