You’d be amazed at what a simple tongue diagnosis can tell a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine about your health. But checking your tongue is one of several non-invasive techniques we use to make a diagnosis.Here’s an outline of the methods we use to diagnose health problems.
A tongue diagnosis is part of a larger category if diagnostic techniques known as observation. Observation, as the name suggests, involves your doctor making a visual assessment of your wellbeing.Of particular interest are your:
“You want to smell me?” I can almost hear you cry. The good news is that we’re not going to get up close and sniff you! But certain conditions do give rise to particular smells.
For instance bed breath often indicates excess heat in the stomach. If other diagnostics methods confirm this, then we mat prescribe traditional Chinese herbal therapy to balance the yin and yang in your stomach.
We’re also very interesting in the sound of your voice and the way you’re breathing. If you have a cold for instance, your doctor can tell wether you have a dry cold or a wet cold by the way you breathe and cough.
Feeling the pulse is one of a series of diagnostic techniques known as palpation. Don’t be scared of the technical word though – palpation just means examining by touch.Taking your pulse in Traditional Chinese Medicine is a bit different than in western medicine. For starters we take your pulse on both wrists using three fingers at a time. And if you pay close attention, you’ll notice the subtle changes in pressure being applied.
Each of the six areas on your wrist that we palpate correspond to a major organ in your body: heart, liver and left kidney on the left wrist; lung spleen and right kidney on the right wrist. Feeling your pulse at each of these points helps us understand how the corresponding organs are functioning.
Also according to traditional Chinese pulse diagnosis theory, your pulse has certain defining properties. These are:
Your pulse can be normal or abnormal in relation to each of these properties. So for instance, the speed of your pulse could be normal or abnormal. If it’s abnormal it could be slow or rapid.It’s the nature of these abnormalities that gives us an insight into the state of your health.
I won’t try to explain all the possible abnormalities and what they indicate, because you’d be reading for the next three if I did. But just to give you a couple of examples:
If you’re sick, your pulse will more often than not exhibit a combination of abnormalities. And that’s where the clinical experience of your doctor becomes important… because the more pulses your doctor has taken, the more he or she can apply the subtle art of pulse diagnosis to your individual circumstances.
Not surprisingly, your doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine wants to know what’s wrong with you, in your words. Some of the most important information relates to…
So while the tongue diagnosis is perhaps the best known of all the diagnoses in Traditional Chinese Medicine, you can see that its just one of many techniques we use to assess your state of health.
One of the great things about the processes I’ve outlined here is the fact that it can take a well-trained doctor a matter of minutes to diagnose your condition and suggest a treatment plan. So you can be on your way to renewed health before you know it.