An Zhen – Palpation Diagnosis
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TCM has four major methods of examination to diagnose disease and use in clinical practice: inspection, auscultation and olfaction, interrogation, pulse taking and palpation. These four diagnostic methods are called Four Diagnostic Methods.
Inspection diagnosis in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the observation of the patient by the doctor. It is the collection of data regarding the spirit seen in the eyes, the body shape and color, the body of the tongue, including fur, excretion, and secretion. The doctor can then follow this information to understand the disease and condition of the patient.
The auscultation and olfaction technique involves listening to the patient’s voice to see if it is irregular, such as too strong or too weak. Listening to the respiration determines the breathing condition and ascertains if there is bronchial wheezing, shortness of breath, dyspnea, or sighing. The auscultation diagnosis also includes listening to whether the cough is heavy or light.
Olfaction is a method to understand the meaning of a particular body scent or odor of a patient.
Interrogation is a method to question and interview the patients to understand their personal feelings and the cause behind these feelings, as well as general data, history of the disease, including changes, and healing, diet and lifestyle and so on.
Pulse diagnosis and palpation are techniques to understand the disease’s condition by taking the pulse and palpating the skin and muscle, hand and leg, chest and abdomen, meridian points, and so on.
These four diagnostic methods are special techniques used in the process of TCM diagnosis. The use of these methods cannot be separated from the diagnosis we arrive at in our clinical practice. TCM concentrates on comprehensive analysis of the data gained by the four methods of diagnosis. In clinical practice, the four diagnostic methods of inspection, auscultation and olfaction, interrogation, and pulse taking are always used in combination.