Reflections of the conference from Christiana Chau-Yang, PhD Candidate, School of Environment, Centre for Environment and Population Health. Christiana is working on research under the direction of Professor Cordia Chu in the Griffith School of Environment.

More than 200 health professionals, researchers and promoters of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) gathered for the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Annual conference from 22 – 24 May at the Adelaide Convention Centre overlooking Torrens Lake.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has come a long way since the Australian National Registration and Accreditation Scheme have accepted Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as one of the allied health professions in 2012. Since then TCM practitioners have been playing a supportive and complementary role to Western doctors in the multidisciplinary care plan. TCM is used in treatments to help people manage chronic diseases in order to improve their quality of life. Chinese medicine, however, was not traditionally used as a resource for illness management. It is the daily application of this practice that can be used to nurture everyday life and maintain one’s health, therefore TCM should not be limited to only offering treatments that support the biomedical approach. We need to explore the wealth of knowledge in TCM regarding the effects of lifestyle choices and ageing, as well as the impact of our physical and socio-cultural environments on our health. TCM has much to offer in public health because, being both an art and a science, TCM adopts an eco-centric and holistic approach – it is an experiential process, and requires individuals to actively take responsibility in their own healing process – which may contribute to a more sustainable and equitable healthcare system.

I had a very rewarding and inspiring learning experience at the conference. I appreciate the generosity of all the participants who shared their knowledge, experience and insight. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to expanding the possibilities of Chinese medicine in contemporary healthcare. I am most encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback and comments following my presentation.

Christiana Chau-Yang is a PhD candidate with an interest in integrating the biomedical model with the TCM approach in maintaining health and nurturing life. Specific interests include the ageing population, cultural competency, dietary therapy, craniosacral therapy and pastoral counselling. Christiana has multidisciplinary training – B App Sc (Built Environment); B Acu; B HlthSc (Nutrition); M SSc (Counselling); M Ed; M TCM. She has previously worked in a medical clinic in Brisbane, Australia, and conducted health promotion workshops as a public speaker in Singapore.