Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - What does the doctor do?


To start, your doctor will listen thoroughly and ask many questions. Be prepared the first consultation to take one hour or more. Two important components of the examination are the palpation of the pulse and the observation of the tongue. Both are important indicators of the nature of a systemic imbalance. Based on that diagnosis, your doctor will define a treatment strategy.


Central elements of therapy in TCM are Chinese herbs and acupuncture. In China a combination of these therapies is frequently applied. It is also common to use herbs only. Acupuncture in isolation appears being used to a lesser extent. Advice on diet, based on the individual diagnosis will be part of every treatment.

Treatment with Chinese Herbals

Chinesische HeilkräuterYour doctor will put together a prescription based on the Chinese diagnosis. Frequently, classical prescriptions will serve as guidance and are then subject to individual adaptation. The pharmacy will then compile a blend of dried herbs. At home you will brew the herbs in water for about one hour to prepare an infusion (decoction). Often, this is simply called “tea”. In China an infusion is a preferred way to take the herbs. In general, those infusions are tolerated well. However, the taste may be very strong or even unpleasant.
Alcoholic extracts are an alternative. As with the infusion the taste can be strong, but the quantity required is much less. Extracts are also easier to take while travelling. Hydrophilic (water based) concentrates are especially suitable for children, as they are alcohol free and more neutral in taste.

Treatment with Acupuncture and Other Methods

AkupunkturThe classic and most frequently recommended treatment is body acupuncture. For each treatment, the patients prepare by first undressing down to their underwear and lay down on the treatment table. Then doctor inserts the fine needles into the body at key positions, where they remain for 20 minutes.

Acupuncture is often referred to as a painless treatment without any side effects. The risk of severe side effects is, in fact, extremely low. Acupuncture is, however, by no means a treatment whithout sensation. Just the opposite, your doctor´s management of the needles will trigger the De–Qi–Feeling, or “needle–feeling”, which signals in TCM, the arrival of Qi. Patients often describe this sensation as soreness, numbness, heaviness or distension arround the point. This feeling assures the doctor that the acupuncture point has been located correctly.

Moxibustion - the warming of acupuncture points or skin areas, cupping and electric stimulation via acupuncture needles are additional methods. In cases of acute pain, they can promote quick relief.

In every single case, nutrition recommendations that follow the principles of Chinese dietary medicine will be part of your treatment.