What is Chinese medicine?

Chinese medicine is a holistic form of medicine originating approximately 3000 years ago in China.   Chinese medicine is used to prevent and treat illness, as well as to maintain health and to improve quality of life. Chinese medicine may be used as a stand-alone therapeutic approach or as part of a broader health-care team. Chinese Medicine includes the disciplines of acupuncture & moxibustion (Zhen jiu), Chinese herbal medicine (Zhong Caoyao), food therapy (Shiliao) , exercise therapy (Tai qi & Qi gong) and massage therapy (Anmo Tuina).

A Chinese medicine diagnosis is based on identifying a pattern of disharmony in the body following detailed questioning and examination of the patient. The use of tongue diagnosis and pulse diagnosis play a significant role in a Chinese medicine diagnosis, especially when considering the prescription of herbal medicines.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been adopted throughout the world. Acupuncture arrived in Korea and Japan in the 6th century and to the West in the 17th century. Chinese medicine has been established in Australia since the 1850’s, and has risen in popularity since the 1970’s with training courses at bachelor and master degree available in Australian government funded universities and government accredited private colleges.

The terms Oriental medicine and East Asian medicine are preferred by some practitioners. These terms indicate practices based on the broader geographic region of East Asia rather than being country specific.

Acupuncture is the most common form of Chinese medicine practiced in Australia. Fees for a consultation with a registered Acupuncture or Chinese Medicine practitioner are covered by private health insurers, and most workers compensation schemes cover treatment provided by a registered acupuncturist. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are regulated by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (one of the 14 health boards under the umbrella of AHPRA – Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority.  The minimum standard for registration is a four year bachelor’s degree, or a graduate entry master’s degree.