The diagnosis process in Traditional Chinese Medicine is not just about the simple grouping of the displayed symptoms. It is also about the treatment strategy that automatically accompanies the diagnosis since there are standard formulas for the symptom patterns.
In order to diagnose a patient in Chinese medicine, a practitioner gets the information needed through inquiry and observation. There are four basic categories of diagnostic observation used in the practice. These are sight, sound and smell, questions, and touch. These four areas of investigation are usually sufficient for traditional practitioners to accurately assess the imbalances found in the body.
An important concept in the diagnosis in Chinese medicine is that the indicators should always be taken holistically. Meaning, everything relates to the wellbeing and state of the person. For example, fatigue can indicate blood deficiency or wind cold.
A TCM practitioner would consider that symptom in relation with other indicators. If the patient's pulse is strong, it could mean that the condition dealt with is wind cold. On the other hand, a weak pulse indicates a blood deficiency. Thus, it is vital to remember that the signs or symptoms of the patient must be related to everything else that the patient feels or demonstrates.
Sight in Chinese medicine diagnosis is particularly important. By examining the face, especially the tongue, and the body, the practitioner can see the signs and symptoms that point to the illness. As for the use of sound and smell, the practitioner listens to the sounds that come from the patient and tries to identify any unusual smells.
Touch is also a critical aspect in the diagnosis process in Chinese medicine. It is used to find out the area where pain is experienced and to read the patient’s pulse. For instance, if the body feels hot when it is touched, it means that there is a problem with the balance of temperature. On the other hand, if the body feels cold then there is an issue with dampness. Tumors that feel like they have defined borders are usually thought of as an indication of the stagnation of blood while soft masses are from phlegm.