Welcome to the acupuncturist. Let's check your pulse and tongue.

So, you’ve heard acupuncture is a good thing when it comes to restore your health, or even prevent you from getting ill when you’re healthy. You might have heard that acupuncture can treat anxiety, pain, depression, headaches, stomach issues and so on. But how does it work? And what happens when you arrive to the acupuncturist clinic?

Let me help you sort it all out. At least do my best. Because truth is, some of the “stuffs” of Chinese medicine isn’t easy to explain in “western” terms. It´s all about qi, essence, Jing, blood, deficiency, excess and stuff like that. But truth is, it´s so very logical, once you understand it. But luckily, you don’t have to understand it to get treatments. All you need to do is show up, tell all about your symptoms, answer (sometimes weird, but very much important) questions, and let the acupuncturist do a diagnosis. And part of that diagnosis is looking at your tongue, and feel your pulse. The Chinese way.

Acupuncture works

Seriously. It does. But it works when the “patient” is committed. Because Chinese medicine is not a quick fix. It´s a medicine with no side effects that you’ll get from pills. (Don´t get me wrong, sometimes pills are needed, but that’s another blog post). You need to commit to your own health, and show up for treatments, and I promise you, acupuncture can do wonder for your health.

Let me check your pulse and tongue

So, what’s the deal with checking your tongue. Why do you have to stick your tongue out to your acupuncturist?

Well, I will explain that. But first, in this first blog post which will be a series of posts, I will explain a little of how a diagnosis works based on traditional Chinese medicine.

Welcome to the acupuncturist

In traditional Chinese medicine, the discipline of diagnosing a disease consists of an examination based on “the four methods of diagnosis”. This means observing the manifestations of a disease and examining the pathological conditions of the disease.

The four methods consist of inspection, to observe systemic and regional changes in the patients vitality, colour and appearance. This part includes looking at the tongue, because the tongue shows the state of the organs. It will show signs of what’s going on in your liver, stomach, kidneys etc. Auscultation and olfaction is done to determine the pathological changes by listening and smelling. Interrogation means questions about the symptoms and signs, and other conditions related to the disease. Pulse feeling and palpation is done at the skin, epigastrium, abdomen, hand, foot and so on. These are methods meant to detect a disease and to observe its manifestations, and to find out the nature of the disease.

The human body is an organic entity. Regional pathological changes may affect the whole body. The pathological changes of the internal organs may manifest themselves on the body surface. Therefore, by making analysis of conditions collected by the above four diagnostic methods, the acupuncturist can determine the causative factors and nature of a patients disease, and determine a treatment plan.

I dunno. Does this sound logical to you?

My hope is to try explain the theory behind traditional Chinese medicine in a simple way, but still try to capture the essence of what we do as acupuncturists when we ask to check your pulse and look at your tongue.

Next post will be about the tongue, to explain a little more in detail what we look at.

Stay tuned.

And don’t forget to book your acupuncture sessions.