Chinese Herbal Medicine Collingwood
How Chinese Herbal Medicine Can Help You
While acupuncture is very well known in Canada, herbal medicine has always been the backbone of Chinese medicine. The true transformative power of the medicine in the herbs and the formulas that are built from them. Honed over thousands of years by millions of doctors on billions of patients, herbal formulas are precision tools that improve health and wellbeing by gently but powerfully shifting the body into harmony and homeostasis. When your body is in harmony, disease doesn’t arise.
Part of the brilliance of the Chinese herbal system is its seamless integration of diagnosis and treatment. The basis of this is pattern recognition; the job of the practitioner is to understand how the patient’s symptom picture fit together and from there, to choose the formulas that address these patterns.
This pattern recognition is the basis of Chinese medical diagnosis, as it’s the foundation of treatment. All the treatment – herbs, acupuncture, qi gong, diet – flows from an accurate diagnosis that identifies exactly what is happening in the patient’s body and mind.
Its often said that Chinese medicine treats the pattern and not the disease, while western medicine treats the disease. For example, for an MD, a migraine is a migraine, but for the Chinese medicine practitioner, a migraine could be caused by a number of different patterns – it could be too much heat or too much cold, or it could be from a problem with circulation. Each pattern will then lead to a different formula, so two people with migraines, for example, will often have very different formulas.
What’s a formula, you might ask? A formula is a set of herbs used together and can be a combination of anywhere from 2-20 or more herbs. On average, a formula consists of 7-8 herbs, each addressing a different aspect of the patient’s pattern. For example, nurturing and protecting digestion is central to Chinese herbal medicine, so all formulas have herbs that are good for the digestive system. From there, the herbs included really depend on what pattern is being addressed – if there’s inflammation in the stomach or lungs, then lu gen/phragmitis rhizome might be chosen. If there is a urinary tract infection, then perhaps he will use zhu ling/polyporus mushroom, which is used to clear inflammation and infection from the bladder. Or, if the person is dealing with low energy, ginseng and licorice are often used.
Its important to understand that using Chinese herbal medicine is very different than using pharmaceutical drugs. The first thing is that with herbal medicine, we always treat the whole person and are always aiming to correct the imbalances that are leading to symptoms, as opposed to just treating the sympoms, which is often the case with drugs.
Also, with herbs, there is constant evolution of your prescription as your condition changes. For example, once the inflammation in your joints has been healed, we may reduce or remove the herb that is addressing that. This goes for any symptom – once something has been healed, this shows that there has been a change in the body, and we can concentrate more on the symptoms that still remain. In this way, we can be as precise as possible in your treatment so the healing can be as complete as possible.
A brief word about safety. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine is very safe when administered by a licensed practitioner. Another potential safety issue is with contamination with heavy metals and pesticides. Chris avoids this problem by only using organic or lab-tested herbs in his practice.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what is involved in Chinese herbal medicine. It really is an amazing modality that is extremely useful to treat the chronic illnesses so common in our society. Chris regularly treats conditions such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive issues, autoimmune conditions, chronic bladder problems like intersitial cystitis and chronic infections, skin issues like eczema or acne and much, much more.
If you would like to see if Chinese herbal medicine might be right for you, please use the buttons below to either book a consult or ask any questions you may have.