What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine originated thousands of years ago as a holistic system of medicine that treats the whole person and not a disease or injury in isolation. It is based on the philosophy that people have a system of energy that should always be in balance, both internally and with the world around them. When energy flows freely through the body, health is maintained and the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. If the energy becomes blocked or stagnated then illness, disease or pain may occur. In traditional Chinese Medicine, this energy is known as “qi” or life force. This energy flows along pathways near the surface of the skin and each pathway corresponds to a particular organ in the body. These pathways are known as meridians.

Traditional Chinese Medicine includes a range of therapies which seek to balance the body and enable energy to flow freely. The most popular two therapies are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Chinese herbal medicine

Chinese herbal medicine originated more than 5,000 years ago. It came from simple beginnings, where people tried and tested different plants and preparations to discover if they would improve their health.   This knowledge was passed from generation to generation. It was around 3,000 years ago when herbal medicine preparations started to be documented.


Acupuncture was also developed through trial and error. Originally, stones and animal bones were used to tap different points of the body to help pain. The theory showed that over time, people learnt that tapping different points on the body could improve different health conditions. Through the course of history, Chinese doctors discovered that these points linked up to form energy pathways or meridians and tapping or scraping along these pathways would unblock energy and improve health conditions. Today, very fine needles are inserted on specific points (acupoints) to manipulate the energy flow.

What type of conditions can Traditional Chinese Medicine treat?

The theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic approach to maintaining good health and focusses on a wide range of health conditions which acute and chronic.

Many clinical trials have been undertaken to show the effectiveness of acupuncture.  Most commonly studies have shown that acupuncture may assist in the management of pain, nausea, and fatigue.

Please contact Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre to discuss if acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine may be able to assist you.

How does a Chinese Medicine practitioner diagnose a patient’s health condition?

A traditional Chinese medicine practitioner takes a holistic approach and diagnosis involves finding out as much possible about the health of the patient’s body and their underlying issues. A Chinese Medicine doctor uses four methods to make a diagnosis including: asking about symptoms and medical history; observing the body including posture, complexion, speech and breathing; feeling the patient’s pulse; and inspecting the patient’s tongue.

Inspecting a patient’s tongue and feeling their pulse, may seem quite a different method of diagnosis compared with how Western Medicine doctors diagnose patients, but both are very important ways for the Chinese Medicine practitioner to learn more about the state of the patient’s health.

Inspecting the tongue

During a consultation, the Chinese Medicine practitioner will ask to look at the patient’s tongue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the condition of the tongue is closely related to the condition of the body, internal organs and meridians.   A lot of information can be obtained from identifying the colour, shape and coating on the tongue. For example, the colour of the tongue is closely related to qi and circulation of blood; the dryness of the tongue can indicate quality and distribution of body fluids. These are important for determining the health of the patient and if they have disease, how far it has progressed.

Examining the pulse

As part of a Chinese Medicine consultation, the practitioner will use their fingers to feel the patient’s pulse on both wrists. The practitioner will feel for the strength, speed and tightness of the pulse which in Traditional Chinese Medicine will tell a lot about the health of the patient’s organs, qi and blood

Does acupuncture hurt?

The needles that are used for acupuncture are very thin so most patients find there is minimal sensation and do not experience pain. It is possible forpatients to experience some feeling as part of their acupuncture session such as tingling, heavy limbs or numbness, which subside when the needles are removed.   These sensations are generally positive and mean that the acupuncture is working well.

At Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre, patients generally receive acupuncture lying down. Often patients become very relaxed and may even fall asleep during the session.

Is acupuncture safe and are there any side affects?

Acupuncture is generally considered to be safe, especially if undertaken by a highly trained practitioner. Occasionally, (as with all health treatments) in individual cases there may be possible adverse reactions such as: bruising at the site where the needle was inserted.

It is very important before beginning acupuncture that patients ensure their acupuncturist is aware of their current health condition and if they are taking any prescription medicine as these can impact on how well acupuncture goes.

At Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre, acupuncture needles are disposable and are used once. The clinic follows strict safety and hygiene practices. Chinese Medicine practitioners at the Yi Xin Chinese Medical Clinic are PhD qualified and have had extensive training and experience in China and Australia. If you are currently taking a prescription medicine and are unsure if acupuncture will be ok for you, you can speak with the Doctor of Chinese medicine at Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre.

How many acupuncture sessions are required?

The number of acupuncture sessions required depends on whether the patient has an acute or chronic condition. Most acute conditions may require 2 to 5 sessions.   For chronic conditions, the outcome depends on the extent of the problem, the body’s condition and the length of time the patient has had the condition. Most people start to feel some change after 2 to 5 sessions. Often the longer the patient has had the condition, the more sessions are required. Your acupuncturist at Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre can discuss this with you.

Depending on your health condition, your practitioner may recommend visiting the clinic 1 -3 times per week.

How should I prepare for a treatment at Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre?

There are a number of things you can do prior to your appointment:


New patients: When visiting the clinic for the first time, new patients should make a list of their current symptoms so that these can be discussed with the Chinese medicine practitioners. Please also bring a list of any medications and supplements; as well as any relevant scans or tests.


All patients: On the day of their treatment, patients should not:

– brush their tongue

– eat any food that could discolour your tongue

– do intense exercise prior

It is also important to have eaten on the day of the consultation but a heavy meal should not be eaten within an hour prior to visiting the clinic.

How long are the appointments at Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre?

A visit to the Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre clinic will generally take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your treatment plan. For your first visit, you will require an initial consultation so that a diagnosis can be made and your treatment plan developed. This will generally last 15 to 30 minutes.

The length of time taken for each different therapy varies. The following session times are a guide:

  • acupuncture – 10 minutes to 1 hour
  • cupping – 5 to 15 minutes
  • moxibustion – 10 to 15 minutes
  • scraping – 5 to 15 minutes
  • Chinese remedial massage – 5 to 30 minutes
  • follow-up consultation – 10 to 20 minutes

Is the cost of treatment covered by health insurance?

Services provided by Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre are claimable with many health care funds. Some health funds provide cover for acupuncture, remedial massage and Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is best to check with your health fund to see your treatment will be covered.

What if I don’t like needles can I still receive treatment?

If you are concerned about acupuncture, there are other traditional Chinese medicine therapies that don’t involve the use of needles. For example Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre offers acupressure, cupping and Chinese herbal medicine.


If you would like to talk more about acupuncture needles, please contact Yi Xin Chinese Medical Centre.  Acupuncture needles are not like regular needles that are used for an injection or blood test. They are very fine, more like the thickness of your hair. Many people are surprised about how thin acupuncture needles are. Acupuncture needles can be used on babies and children, adults and the elderly alike. If you are nervous, it is best to talk with your acupuncturist. If you decide to proceed, they can make sure needles are only used on areas of your body where you feel comfortable.