Chinese Herbal Medicine: The Treatment of Choice to Take Charge of Your Wellbeing
For as long as 4000 years, Chinese herbal medicine has used a combination of more than 3200 herbs and 300 mineral extracts in over 400 formulas to promote health and restore balance in the body. This approach is a holistic one, that is, you as a whole person will be treated. Your physical, mental, and spiritual health will be examined and an individualized treatment will be developed for you alone.
Herbal therapy is the most widely used treatment method in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Until the last century, it was the chief type of medicine around the world.
The focus of Chinese herbal medicine is to restore the body to optimal levels of function to promote health overall rather than to treat a specific disease or physical condition. Thus, it is not based on what has become the focus of Western medicine, treating the symptoms rather than underlying causes of medical conditions.
Western medicine has long been focused on seeing the body as made up of various parts, much like a machine. Each of these parts has become the focus of specialties in this type of medicine. Ideally, the specialists treating each of these parts would talk to each other, thus eventually treating the entire body. Unfortunately, this communication seldom happens. Thus, there is little consideration in Western medicine about how the various parts of the body connect and are related to each other.
Chinese medicine in general is different. It focuses on the entire body and its interrelatedness. For that reason, Chinese medicine searches for the underlying cause of any disease process and treats it. Chinese herbal medicine uses these food products to accomplish that end.
Chinese herbal medicine has been in use in the United States since the 1970s. Forty states issue licenses to Oriental medicine practitioners. There are around 50 colleges offering training in Oriental medicine in the U.S. In NJ, a separate license is required to practice and prescribe Chinese herbal medicine. An acupuncture license alone is not enough.
Why Choose Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Many people in the United States choose herbal medicine as an additional treatment along with the usual Western medicine treatment for a number of physical conditions. When conventional medical remedies have been tried and the results are not what the person wanted, adding Chinese herbal medicine can improve their health overall. Sometimes, the side effects of medical treatments are difficult for people to deal with. Chinese herbal medicine may be of help in decreasing the severity of these side effects.
Taking a medication as is the case in much Western medicine treatment typically only addresses and suppresses symptoms. The medication takes the place of what your body would typically do on its own. If you stop taking the medication, the symptoms often return, sometimes worse than before.
And taking these medications for long periods of time may actually reduce your body’s natural function of self-healing. This is done by causing reduced blood flow to parts of your body. Blood is the carrier of all self-healing chemicals (such as oxygen, nutrients, and hormones) naturally occurring in your body. Cut off the flow of blood, you also cut off the flow of self-healing chemicals.
Chinese herbal medicine along with other branches of Chinese medicine work to restore the balance or homeostasis of your body. This helps return your body’s ability to heal itself and to function at its best. Once your body is working at its highest level, you’re less likely to get sick, will recover more quickly when you do get sick, and may even be able to reduce or eliminate Western medications (at the discretion of your Western doctor, of course).
A growing number of people also choose herbal medicine because it gives them more control over their total health. It is also a cost effective treatment option. There is also a long history of plants being used for medicinal purposes with good results. A large plus for the use of Chinese herbal medicine is that it is a gentle, natural treatment option.
How Are Herbs Used As Medicine?
Chinese herbs are almost always used in combinations to maintain balance between effectiveness and safety. Different herbs will be used depending on your unique needs and the special effect of the herbs. This type of combination enhances the effectiveness of the herbs and reduces the possibility of side effects. Over 100 herbal remedies have been investigated and found to be useful according to Western scientific standards.
At Results Acupuncture, we have nearly 1000 bottles of different herbs and formulas on premises in our pharmacy. We write and prescribe individualized herbal formulas that will work best to address your personal Chinese medical pattern and disease diagnosis.
The herbs we use are in formulas and individual herbs that are manufactured in the United States at FDA registered facilities. These facilities only use the highest quality ingredients available. Then, the products are tested in independent labs to insure their purity, safety, and bioavailability.
Those formulas we prescribe that are manufactured in China are made under strict quality controls. They are also tested in U.S. labs to make sure there are no contaminants. As often as possible, we use organic ingredients. We do not purchase or prescribe herbs containing common allergens or endangered species.
What Can I Expect From Visiting A Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner?
A well-trained practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine will consider your mental condition, emotional health, and physical health. Touch is used as a diagnostic tool. An extensive medical history will be taken, including dietary information, lifestyle, and sleep patterns. Your hair, skin, and tongue will be examined as well as your general appearance. Your practitioner may listen to the way you breathe, and may even smell you.
All of this information is used to put together the correct combination of herbs needed to treat your condition and to improve your health overall. Your practitioner will then prescribe the herbs which will best help you.
Once your practitioner has decided on the proper combination of herbs, at Results Acupuncture your herbal medicine treatment is primarily provided in a highly concentrated granular form that is easy to mix with warm water and taken as a tea.
Are There Side Effects?
As with any medical procedure, there is always the possibility of side effects with Chinese herbal medicine treatments. Always check with your primary care physician and any other physicians who treat you to see whether there may be some interaction of the medications they prescribe and any of the herbs you may be given. Pregnant and nursing women should be very careful about any herbs due to the possible effects on their babies.
Also possible are allergic reactions to some of the herbs prescribed for you. A small number of the herbs used in Chinese herbal medicine may be toxic to the body. Being certain you’re only taking those herbs that are written and prescribed specifically for you by a fully-trained and licensed professional can help prevent any side-effects from happening.
It is also possible, if not common, for patients to experience a “healing crisis” as function slowly returns to the body and various causes of illness and disease are brought to the surface and expelled. Always be sure to discuss any such experience with your practitioner so they can make adjustments if necessary.
It’s important for you to choose a practitioner who has been trained in the use of herbal medicine treatment. Shifu Raymond Ahles of Results Acupuncture & Healing Arts Center is licensed and board certified. He is well trained in Chinese herbal medicine and is available for you.
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