TCM diagnosis

Initial interview and observation, pulse and tongue diagnosis


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the diagnosis is based on dialogue, observation and differentiated pulse and tongue analysis. These measures provide precise indications about the path taken by the flow of energy inside the body.

In conventional medicine, the diagnosis focuses on disorders or diseases of individual organs or areas. Traditional Chinese Medicine adopts a holistic perspective. This includes all the dimensions that affect a person’s state of health: the physical condition as well as the mental and emotional well-being or the social environment.

Discussion and observation

Dialogue is an important component of the diagnosis. The TCM Chan therapist builds up a profile of the patient’s health, as well as asking questions about their disposition and previous history.

Sleeping, dietary and work habits are also discussed, as well as questions of personal relations. Observations such as the patient’s appearance or behaviour also provide further highly instructive pointers.

Pulse diagnosis

For pulse diagnosis, Traditional Chinese Medicine defines three sites on the left and right wrist at which the therapist feels the pulse at various depths. Traditional Chinese Medicine identifies 28 criteria for pulse analysis. These include pulse symptoms such as “tight”, “slippery”, “weak”, “forceful”, “slow”, “skipping” or “deep”.

Tongue diagnosis

Tongue diagnosis analyses the surface condition of the tongue, its size, its colour, any cracks, elevations or tooth impressions on the body of the tongue, as well as its coating. From this, conclusions can be drawn about the activity of the organs and any functional disorders.

Together, the indicators obtained from the discussion, observations and analyses provide a differentiated picture of the person and the distribution of energy in their body.

The diagnosis reveals where the energy flow Qi is hindered or blocked, or which function circles are affected. At this point, the therapist starts to decide on the appropriate treatment methods.

Previous history plays an important part in the TCM diagnosis. Bring any doctor’s reports and X-ray films along with you to the initial meeting, as well as details about the medicines you are taking.

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