Chinese Medicine Diagnosis

The Chinese Medicine diagnosis is a very different process to that of Western medicine. The Chinese developed an almost poetical or euphemistic way of describing anatomy and physiology.

In traditional Chinese medicine, infections were blamed not on invading bacteria or viruses, but on some sudden external evil ( the six evils ).

Besides the six evils, exterior or superficial conditions can also be caused by other factors:

  • improper diet, since food is the source of vital energy;
  • fatigue consumes vital energy (Qi) and weakens the body;
  • inactivity and too much leisure time, which slows down energy and blood circulation and leads to stagnation and dysfunction of the spleen and stomach;
  • sexual indulgence that damages reproductive energies and the kidneys;
  • trauma and accidents;
  • epidemic evils causing plagues now a rarity thanks to better public hygiene and heath care;
  • insect and animal bites.

To keep in line with the whole of Taoist thinking, the internal workings of the body were likened to phenomena seen in the natural world. Therefore, Chinese Medicine is often described in terms such as rivers, seas, fire, earth and wood. Early Chinese physicians had to depend on what they could see or feel as any sort of anatomical study or dissection was not widely practised.



"The skilful doctor knows by observation, the mediocre doctor by interrogation, the ordinary doctor by palpation."
~~ Zhang Zhangjing c. AD150-219



The Four Methods of Chinese Medicine Diagnosis

The Chinese medicine diagnosis involves Four Methods:

  • Diagnosis through looking,
  • Diagnosis through asking,
  • Diagnosis through listening and
  • Diagonsis through pulse taking and palpation.

Looking
Looking is the observation of the tongue, hands, face, nails, skin, the patient's body type, and the way the patient moves.
(...read more about Diagnosis Through Looking)

Asking
Asking is when information about the existing condition and previous medical history is acquired.
(...read more about Diagnosis Through Asking)

Listening
Listening includes listening to the response to questions, but also means taking note of the tone of voice, breathing, body sounds, etc.
(...read more about Diagnosis Through Listening)

Pulse Taking and Palpation
Palpation mainly involves taking the pulse, but may also include body palpation if appropriate.
(...read more about Diagnosis Through Pulse Taking and Palpation)

A consultation with a TCM practitioner generally follows a well-established routine, The four stages of the consultation enable the practitioner to build up a detailed diagnosis. Once the examination is complete, the practitioner will make a diagnosis, identifying the underlying syndrome, and will then prescribe herbs that the patient collects from the dispensary when leaving the clinic.




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