How does Chinese medicine diagnose diseases?

How does Chinese medicine diagnose diseases?

Chinese medicine diagnosis is extremely unique and differs from other forms of medicine. It encompasses observational diagnosis, scent diagnosis, verbal probing diagnosis and pulse diagnosis. Chinese medicinal physicians extract information through these four methods of diagnosis, utilising the principles of Chinese medicine to analyse the root of clinical symptoms of diseases.

Observational diagnosis

Observational diagnosis is one of the effective ways to diagnose. Observational diagnosis consists of: observing the spirit, colour, body form; observing the tongue, facial, five senses and skin; observe what is eliminated from the body or metabolites (some of which is not easily detected, can be obtained through the aid of the patients) etc.

Because Chinese medicine believes the internal and external environment of the human body has direct correlation with one another, internal disease, can be clinically expressed externally, therefore through certain abnormal changes in the external human body, one can analyse and postulate the internal disease changes in the corresponding internal organs.

Some diagnosis examples

  1. Some people has nails with uneven surfaces, white spots changing colours eventuate into changing shapes, nails being brittle and not strong, this is commonly reminded as insufficient liver blood volume. Also exhibit symptoms of lethargy and poor sleep etc;
  2. People who has purple coloured tongue, surrounding mouth or lips which is greenish-purple in colour, should be cautiously reminded of poor blood circulation of the heart, commonly is stagnated blood within the heart meridians, many people will have chest discomfort, symptoms of back pain or numb-pain of the last finger, especially exhibited during sleep. If this is left unobserved during the early onset of these symptoms and left untreated, long term resulting in possible heart strokes/clots.
  3. Surrounding black eye circles or swelling, most commonly related to deficiency of the energy of the kidneys/spleen, (because black is indicative of kidney colour whilst the surrounding skin around the eyes is controlled by the spleen), together with symptoms of lethargy, waist/hip pain, swelling of the lower calves, heavy extremities, abdominal bloatedness etc;
  4. Some people has yellow coloured urine, murky and unclear, this is commonly indicative of urinary bladder having damp-heat as a consequence, if left untreated, urinary bladder’s pressure will decrease, resulting in high incidence of contracting difficulty in micturition (urinating), even some will relapse and not fully recover;
  5. For those discharging large blood clots during their monthly periods, which are big and dark in colour, commonly you have waist/lower abdominal or stagnation of blood within the liver/kidneys, if the blood clots are not dispelled resulting in menstrual pain, frontal migraines, full and tender breasts, easily frustrated, insomnia etc, if one can early eliminate the blood clots, can drastically prevent uterine endometriosis or onset of uterine fibroids, and prevent future conception problems.

The above examples are through observing the surface conditions to help analyse the conditions of the internal organs and its disease symptoms. Experienced Chinese medicinal practitioners can see many disease symptoms through observational diagnosis, help with diagnosing accuracy and raise the curative rate. Within our numerous articles, a common reminder to all: targeting the external body to uncover traits of abnormality resulting in rapid discovery of diseases, one should seek urgent medical attention.

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Dr Ping Wang is the clinic founder and senior practitioner of Ping Ming Health. She has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine teaching and practice. Dr Ping especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chinese medicine through our popular clinic articles, seminars and clinical training of students and practitioners.