Chinese Medical Diagnosis
Another way in which Chinese Medicine has so much to offer is that it has its own diagnostic system or interpretation of a health concern. Diagnosis is based on health history, lifestyle, symptoms, signs, tongue and pulse. A Chinese diagnosis is based on finding the pattern in the body that is causing the health concern; it is then used to determine what acupuncture, herbal treatment, and lifestyle changes will be most effective. For example, if a patient comes in suffering from insomnia, a diagnosis needs to be made to determine what is causing the insomnia. Once determined, the acupuncturist knows how to most effectively treat. In this way, Chinese Medicine supports the body in restoring its natural balance to reestablish a natural sleep cycle rather than forcing one.
A western medical diagnosis is always welcome and may be helpful. It will be kept in mind and can be used to track “progress” with test results, but acupuncture treatment will always be based according to the Chinese diagnosis. This is what Chinese Medicine has to offer as complimentary, supportive, or alternative treatment—that it can see from a different perspective and offer different treatment. This is how it can be an added bonus to conventional treatment or stand alone. It is always nice to have options, and we always have options.
The Chinese diagnosis determines whether an ailment is warm or cold, damp or dry, internal or external, or if it changes from one to the other. This simple determination tells us what will exacerbate the problem, thus burdening the body's healing power even further, and what will actually minimize the ailment, thus making it a smaller task for the body to manage. For example, if someone has abdominal pain and the practitioner determines that it is due to cold, then cold food and drink will also exacerbate the problem. Warm digestive herbs will be prescribed and it will be recommended to limit cold food. It is so common sensical that it is hard to imagine that we would not use this basic information when dealing with any health concern. The warm/cold and dry/damp literally refer to climate, food, herbs, and temperature and acupuncture treatment methods. When we start acupuncture treatment, our relationship to our environment becomes clear and obvious. We can't imagine that we did not recognize how we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually affected by our environment. We come to understand that this works both ways. Then we become even more unified with humanity, Our Mother Earth, and The Universe.
Of course, like Nature herself, Chinese Medicine is the most simple and the most complex at the same time. There is more to it than this, but this aspect is to exemplify basic responsibilities we can take in our own health maintenance. The practitioner uses organ diagnosis along with artistic intuition based on experience and spiritual practice. The experience and spiritual and meditation practice of the practitioner works as a strong foundation of support for the patients in guiding them to health and to know their true selves. Lifetimes of study and practice gains healing power, wisdom, compassion, understanding and unity for the practitioner, but never complete knowledge. We are all here working together, integrating ourselves more and more within the weave of Mother Nature.
In Chinese Medicine, diagnosis is not the name of a disease or the reading of a test result. By the same token treatment is not based on indication. Diagnosis is based on a pattern happening within the constitution of an individual. The pattern is the symptoms, signs, pulse, and life picture. The constitution is the body type of the person. Chinese diagnosis does not have disease names; rather it names the organ and matter imbalance. Acupuncture points and herbal formulas are not indicated for specific diseases or symptoms; they are formulated according to the pattern and the individual.