TCM Diagnostic Method - Listening & Smelling
Diagnostic Methods Used in the TCM ExaminationThere are four examination methods: Questioning/history taking, inspection, auscultation (listening) & olfaction (smelling), and palpation. The four methods have their unique clinical functions and cannot be replaced by one another. Sometimes, false manifestations of a disease occur which emphasize the importance of integrating all diagnostic methods.
III. Listening and Smelling
ListeningAuscultation is a diagnostic method whereby the doctor listens to the patient's speech, respiration, cough, and special sounds like vomit, hiccough etc. Healthy sounds are natural, balanced and smooth, which reflect harmony in organs and sufficient qi (vital energy) and blood. In general if the sound is rough and sonorous and its form is strong, then it is a excess (shi) type; it the sound is low and weak and the breath is timorous then it is a deficiency (xu) type.
SmellingThe smelling examination includes abnormal odors emitted from the patient's body, excretions and secretions. Foul or rotten odor usually indicates heat syndromes of excess (shi) type while fishy odor indicates cold syndromes of deficiency (xu) type. For example, thick sputum with a foul smell indicates heat in the lungs while dilute, clear and odorless sputum indicates cold in the lungs. Foul breath indicates heat in the stomach or food retention.
Disclaimer:All the material presented in this article is for informational purposes only and should not take the place of a consultation from a trained medical professional.