Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a form of healthcare widely practiced around the world. Particularly in Asia, the number of TCM and complementary medicine hospitals are rapidly growing. Australia was amongst the first to recognise TCM as a form of medicine, and is one of the world’s leaders in its research. In Australia, TCM has been established for over 150 years and there are over 10 million acupuncture visits annually. Visitors most commonly seek out TCM to treat bodily pains, migraines, gastro, colds, anxiety, insomnia or gynaecological symptoms [3]. Acupuncture and herbal medicines are also particularly suited for children or during pregnancy when side effects from medications are most undesirable.

The study dates back over two thousand years from when the first known texts were known to exist and have been compiled in 220BCE. Historically, when only plants, food and minerals were available as remedies; TCM was recorded to be one of the first and most widely accepted medical systems. This health modality has been timeless due to its focus on promoting holistic self-healing, and its tailored approach to an individual’s unique constitution. The basics are easy to understand, and its metaphorical language was designed in a way most people could grasp and apply through affordable means.

Treatment is aimed towards both prevention and education. Also, towards both the roots and the branches of disease. TCM is well equipped to treat or complement treatments for almost all conditions especially common ailments, chronic pains, and symptoms where the cause is hard to identify or categorise. The fundamentals of TCM have influenced modern ideas of health and diagnoses. Its integration into hospitals has been increasingly researched and adopted to improve healthcare worldwide.

Observing nature, which is core to TCM, is the window to understanding life and the interdependencies of human biology. Our bodies tell a story and reflect our lives. Learning to listen to and read the body is an essential life skill. Analysing the habits and manner in which one conducts their life over the years will give much insight into their health. Observing an individual’s complexion, tongue and pulse, is enough to reveal multiple factors about their state of wellbeing.

Many seek diagnoses for a pain or problem that has not yet progressed into disease. Often the circumstances do not fit into any conventional categories and results in no treatment or generalised medication. Symptoms or pains can often be early signs; and if left untreated, some symptoms can often progress into disease or injury. Conventional medications such as painkillers, often hide symptoms but can lack the means to solve the root of the issue. This is where TCM thrives, influencing daily lifestyles also in efforts to minimise use of medications.

According to TCM fundamentals, these symptoms and indications most often appear in patterns. Over millennia, TCM has categorised the patterns and utilises them as diagnostic tools to guide treatments to the root of the problem, thus minimising reoccurrences.

As an avid follower of classics, Thomas Edison once stated, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet and the cause and prevention of disease.”

How does acupuncture work?

In Australia, TCM and Health science are studied together as a double degree. With modern technology, the empirical based therapies can be analysed and understood using science and terminology we are adapted to.

How does acupuncture work?

  • Classically it was understood as the balancing of the energetic pathways to promote self-healing in the body and mind. There is a focus on channels and meridians being the energetic pathways that can stimulate a change in physiology.
  • Currently combining MRI technology with acupuncture, we can monitor the effects of acupuncture on the central nervous system when acupuncture points are stimulated as opposed to a non-acupuncture point being stimulated. It is evident, acupuncture causes cascades of reactions via neurotransmitters, hormones, and regions of our brain to promote homeostatic physiology. There is a vast volume of evidence supporting acupuncture has point specific modulatory effects [1][3][4][5]. The physical existence and efficacy in treating disease of acupuncture points is currently widely researched by reviewing data from clinical trials, MRI, physiological, hemodynamic, histological, and electroconductivity research showing the modulatory effects acupuncture has on biochemistry and activation/inactivation of parts of the central nervous system [1][4][5][6][7].

To try TCM book with Remedial Massage Therapist and TCM practitioner Jacky Chan


  1. Huang, WJ., Pach, D., Napadow, V., Park, K., Long XY., Neumann, J., … Witt, C.M. (2012).Characterizing acupuncture stimuli using brain imaging with fRMRI – A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. 7(4). doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0032960.
  2. Sykes, K. (2013). The Science of Acupuncture. In BBC, Explore integrative medicine. London. United Kingdom: BBC.
  3. Liu, B., Chen, J., Wang, J., Liu, X., Duan, X., Shang, X., Long, Y., Chen, Z., Li, X., Huang, Y., & He, Y. (2012). Altered Small-World Efficiency of Brain Functional Networks in Acupuncture at ST36: A Functional MRI Study. PLoS ONE, 7(6), e39342.
  4. Wang, W. (2006). Study of acupuncture point Liv 3 with functional MRI. Chinese Journal of Radiology, 40(1), 29–35.
  5. Xue CC., Zhang, AL., Yang, AW., Zhang, CS., Story, DF. (2009). Recent developments of acupuncture in Australia and the way forward.Chinese Medicine. 4:7. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-4-7
  6. Yang, J., Zeng, F., Feng, Y., Fang, L., Qin, W., Liu, X., Song, W., Xie, H., Chen, J., & Liang, F. (2012). A PET-CT study on the specificity of acupoints through acupuncture treatment in migraine patients. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12(1).
  7. Zhong, C., Bai, L., Dai, R., Xue, T., Wang, H., Feng, Y., Liu, Z., You, Y., Chen, S., & Tian, J. (2011). Modulatory effects of acupuncture on resting-state networks: A functional MRI study combining independent component analysis and multivariate granger causality analysis. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 35(3), 572–581.