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The diagnostic process of Chinese medicine involves four areas, known as the Four Examinations. These are:

Observation of the patient's complexion, eyes, tongue, nails, gait (overall physical appearance), openness, and emotional demeanor.

Palpation, or touching the body to determine temperature, moisture, pain or sensitivity, and the taking of the pulse. The chinese method of pulse taking involves placing three fingers on each wrist to measure a total of 12 pulses, each associated with a corresponding meridian. Fourteen different pulse characteristics (slow, rapid, full, empty, etc.) are compared with each of the 12 pulses, and are used to determine which organ is not working properly.

Listening and Smelling, the focus being on the sound of the voice and breathing, as well as any odors associated with the body, or breath.

Questioning for information on present and past complaints including appetite, digestion, bowel movement, bladder, sweat, pain, patterns of sleep, family health history, work, living habits, physical environment, and emotional life.

Treatments aim to adjust and restore the Yin/Yang balance, and may incorporate one or more therapies, including:

View our selection of proven Chinese Medicinals

Other related topics:

Yin and yang

Vital substances

Five elements


Causes of disharmony


Back to Traditional Chinese Medicine Basics



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