One of the most common questions I get is how does traditional Chinese medicine in Jacksonville actually diagnose illness? People have a lot of misconceptions about medicine and I’ve had multiple people ask me, so do you just look at a person’s aura or have a yin-yang that somehow diagnosis disease? I don’t think people realize just how scientific Chinese medicine actually is. So in this article, I want to share with you the four key diagnostic methods that almost every Chinese medical doctor will use and what you can expect honestly in your first appointment.
Classically in Chinese medicine, there are four diagnostic skills known as Wang, Wen, Wen, and Qie.
Wang stands for observation. What observation means is we observe the complexion of the patient’s face. So complexion is obviously, what does the patient’s face look like? Is it more red like a person’s who’s very sweaty and easily gets hot or is it very pale? Are there spots anywhere? Is there a certain color like green or yellow?
The second thing we look at after complexion is the tongue. The observed the tongue’s size, color and coating. Are there any little red spots on the tongue? Are there any scalloping on the side of the tongue?
Wen pertains to smelling or listening. In smelling and listening, we not only listen to the patient’s words, the way they speak (they could be talking very loud very strong or very weak). Those things are actually diagnostically very important because they will indicate where the state of the patient’s health is. So if you have this stereotypically big businessman who is suffering from acid reflux or indigestion and he is talking really loud, he is likely not suffering from a deficient condition. Therefore, Wen is very useful. We listen to coughing, breathing and smells that the patient gives off.
The second Wen is inquiry, which is the classic intake form. In inquiry, we ask questions like what do you prefer? Do you prefer warm drinks or cold drinks? Do you tend to run hot or run cool? Do you like extra blankets when you sleep or the always wake up kicking them off you? Are you thirsty? Are there any issues with your urination? Is there frequency or burning? How are your bowel movements? Are they more solid or more loose? Do you feel hot or cold? How is your periods or menses? Is there bleeding or spotting, pain?
These are all important questions we use to figure out very important diagnostic criteria in regard to how Chinese medicine diagnoses illness and disease.
Qie refers to palpation. The most famous Qie is pulse diagnosis and channel palpation. In pulse diagnosis, the physician is actually feeling three areas of the radial artery. We’re feeling not only the strength, depth and the width of the pulse, we’re also feeling each individual position of the pulse.
The first position is known as the cun, the second is the guan and the third is the chi. Each of these positions correlates to certain organs in the person’s body. So at the end of this large intake, we are given all of these diverse data and we have to put this into a concrete diagnosis altogether and then we do our pattern differentiation and our differential diagnosis as well.
All of these are very important in Chinese medicine. This is much more concrete than, “do we diagnose through aura, or do we use yin-yang diagnose an illness?” To the last question, technically yes since we want to know if the patient is hot or cold or is he more deficient or more excess. All of these are very important information in Chinese medicine.