Principles of TCM Diagnosis

Principles of TCM Diagnosis

(i) Observing diseases by taking the human body as a whole

When 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 methods

TCM 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 syndromes

This 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.