Many patients who come to see a doctor of Chinese Medicine will likely also be seeing a General Practitioner (GP). Two different professionals, two different medical systems, two sets of advice – which is the right advice to follow?
For those that wish to know more about the difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biomedicine, you can read an in-depth explanation here.
Generally speaking, it is perfectly safe to undertake a course of acupuncture or herbal medicine in conjunction with any medication you may be taking from the GP. The rule of thumb is that you must always inform your acupuncturist or herbalist about any medical condition you afflicted by.
For example an acupuncturist needs to know if you are on blood thinners as this can cause excessive bruising/bleeding when needling occurs. All herbal medicine should be taken with a two hour gap left before or after biomedicine. Your herbalist should also know the drug herb interaction that can occur between more common drugs, this is a mandatory set of knowledge for anyone who is fully registered.
Most importantly, if you are on long term medication such as blood pressure pills – never quit or reduce the dosage without speaking to your GP. Your Chinese Medicine Practitioner should never advise you to quit as this is not their field of expertise. They may make recommendations however this needs to be taken up with your GP before any actions are taken.
Always remember that every medical professional has their own set of skills. Much like only an acupuncturist should needle or a chiropractor should adjust – do not take advice from a medical professional unless it is specifically about their field of training and as always, ensure your practitioner (of any kind) is fully registered.