One of the most frustrating conditions for patients I see is the mystery illness.
It seemingly comes out of the blue, possibly after an overseas trip, sometimes after a common cold and often after treatment for another illness that should have been dispatched with antibiotics or other standard drugs routinely prescribed.
The symptoms vary widely from mental and emotional anxiety, dizziness and nausea to aches and pains in the muscles and joints.
Lethargy and tiredness are always part of the picture to the point where the person needs increasing amounts of time off work.
Exercise makes things worse and, while dietary changes may make a difference in the short term, the condition invariably returns.
The remnants of an illness can linger, sometimes for months; then a series of events will precipitate the full-blown debilitating condition.
Overwork, stress, an irregular diet, emotional strain and life changes are all factors that can agitate the lingering condition and see the person struck down and unable to carry on with their normal activities.
The diagnostic tools of Chinese medicine can be used to analyse and identify these unusual conditions.
Information about appetite, bowels, urination, sleep and other general health observations will provide the clues to frame the mystery illness in terms that the Chinese medicine practitioner can use to develop a treatment strategy.
There is no easy timetable to achieve results.
The symptoms will fluctuate and with each consult the practitioner will re-evaluate the condition and adjust the treatment.
Gradually, the condition will become less intense and there will be more uptime than downtime.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners will become registered as mainstream healthcare providers in Australia on July 1, giving the public more certainty when selecting a practitioner.
After this date registered practitioners can be found at ahpra.gov.au.