When you go to see a TCM doctor, your experience may be quite different than a visit with your western medical doctor. The approach to your care involves not only your physical symptoms, but also how your physical symptoms relate to the food you are eating, the time of year, the current weather, your sleep patterns, and the list goes on. TCM doctors will take your pulse from both of your wrists, as they not only count the pulse but ‘feel’ it as well. The ‘feel’ and rate of your pulse provides information about your internal organ systems and your current state of well being. Further information is gained from looking at your tongue. Very often, ones physical symptoms will be reflected by changes in the shape, color or coating of the tongue. The system of diagnosis is not just a series of questions, but includes numerous observations encompassing touch, sound, sight and smell. After a diagnosis is established, TCM doctors have a number of treatment modalities to tailor to their patient’s needs. These include Chinese herbal medicine, Acupuncture, TCM diet therapy, Tui Na massage, cupping, electro therapy, and moxibustion.
Chinese herbology has a vast and complex history. There are approximately 4000 Chinese herbs documented and hundreds of formulas that have been developed over the centuries. From this compilation, there are roughly 400 commonly used formulae which are administered in clinical application. The formulas are usually composed of between two to twenty-four herbs.
Some herbs are wild and grow on riverbanks or mountainsides, while others are farmed. The plants are harvested and their seeds, flowers, stems and bark isolated and used in mixing the natural formula. The herbal formulae work alongside acupuncture treatments to optimize and boost the effectiveness of the treatments.