Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis

Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses primarily on the person, and secondarily on the illness. TCM, as a system of diagnosis and treatment, usually views your symptoms, which is the main complaint for which you seek treatment as a ‘branch’ expression of an underlying or ‘root’ imbalance. Practitioners of TCM use specific diagnostic principles and techniques to understand and ultimately treat the root imbalance in the person seeking treatment.

Once it is understood what the root imbalance is, a treatment plan is prescribed to address both the root and branch of the illness. In certain circumstances, symptoms may be so severe that at least at the outset, they must be the exclusive focus of the treatment. However, the goal of TCM is to treat both the root and branch in the same session. Often the Practitioner will make lifestyle suggestions in addition to an acupuncture treatment. These lifestyle suggestions aim to treat the root imbalance which is the underlying cause of illness.

Most of our patients are very well informed about their disorders, at least in terms of Western medicine. They understand all patients with the same diagnosis will receive the same treatment. However, this is where TCM often diverges from Western medicine. Different root imbalances can produce the same symptoms or patient complaints. So, for example, five patients with infertility, or even more specifically endometriosis, may all present themselves with the same symptoms or Western medical diagnosis. However, by Chinese medical diagnosis, the patients may be found to have five distinct root imbalances resulting in the same symptomatic expression. According to TCM, these five patients would all receive very different acupuncture or herbal medicine treatments, despite the fact that the symptoms for which they seek treatment all appear to be the same.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes that there can be different underlying reasons for the same disease or manifestation of overt symptoms, and that for successful resolution of health issues, it is fundamentally crucial to determine the underlying cause of the disease before treating the patient.  Only then can an appropriate treatment plan be determined and carried out so that any given patient can regain their health.