What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Most people will immediately think of acupuncture, massage (tuina) and perhaps even herbal medicine when they think of TCM, but it is actually a complete healing system that encompasses every aspect of health, taking into consideration not only the physical structures of the body, but also mental and spiritual aspects. TCM theory works to create balance within the body and often refers to a meridian/channel system which is used in the practice of acupuncture. This network, like the blood vessels in our body, spreading Qi (energy), blood and other bodily fluids. Doubt has been cast on this system for many years, until recently, a group of Korean scientists have finally discovered evidence of this. Other TCM modalities include exercise and breathing therapy (eg. Taichi and qigong), diet therapy, guasha (scraping) and cupping.

What does it treat?
Disease in TCM is seen as an imbalance within the body, and instead of having a name for different diseases, 'patterns of disharmony' is used instead, and these are determined by the patient's signs and symptoms. As a result, TCM is very versatile. There has been a lot of modern research devoted to uncovering what TCM can help with, and so far, TCM has shown to be effective in:

• Pain (dental, arthritic, carpel tunnel syndrome etc)
• Infertility
• Depression & Anxiety
• Improving post-operation recovery (swelling, pain, inflammation and functional recovery)
• Chemotherapy related loss of appetite and nausea

What to expect from a TCM session:
After a consultation, your therapist will recommend a combination of treatments, which will depend on your condition. Adjustments will be made based upon what you are comfortable with. For example, for a patient that has just had surgery, acupuncture will be performed to stimulate the body's immune system to help relieve pain and swelling. Herbs will also be prescribed to support the treatment and may be taken in the form of a herbal decoction, granule form or pill form, depending on preference. After swelling and inflammation subsides, sessions will also involve massage and cupping therapy. This is when carers and family members are invited to attend so that they are able to perform this at home.

Is this covered by health fund/Medicare?
Whilst TCM services are yet to be covered by Medicare, there are health fund rebates available. Please check with your private health fund to see what rebates are offered under your insurance plan.