Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

We have an experienced acupuncturist at WHRIA, Bernice Lowe, who is dedicated to helping you understand your symptoms and managing your health and pain from a holistic Chinese medicine perspective, in conjunction with Western medical approaches. Acupuncture and herbal medicine have helped manage a wide variety of conditions including pelvic pain, dysmenorrhoea, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), peripheral neuropathies such as pudendal neuralgia, headaches and lower back pain.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a component of Eastern Medicine, one of the oldest and most established health care systems in the world. The origins can be traced back to China, where it is has been practised for over 2,000 years. Today acupuncture is a safe, effective and widely used form of allied health care that has helped many people overcome a wide range of health conditions.

Acupuncture takes a holistic and unique approach to the body’s functions and disease processes. It focuses as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment of disease, aiming to address the underlying cause of disease. Weaving seemingly unrelated symptoms together to form a unified diagnosis is particularly insightful for chronic and complex health issues.

Acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. The insertion of fine sterile needles can stimulate Qi, correct imbalances, regulate body functions and encourage its natural ability to heal. It also helps to promote relaxation and reduce pain.

What is Chinese herbal medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine is one of the great herbal systems of the world, a tradition that can be traced back over 3,000 years. It belongs to a holistic system of Chinese medicine that incorporates acupuncture, dietary therapy and exercises such as tai chi or chi gong. Chinese medicine recognises that health is more than just the absence of disease. We focus as much on the prevention of illness, as on the treatment of disease.

Because of its systematic approach and clinical effectiveness, Chinese herbal medicine has exerted a wide influence on the theory and practice of medicine in the East for centuries. It still forms a major part of healthcare provision in China and is provided in state hospitals alongside western medicine. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of herbal medicine and it is growing rapidly in popularity in the West. Many modern pharmaceuticals have been modelled on or derived from chemicals found in plants.

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What conditions can acupuncture & herbal medicine treat?

Our registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner Bernice Lowe is particularly focused on the treatment and management of complex pelvic pain, pudendal neuralgia, dysmenorrhea, promoting fertility, managing pain during and after pregnancy and digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The following conditions have been successfully treated by acupuncture, as reviewed by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Pain management

  • Pelvic pain
  • Dysmenorrhoea
  • Pain associated with pregnancy
  • Labour pain/stimulation of labour
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Neuralgias
  • Sciatica
  • Low back pain

Musculo-skeletal disorders

  • Tennis elbow
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Cervico-brachial syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches

Upper respiratory tract disorders

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Acute rhinitis
  • Acute tonsillitis

Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Acute/chronic gastritis
  • Chronic duodenal ulcer (pain)
  • Chronic colitis

Qualifications and training

In Australia, Chinese medicine practitioners are registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) and have completed full time university training in health and traditional Chinese medical sciences. University graduates hold a Bachelor of Health Science in Acupuncture, or in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What to expect on your first consultation

You should allow one hour for your initial consultation, and wear comfortable, loose clothing as often some disrobing is required.

You should bring with you any relevant X-rays, scans and medical reports, and if you would like to you can complete and bring along our acupuncture and herbal remedies form.

The initial consultation will include a thorough discussion of your medical history, a clinical examination and subsequent treatment if needed. Your physical examination involves postural assessment, observations of movement, assessing your tissues for tender points, feeling your pulse and observing your tongue.

Discussion about your specific findings, proposed care, and why you have pain or symptoms is an important part of your consultation. We will also help you identify any broader contributing factors that may be having an adverse effect on your health, such as lifestyle, diet and sleeping habits.

Treatment can involve acupuncture needling, cupping, moxibustion and herbal remedies with the aim of restoring the flow of Qi in your body, restoring function and relieving pain. For convenience and compliancy herbal medicine can be prescribed in granules, capsules, pills or tinctures.

After treatment care is tailored to your specific needs and may include lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, dietary advice, exercises and postural advice.

Do I need a referral to see a Chinese medicine practitioner?

A referral is not required and both women and men are welcome to make an appointment.

Health fund rebates are available for acupuncture but depend on your level of private healthcare cover. You should contact your health fund for more details. WHRIA has HICAPS facility, and you can claim directly via your health fund and only need to pay the gap on the day.

Helpful resources

If you’d like more information about our psychology and hypnotherapy services please browse our fact sheets on the Health Information page.

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