Documentary maker of The Healing Hunter, Hannah Sweeney, on Chinese Medicine

 The Healing Hunter, Hannah Sweeney 

Writes about the how Chinese medicine aims to bring the body into balance so it can self heal. Findings from her most recent YouTube series on Chinese Medicine, which will be released in November.

Join the Hunt

I am the Healing Hunter. I try out healing techniques and alternative health practices and I film the experience. My latest series was a practise everyone has heard of, but one I didn’t really know that much about: Chinese Medicine.  

An oldie but a goodie:

I was really impressed with history of traditional Chinese medicine. Between 3000 -6000 years of this ancient knowledge still being practised in China and around the world today says a lot. Yes, it is helpful if your country invented paper and begun recording written word early on so that traditions were maintained. However, it has stood the test of time, and I wanted to find out why. 

More than a doctor’s appointment

The consultation is much more than telling the doctor about your symptoms. It is a full-blown interview. Questions ranging from: Do you generally feel hot or cold? At what time of day you feel these temperatures? Does it change throughout the day or when you sleep? If you have pain, the pain is questioned: What type of pain? Heavy pain? Moving pain? Pressing pain? Grabbing pain? Dull pain? Does the pain change? Of feel better or worse at certain times of day/ month/year. Your emotions, environment, all bodily fluids and functions, diet, water consumption and stress levels all are analysed, included and questioned until understood.

Stick out your tongue

We then explore the physical clues, leading with the tongue. At this point in the consultation the doctor looks at and even takes photos of your tongue. The important tongue is the only organ inside the body which can be seen outside the body. The tongue reading is taken very seriously as an indicator of your internal health. Mine was cracked, ever-so-slightly bloated and slightly yellow: indicating some slight kidney trouble. Now for a pulse reading. It turns out there are up to 26 different pulse types. Including floating pulse, hollow pulse, hidden pulse and my personal favourite: (coincidently it was also my diagnosis)the ‘slippery’ pulse. 

Doctor or detective?

With all of the consultation information the Chinese medicine doctor manages to bring in all of the seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces together and points everything back to a fundamental root cause. This cause is on scale of: hot, medium hot, damp, medium cold and cold. It reflects your personal constitution and summarises where you are out of balance and how every symptom is an indicator of this finding. I was pronounced ‘damp’. 

Could I please book in for acupuncture…well that depends. 

When it comes to treatments I thought you could book in any Chinese medicine treatment as you would a massage e.g ‘I would like a round of cupping, followed by some acupuncture and I’ll finish it off with a Tunia massage’. Interestingly this is not the Chinese Medicine way. Your treatments are given to you based on your ‘constitution’ diagnosis. For example: If you are too ‘hot’, you will not be getting moxibustion (a burning herb held close to the body). Your needs and your constitution determine your recommended treatment techniques.

Why such ceremony around Tea?

Tea is such a healthy drinking habit. Imagine the health benefits of having rounds of tea at the pub instead of pints? Tea drinking is a social event, it takes time and allows for long conversation with family and friends. There are 3 main categories of tea: green, oolong and black, all teas are one of these. Certain times of day are recommended for drinking different categories of teas. The type of tea you are recommended to drink is as individual as you. Every person within a Chinese household would have their own recommended tea to drink based on their constitution. It is social, personal and very beneficial.  

Our personal part of the whole

My favourite thing about Chinese medicine is the joining between the personal and universal. Treatments, herbal medicine and even tea are recommended based solely on your body. However, the universe, world, your environment, the work you do, stress you have, mental, physical and emotional parts of you are all respectfully taken into consideration to try to fully understand all of you. All with the aim of helping the body to gently bring itself back into perfect balance and wholeness. It is smart to use so many clues from the body and to acknowledge our place in the whole. 

Making this series was fascinating, fun, and warmed my soul…which was exactly the doctors orders to shift me out of my slightly ‘damp’ state. 

Documentary maker The Healing Hunter, Hannah Sweeney, looks at complementary and alternative medicine practices and alternative healing modalities around the UK. The last three series have looked at different healing therapies predominantly on women’s health with leading wellbeing practitioners, such as ‘closing the bones’ ceremony, integral abdominal healing, systematic kinesiology and Yoga Therapy with Samantha Trinder founder of Bhuti, Richmond Hill. Her most recent series on Traditional Chinese Medicine with Professor Song Ke from Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine can be found on her YouTube Channel

More information can be found on The Healing Hunter website