The effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine is strongly dependent upon accurate diagnosis
TCM applies its own diagnostic approach which has been developed over thousands of years of practical experience. The diagnosis is approached very differently than by a conventional western method. TCM-Therapists rely on their knowledge, experience, and perception while examining the patient. The diagnosis has four principle elements:
At the interview the complaints and the medical history is gone into. That includes family and social situation, referrals, X-rays.
The tongue, complexion, body type, and movement style of the patient is examined.
The tongue diagnosis:
The tongue reveals important information for the TCM-Therapist. The observation of the tongue comprises two aspects: the body of the tongue and the coating of the tongue. The TCM-Therapist can distinguish up to thirty manifestations of conditions of the tongue and approximately fifty variations because of its coating.
The quality of your voice, your breath (inhalation/exhalation) and any other bodily noises.
Traditional Chinese Medicine distinguishes over twenty-five energy pulse qualities. The doctor measures the pulse of the patient with his index finger, middle finger and ring finger of the opposite hand. For example he places the corresponding finger of the right hand on the artery of the left wrist of the patient. The pulse is measured on both wrists, at three different locations each. In doing so the therapist measures at three levels:
- surface (light pressure)
- middle (moderate pressure)
- deep (strong pressure)
There is a strong correlation between the six measurement places and the five phases (earth, wood, fire, water, metal) as well as the 14 major meridians or energy pathways. These meridians are named after body organs, such as Heart-Meridian, Lung-Meridian or Liver-Meridian. Through the pulse diagnose the therapist discovers, in which meridian/pathway the energy is not flowing properly, or where the imbalance between the Yin energy and the Yang energy exists. Changes in energy flow, in bodily fluids, as well as in the mental disharmony can be detected this way.
Once gathered, this patient data is then structured by using one or more of the conceptual templates of TCM theory. These templates, which organize the patient’s symptoms into specific “patterns of dysfunction”, guide the practioner in defining the therapeutic approaches of acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, dietary changes and/or other traditional techniques that could be used. A combination of these TCM therapies is often used to effectively treat a patient.