Interview with a chinese medicine doctor
Jing Yang shared her rich experience in the field with our guests, starting with the consultation, symptom analysis, and treatment application as well as guidance on how to improve diet and lifestyle for long-lasting results and health betterment.
We sat down with our visiting practitioner Jing Yang to fill our curious minds about her Traditional Chinese Medicine.
How did you get into practicing Chinese Medicine?
I was motivated to learn and practice Chinese Medicine after some friends and family experienced deteriorating health and complications over a few years. I wanted to have the knowledge and skill set to be able to better care for them. Health is also an integral part of everyone’s lives, and I wanted to take on a meaningful and needed vocation.
I chose Chinese medicine specifically as it is not uncommon to see allopathic medicine being unable to successfully manage chronic conditions; even when a condition is considered 'managed', the individual still suffers symptoms and experiences a lower quality of life. Many conditions are still considered idiopathic in conventional medicine, and are thus only able to be symptomatically treated, usually with pharmaceuticals or surgery. However, both these methods are rarely free from notable side effects.
Chinese medicine seeks the root cause of a condition and aims to treat both the symptoms and the cause - which usually involves bringing back into balance certain organs or energies in the body with acupuncture and auxiliary techniques such as cupping, and herbal medicine.
What kind of factors do you look at during consultation when prescribing a treatment for guests?
Chinese medicine diagnosis draws information from all aspects of a person and their life. I assess presentations of health through observation of a person's body, face, spirit/manner and tongue.
The tongue and its coating are a representation of the conditions of certain body organs and pathogens that may be in the body - so if you are going to consult with a Chinese medicine doctor - please do not brush or scrape off your tongue coating for the consultation as it takes away one form of information :)
Additionally, pulse taking is another keystone of Chinese medicine diagnosis. There are three different pulse positions and three different pulse levels in each wrist, and over a dozen different types of pulses. In the beginning, I could only find the pulse and ascertain that a person was indeed alive. However, over time and the taking of countless pulses, one does develop a sensitivity to different pulse types.
Palpation of other body areas, including soft/connective tissue and acupuncture points/meridians also provide diagnostic information. Finally, I may inquire into any aspect of a person's presenting complaint or health/lifestyle - it may not seem immediately relevant, but in Chinese medicine, all systems are connected, and everything can influence the balance of the body's systems.
What are the main benefits for male and female clients of doing acupuncture?
The main benefits of acupuncture are not different for males/females. Everyone can benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncture's advantage is that it is a low-invasive treatment that can stimulate nerve, metabolic, and organ systems at all levels, all over the body. Its goal is to utilize/direct a person's own energies to restore balance within the body.
The needling technique, intention, and Qi or energy of the practitioner also affect this process. Acupuncture also has negligible side effects when properly administered, with the most common ones being mild-moderate muscle soreness when treating musculoskeletal complaints, and needle-retention sensation (a mild feeling of pressure where a needle has been inserted, usually only over certain acupoints that require stronger stimulation) that can last for up to a day post-treatment; and then subside and allow the treatment effects to become noticeable. Occasionally small, local bruising may occur at needle-insertion sites.
What can a guest expect after doing an acupuncture session with you? And how many sessions does a guest need to take before expecting to see results?
After a session of acupuncture with me, clients can expect to feel better as a whole (more energy or more relaxed/calm, or a smoother flow of energy throughout the body) and/or an improvement (of varying degrees) in their condition. Depending on the condition, sometimes improvement is noticed the following day or over the course of days rather than immediately post-treatment.
However, individuals respond differently to treatment, and occasionally the first treatment may not bear a noticeable effect, especially if both the front and back of the body need to be worked on. Typical sessions run for an hour; thus, a second session may be required to work on the other side of the body.
Usually, the more chronic the complaint/condition, the more treatment/time is required for improvement. Acupuncture will not magically eradicate a pain someone has had for 3 years within 1 hour.
Acute conditions can often immediately benefit and have further deterioration prevented and improved healing process. On average, clients are generally happy with the improvement they can feel after 1-2 treatments, and clients with chronic conditions often see the value of regular acupuncture after 4-5 sessions.
How does cupping down and what are the benefits of it?
Cupping traditionally uses fire to create a vacuum within specialized glass cups that are then suctioned onto areas of the body. Cups may be left stationary or slid back and forth over an area to increase Qi and blood flow to the area. It works on the more superficial tissues of the body, unlike acupuncture, which can sometimes penetrate/stimulate quite deeply within the body.
If pathogens are present within the body, cupping can also draw them to the surface in a detoxification effect where they may leave marks that resemble bruises (but are not and are not painful when touched afterwards); these marks usually resolve after 3-6 days. Without pathogens, cupping usually leaves a temporary pink-reddish mark that subsides within an hour.
What are some of the additional steps guests can take up after treatments with you?
During the consultation, I often give clients lifestyle/dietary advice that would benefit their condition. It is usually our habits/lifestyles that have created the imbalances within our bodies, and one of the best long-term solutions aside from regular treatment is to realistically adjust those habits so that they are maintainable and become our norm. I sometimes also prescribe stretches/exercises for clients, which would also be highly beneficial if they could maintain the habit of stretching for a few minutes each day.