On Sunday 10 February, we welcomed the 2013 Chinese New Year; the year of the black water snake. Festivities are enjoyed for fifteen days, where families decorate their houses with red coloured paper and banners with messages of happiness, wealth and longevity.

The Chinese believe that how you start a new year will set a precedent for the rest of the year. It’s traditional to pay up all debts before this time, and to clean the family home thoroughly, so as to clear out bad fortune and make room for good luck. Many try to maintain a cheery attitude in the hope that the mood will stick for the next twelve months.

It’s the perfect time to consider your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; to “lock in” good health and harmony for the year ahead. One effective way to do this is with traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

There are over a thousand natural herbs used in this ancient practice, which are used in a combination specially formulated for each patient. Every formula is based on the individual’s “pattern”—which is determined by their symptoms and the constitution of their body (weak, strong, hold, cold, young old and so on)—along with the disease diagnosis.

This tailored aspect is what sets Chinese herbal medicine apart from Western medicine, which only treats the disease as a whole. For example, in Western medicine, five different patients diagnosed with bronchitis may be given the same bronchitis medicine. Whereas in traditional Chinese herbology, the condition could be classified as one of many diseases, such as lung dry heat, lung hot phlegm, lung cold phlegm or liver attacking lung. These are treated differently, and each patient’s formula will be designed to suit that particular form of the disease, while also taking into account the individual’s symptoms and personal constitution.

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine includes plants and minerals, and there are no chemical additives involved. They are classified as food, and side effects are very rare. This again sets the practice apart from Western medicine, which is replete with chemicals designed to treat specific symptoms of an illness, instead of working to resolve the problem at its causal point. Patients report high rates of relief, and sometimes experience unexpected benefits, not even connected to the original problem.

Chinese herbs can be dispensed as a liquid, or in pill form. To try this highly beneficial and healthy, drug-free healing alternative, call Meridian Medical Centre on 03 9883 9938 or email us, and say kung hei fat choi (happy new year) to a brand new year full of health and happiness!

About Dr. Tsai

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