Escondido Acupuncture Center
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"The Four Pillars”
The four diagnostic methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine are Looking, Hearing/Smelling, Asking and Palpation.
Visual observation of the body, face, ears, eyes, tongue and skin is the first step in identifying an abnormal pattern or imbalance.
Observation of the tongue, in particular, is an important step in Chinese Medical diagnosis. The tongue qualities are shape, size, color, texture, moisture, coating, and movement. Certain areas of the tongue correspond to certain organs and areas of the body. The tip of the tongue relates to the Heart, the sides are related to the Liver, the back of the tongue corresponds to the lower body.
The ear is a miniature health report of the entire body. It records every illness with small discolorations, bumps, creases and tiny veins.
The presence of certain sounds, vocal qualities, and smells correspond to specific organ systems and may indicate an imbalance. For example, a shouting and angry voice may indicate a Liver disharmony, inappropriate laughter may indicate a Heart imbalance, or whining and complaining voice may indicate a Kidney imbalance.
A careful and complete history is essential to understand each individual patient’s unique response to physical and emotional stresses during their lifetime. In addition to asking for your medical and surgical history, allergies, medications, etc., the acupuncturist inquires about lifestyle habits, diet, fluid intake, exercise, energy level, sleep, menstrual history (women), emotional responses, and family and community relationships.
Pain related problems are also carefully investigated, importantly onset, duration, location, what aggravates the pain and what relieves it.
Palpation includes pulse diagnosis, abdominal palpation, acupuncture channel and point palpation.
Pulse diagnosis is different in Chinese Medicine than in Western Medicine. The pulse is palpated in 3 positions and 3 depths on both wrists. In addition to rate and rhythm, which Western medicine assesses, there are 26 other pulse qualities. Some of the qualities include thin, slippery, wiry, deep, superficial, choppy, weak, hidden, long and short. These qualities are clinically significant findings to aid the acupuncturist in identifying the disease pattern.