TCM diagnosis includes two parts; they are diagnosis of disease (nspection, auscultation & olfaction, interrogation and palpation) and differentiation of syndromes.
TCM diagnosis methods
The process of diagnosis involves four major things; they are inspection, auscultation & olfaction, interrogation and palpation.
- Inspection is the process of examining physical & mental state, complexion, behavior, secretion, excretion, and tongue observation.
- Auscultation and olfaction is the process of detecting patient status by listening to their voice, respiration, coughing, and body odor.
- Interrogation is a way to interview the patient to know their family history to assess patient’s health status, major complaints, and progress of illness.
- Palpation is the most important part of TCM diagnosis; it involves pulse reading and body palpation.
They will arrive for final diagnosis using the information gathered from all the above-mentioned diagnosis.
Differentiation of syndromes is a process to decide the characteristics of disease and syndrome. This process also utilizes the result of diagnosis to arrive conclusion. Syndromes in TCM reflect the pathogenesis and pathophysiology as well as provide basis for the prevention and treatment of the disease.
Inspection is the process of examining physical & mental state, complexion, behavior, secretion, excretion, and tongue observation.
- Note the physical appearance such as hair, skin, voice, complexion (body color), etc. For example yellow colored eye indicate jaundice. Specifically, pale yellow signifies yin jaundice and dark yellow signifies yang jaundice. The treatment would be different for these two types of jaundice.
- Notify the mental states such as behavior, secretion, excretion, etc.
- Tongue observation is considering as the major diagnostic tool. Tongue is considering as the mirror of the internal environment of the body. The tongue possesses the reflection of the internal organ structure in specific locations. Even TCM doctors look into your tongue in every visit to measure the progress of health improvement. For example, the healthy tongue is pale red with a thin white coat; red tongue indicates heat syndrome; pale indicates qi or blood deficiency; purple signifies stagnation.
Auscultation and olfaction
Auscultation and olfaction is the process of detecting patient status by listening to their voice, respiration, coughing, and smell.
- Observe the respiration, whether it is normal, low or forceful. For example, feeble breathing accompanied by shortness of breath indicates xu syndromes; forceful breathing with a coarse voice indicates shi heat syndromes.
- Course coughing usually indicates shi type syndromes. A low cough with weak breathing indicates xu syndromes.
- Foul breath indicates pathogenic stomach head, indigestion, and unclean mouth; sour breath indicates food accumulated in stomach; offensive smell of secretions or excretions (stool, urine, sputum, pus. leucorrhea, etc.) indicates heat syndrome of shi type; stinking smell indicates cold syndrome of xu type.
Interview the patient to know their family history to assess patient’s health status, major complaints, and progress of illness.
You TCM doctor will hear your health explaining, ask question to know you more, and interrogate to reach specificity.
Palpation is the most important part of TCM diagnosis; it involves pulse reading and body palpation. Pulse reading assesses pulse quality in the radial arteries of both wrists. TCM identified 28 different pulse qualities with its own subtle interpretation. This helps to examine the strength and weakness of qi & blood, as well as to predict the progression of the illness. Body palpation is the feeling of the body’s meridians, temperature, and moisture, especially when pain is concern.