The way that a TCM practitioner views the diagnosis of disease varies greatly from that of a western physician. When you go to your doctor's office, he/she may take your blood pressure, temperature, and do a general examination of your body. A TCM practitioner uses methods that existed prior to the existence of blood tests, blood pressure cuffs and x-rays in order to understand what is going on in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner uses alternative methods to understand your symptoms such as read your pulse, examine your tongue, and ask questions about a variety of aspects of your life that may be contributing to your complaints.
The pulse is measured in both Western medicine and Chinese medicine, but there are key differences. In Western medicine, we typically measure the heart rate, which is taken with blood pressure as part of a standard physical exam. In Chinese medicine, pulse diagnosis is a significantly more developed art form, a tool that practitioners use to assess the health of all the major organ systems of the body. In a sense, pulse diagnosis is like the “MRI” of traditional medical systems. Before modern imaging techniques, healthcare practitioners needed ways of evaluating what was happening inside the bodies of their patients. Although technology has developed significantly over time, pulse diagnosis remains a very helpful tool in assessment and diagnosis.
Traditional pulse diagnosis also assesses up to 28 different qualities of the pulse. Each of these qualities gives the practitioner information about the state of the patient’s health and well-being.
The tongue has many relationships and connections in the body, both to the meridians and the internal organs. It is therefore very useful and important during inspection for confirming TCM diagnosis. It can present strong visual indicators of a person's overall harmony or disharmony. The normal tongue in Traditional Chinese Medicine has a light red or pinkish body with a thin white coating.
As with the pulse, there are general qualities of the tongue that show how the body is doing on a macro level, and specific qualities that zoom in on particular organ systems of the body.
It is important to gather an extensive health and medical history in order to best understand the nature of your concerns. When you come for an initial treatment, We will ask questions regarding your lifestyle choices (diet and exercise), relationships, sleep patterns, digestion, aches and pains, stress, previous medical treatments and medication.