The Four Diagnostic Techniques
Four main diagnostic techniques will provide the critical information needed to design a Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment plan. These techniques will help your practitioner find and interpret the elemental clues that pinpoint the possible sources of disharmony underlying the physical malady or ailment that has brought you to him.
First: Some Questions.
The diagnostic process begins as a conversation. At the beginning of your visit, your practitioner will spend some time reviewing your information and getting to know you. Ranging from your eating and sleeping habits to your likes and dislikes, from your emotional and physical condition to the overall state of your health, they will ask the same kind of questions any medical doctor would ask.
Second: Careful Observation.
As your Acupuncturist reviews your health history with you they will also be observing your physical attributes and external demeanor. Body archetypes, colors, odors, tones of voice, and emotional dispositions provide telling clues that expose the underlying element governing an individual’s way of being in the world; their way of living.
Third: A Wrist Pulse Diagnosis.
The Acupuncturist will interpret pulse signals at three different positions on your right and left wrist, and at three different depth levels: the superficial skin level, a deeper mid-level between the skin and the bone and, lastly, an even deeper, down-to-the-bone level. Combined, these readings will assist in diagnosing imbalances in your various zang-fu organs and in differentiating between your observable syndromes.
In general, your left wrist exhibits yang qualities. The first pulse position delivers critical information regarding your heart and small intestine, the second your liver and gall bladder, and the third, your kidneys.
Your right wrist generally exhibits yin qualities. The first pulse position delivers critical information regarding your lungs and large intestine, the second, your spleen and stomach, and the third, your kidneys and urinary bladder.
Fourth: Tongue Inspection.
The top side of your tongue is divided into regions. The back of your tongue is associated with your kidneys, the center with your stomach and spleen, the tip with your heart. The region between the tip of your tongue and the center is associated with your lungs and large intestines, the sides of your tongue with your liver and gall bladder.
The physical features of the tongue, its color and shape, whether it is cracked or coated, whether the coating is thick, thin, or peeling, all provide clues to one’s state of health. The color of the two sublingual veins located on the underside of your tongue also provides critical data for inclusion in the diagnosis.
Combined, the four diagnostic techniques outlined above allow your practitioner to recognize dysfunctional patterns, diagnose organ-function maladies and interpret stagnant or excessive Qi and blood flow deficiencies along with their corresponding five-element and yin-yang imbalances.
Evaluation of the syndromes not only includes the cause, mechanism, location, and nature of the disease, but also the confrontation between the pathogenic factor and body resistance. The prescribed treatment will be based not only on the symptoms but the differentiation of syndromes.