Chinese Medical Diagnosis


Do not be alarmed if your practitioner wants to look at your tongue, or asks you a bunch of questions about pee and poo. It’s all a part of the system of Chinese medical diagnosis developed over thousands of years to identify significant patterns of signs and symptoms that reveal much about your health — and how to improve it.

Chinese diagnosis is based on the belief that external signs and symptoms reflect the condition of the internal organs. Over thousands of years Chinese Doctors have developed a very sophisticated system of correspondences between outward signs and internal imbalances. This is not a replacement for the precision of western medical tests but can be extremely helpful in revealing a pattern of disharmony in a body, which is at the root of an ailment.

Thus your practitioner will assess your condition using the traditional “four pillars” of diagnosis. These are:


You will notice that your practitioner looks at you very carefully. He or she will examine your tongue and take note of your complexion and body type. They will pay attention to everything from the way you walk to the sparkle in your eyes looking for a pattern in order to make a diagnosis.


Traditionally in Chinese Medicine there are ten main areas of questioning. This interview is detailed and often patients are surprised by some questions. Do you catch colds easily? Do you have cold hands and feet? Do you bruise easily? Are there any foods you crave? Are you groggy in the mornings? Can you describe your stools? The answers to questions like these give your practitioner valuable information.

Hearing and Smelling

Adding to the information already gathered by visual inspection your practitioner will listen to the sound of your voice and your breathing. He or she may ask you about the odor of your excretions.


Your practitioner may feel your abdomen looking for temperature variations. He or she may press acupuncture points looking for tenderness and will take your pulse. Pulse diagnosis in Chinese Medicine is complex and takes decades to master but can give a practitioner detailed information on the state of your body’s internal organs.

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