Diagnosis in Oriental Medicine:

There are a number of diagnostic tools used in the practice of acupuncture, this is a brief overview of some of them:

Pulse Diagnosis

The pulse is examined at three locations on each wrist, proximal, distal and adjacent to the styloid process. When palpated at a superficial level, the Yang organ specific to that location can be analysed. On deeper palpation, its Yin partner is felt. This gives a total of twelve pulses, corresponding to the twelve organs. The quality of the pulse in each organ can be deficient or excess or a number of other qualities may be observed such as slippery, wiry, deep, superficial, rapid, slow etc. All of these things provide the practitioner with valuable information about the person’s health.

Tongue Diagnosis

The tongue is divided into regions which correspond to the different organs. The appearance of the tongue body and coating give insight into the state of the various organs and of the body as a whole. For example, a swollen tooth-marked tongue is indicative of Spleen deficiency. The colour of the tongue and of the coating are very useful indicators of cold or heat in the body.

Abdominal Diagnosis,

Abdominal or “Hara” diagnosis is much more prominent in Japan than in China and is an extremely useful diagnostic tool. Like the tongue, the abdomen can be divided into regions, which, when palpated give a very useful picture of what is happening in the various meridians.

Palpation & Observation

When there is some kind of deficiency or excess in a meridian, it can often be detected as an anomaly upon palpation. Observation of things like skin tone, posture, gait, speech, mannerisms etc can also give invaluable insight into a person’s condition.

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