Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) revisit

Among all the complementary medicine and traditional medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has the most number of practitioners and patients. TCM has been practiced as one of the oldest medical disciplines in the world. It has been considered as an essential part of Chinese culture and tradition.

Although modern medicine has been developed to solve many problems in medicine, TCM has proven utility, due to its proven efficacy and history of minimal adverse reactions. TCM theory is based on the balance and unity of opposites (yin and yang). Majority of the medicines are derived from all natural ingredients, mostly herbs and sometimes animal extracts.

According to TCM, poor health is the result of imbalance between interconnected organ systems, with one organ weak or the other overexcited.

TCM is considered to require considerable diagnostic skill. This often depends on the ability to observe what are described as subtle differences. There are four classic diagnostic methods that have been in use for thousands of years in TCM. These include the following:

- Observe (望 wàng),
- hear and smell (闻 wén),
- Ask about background (问 wèn) and
- Touching (切 qiè).

Observe focuses on the patient's expression particularly on face color, the tongue, including analysis of the tongue size, shape, tension, color and coating, and the absence or presence of teeth marks around the edge.

Hear and smell refer, respectively, to listening for particular sounds (such as wheezing) and attending to body odor.

Ask for background focuses on the "seven inquiries", which are: chills and fever; perspiration; appetite, thirst and taste; defecation and urination; pain; sleep; and menses and leukorrhea.

Touching includes feeling the pulse to find out its quality, power, rate and rhythm.

Data received from the above mentioned four classic diagnostic procedures helps a TCM physician to recognize the current condition and the disease history of the patient, find out the reason and parthenogenesis of his disease, know the symptom for a comprehensive analysis so as to determine to the characteristic and cause of the disease as well as some changes of the patient's condition. Based on this information, the doctors will be able to work out therapeutic remedies, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, dietary changes or other traditional techniques that could be used for the patient.


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