Chinese medicine is often viewed as a novel field of medicine. Naturally, people often have questions, the most common one being, “how does it work?” This question always brings to attention one of the fundamental goals of Chinese medicine, that is, to treat the root. By treating the root, the reason why there is disease or imbalance is defined.
In Chinese medicine we are looking for the root cause of the imbalance through methods that are new to the conventional perspective of diagnosis. We are accustomed to diagnosing through blood tests, MRI, CT scan, EEG, ECG, etc. In Chinese medicine tongue and pulse evaluation are the prime diagnostic methods. These diagnostic tools have been utilized and expanded over the past few thousand years of clinical practice. We look at the tongue to examine its shape, color, size, geography, edges, coat, and blood vessels underneath. We also examine the radial pulses to determine which organs and meridians need to be addressed in treatment using acupuncture, herbs, and acupressure.
There is a resonance of each organ on the pulse. There is also a resonance of the patient’s constitution, or general state of health, on the pulse. This resonance is felt by the Acupuncturist who describes it with terms like choppy, tense, slippery, inflated, soft, etc. By understanding the nature of the imbalances occurring in the body, and with respect to the patient’s health goals, the corresponding acupuncture and herbal formulas are applied to the patients’ treatment protocol.
Rebecca Rice M.S., L.Ac.
Acupuncturist at CNY Healing Arts Center, Latham, NY
Email me at email@example.com