TCM Diagnostic Principles
What are TCM Diagnostic Methods?A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor assesses a person's state of health by collecting and analyzing clinical information on the basis of diagnostic methods. TCM diagnostics is a study of the theories, methods and diagnosis techniques. Some are unique to TCM while others are similar to those used in Western medicine. Its rich substantial content is the foundation of all branches of TCM.A TCM doctor makes a diagnosis based on his sensory perceptions to gather clinical information and then analyses and interprets this data usually without resorting to any apparatus. The doctor can diagnose internal pathological (disease) changes through observation and analysis of external signs. The Chinese believe the human body is an organic whole, and all parts are connected with each other by channels and collaterals (otherwise known as meridians). The internal is related with the external, and the exterior with the interior. Pathological changes inside the human body are reflected externally as abnormalities of the complexion, emotions, appearance of the tongue, or pulse irregularities.
Principles of TCM Diagnosis
(i) Observing diseases by taking the human body as a wholeWhen viewing the human body as an organic whole to diagnose diseases, a TCM doctor bears two points in mind. Firstly, attention is paid to the interrelation and interaction between local pathological changes and maladjustments of the body. This is because local pathological changes affecting the whole body are likely to be reflected in another part. While external diseases may penetrate the interior, diseases of the organs may have external manifestations. Secondly, the doctor observes the patient in the context of his or her surroundings. When changes occur in the weather or environment, and the human body fails to adapt to these changes, pathological changes are likely to occur.
(ii) Comprehensive analysis of data gained by four diagnostic methodsTCM doctor is examining the patient's tongue and feeling his pulse.A TCM doctor adopts a variety of methods to obtain clinical information such as questioning, inspection, listening and smelling, and palpation to arrive at a diagnosis. The doctor will ask the patient about his personal and family history; and the symptoms he experiences. Inspection of the patient will allow him to check for changes in the person's vitality, complexion, physical condition and behavior. He will also look for changes in the patient's voice and odors by listening and smelling. Taking the pulse is an additional method of diagnosing a problem.
(iii) Combining diagnosis of diseases with differentiation of syndromesThis calls for the diagnosis of the names of both a disease and the syndrome. The name of a disease suggests its entire course of pathological changes whereas the name of a syndrome reflects the pathology of a disease at a certain stage. That's why TCM doctors diagnose the name of a disease, followed by the differentiation and diagnosis of syndromes, when prescribing a treatment.
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.
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