Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

An ancient Healing System

Traditional Chinese Medicine is an integrated system of primary health care that has an uninterrupted history of use and development in China and other parts of East Asia dating back over five thousand years. The aim of this holistic model is to harmonize the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the individual. Therefore emotional aspects of any illness are addressed concurrently with the physical aspects.

The TCM health care system covers a range of therapeutic interventions, including acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbal Medicine, diet/lifestyle advice and preventative health care. The most popular forms of TCM health care used in Australia are Acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbal Medicine. Other TCM therapeutic interventions, such as TCM remedial massage and Qigong are gaining in popularity.

In addition to providing effective treatment for a wide range of chronic and acute health disorders, in fact there are few conditions that traditional Chinese medicine cannot be used for, TCM may also be used to maintain normal body function and assist with disease prevention. This system of health care, in which treatments are tailored to your individual health condition, developed from the philosophy that restoring balance and normal functioning will both treat ailments and prevent other illnesses from developing.

A modern profession

In Australia, AACMA TCM practitioners are qualified primary contact health care professionals. Most practitioners operate in Private practice, however there are increasing numbers working from community health centres or in academic and/or clinical esearch.

Qualified practitioners are educated in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, diagnosis and assessment as well as ie Western bio-medical sciences. Clinical decision-making end patient management strategies are also influenced by contemporary Western approaches to health care, such as infection control practices and the known interactions of herbal medicines with pharmaceuticals or other therapeutic ubstances.

Some substances that were once part of traditional TCM usage, such herbs that are now on the endangered species list, are no loger used in contemporary professional TCM practice.

Safe and effective therapies

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a coherent and substantial body of knowledge developed over thousands of years of clinical practice and intellectual endeavour. Clinical and laboratory research adds to this traditional knowledge. Qualified practitioners draw on these traditional and modern sources to arrive at individually tailored treatments.

Qualified AACMA practitioners are accredited to use one or more of the following TCM therapeutic interventions:

  • Acupuncture;
  • Chinese herbal medicine;

In addition to practitioners whose primarily focus is on the above TCM modalities, many qualified AACMA TCM practitioners also use food therapy, nutritional supplements, lifestyle advice and exercise therapy as an adjunct to their TCM treatments.

Philosophy for health

According to TCM theory, when healthy, an abundant supply of qi (pronounced chee) or “life energy” flows unimpeded through the body’s meridians. The meridians are a network of energy channels that flow through the body in well- mapped pathways.

If the flow of qi in the meridians becomes blocked or there is an inadequate supply of qi, then the body fails to maintain normal function, and disease or illness follows.

TCM practitioners look carefully for the signs of health and dysfunction, paying particular attention to not only the presenting illness or condition, but also the medical history, general constitution, the pulse and tongue, and a range of other indicators.

Clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment principles are based on the theoretical frameworks of TCM, identifying the underlying symptom patterns that indicate how the body is or has become dysfunctional.

Wholistic health care

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes an wholistic approach to understanding disease processes and focuses as much on prevention of illness as on the treatment of health conditions. Treatment targets not just the presenting signs and symptoms it looks at underlying condition, other health problems and the general state of health and well-being.

Most diseases or illnesses present with a core set of recognisable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of a particular disease or illness will vary from person to person. For this reason, people with similar health conditions may be provided with quite different TCM treatments.

A qualified AACMA practitioner is able to prescribe a TCM treatment that specifically matches and treats your individual health problem, using the therapeutic modalities in which they specialise. As your condition changes and improves with treatment, the TCM treatment is also adjusted and modified until the desired health outcome is achieved.

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd

The Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) is the leading national professional association of acupuncture and Chinese medicine practitioners. AACMA represents the national benchmark standard in Traditional Chinese Medicine education and practice which must be met before accreditation and membership can be obtained.

AACMA members are bound to a high standard of ethical and professional conduct through adherence to our national practitioner accreditation standards, continuing professional education requirements, Code of Ethics and standards of practice.

AACMA practitioner members are accredited with the Australian Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Accreditation Board Ltd, established by AACMA in 2003 with the support of the Commonwealth Complementary Therapies Funding Program.

How AACMA members can help you

Accredited membership of AACMA represents:

  • excellence in health care practice from qualified professionals;
  • high standards of ethical and professional conduct;
  • safe and competent Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment from the Traditional Chinese Medicine experts.

(Reprinted with kind permission of the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association)