“The exterior reflects the interior.” This is the guiding principle in diagnosis. Classical Chinese Medicine practitioners utilize many parts of the body which are directly accessible by touch or sight. Since the balance of the whole organism is the basis of the medicine, a useful diagnosis will account for the condition of all parts (and their relationships) of the human being. This requires gathering enough information to understand the context of the person. Listening to both what is said and how it’s said are also of primary importance. The examination is thus very thorough and includes extensive use of a variety of techniques. Classical Chinese Medicine has a 5,000 year history that has allowed for the development of unique methods of reading the disharmonies in the body and looking at the energy of the meridian system. In the same way that contemporary medicine takes blood pressure and pulse, the Chinese Doctor identifies and renders treatment based on a deeper skill of observing the patient without the use of blood tests or radiology.
A. Pulse Taking
There are 3 positions on each wrist for taking the pulse. In addition to these 3 positions there are 3 depths. Together, they total 9 places with valuable diagnostic information on the strength and balance of the meridian and organ system; there are also 28 qualities of pulse. The number of possibilities allows fine distinctions in interpreting the gathered information. Many consider pulse-reading an art that demands assiduous study and innate talent. Knowing a patient’s lifetime medical history from pulse-reading is not common; however, in our Center, we combine this skill with other objective diagnostic tools to help us determine treatment specific to each individual.
B. Tongue Diagnosis
Tongue mapping dates back to the Shang Dynasty which began c.1600 B.C. Since then, it has evolved into an important diagnostic tool. The tongue is considered to be an exterior part of the body that can reveal how our internal systems are functioning. The Classical Chinese Doctor overlays the tongue with several different maps where each map is shaped by the diagnostic model or system which it represents.
c. Ear Mapping
Auricular observation is one of the more widely used Microsystems within eastern medicine. A microsystems uses one aspect of the body (i.e. ears, hands or feet) to mirror conditions that are present anywhere in the body. For example, auricular acupuncture uses a process called the Delta reflex. When a disease condition or imbalance happens somewhere in the body, it will reflex to the ear where it leaves a signature mark such as a nodule, lump, vein or tender spot that corresponds to the associated ear point. This point can then be treated with acupuncture or pressure or used in the diagnostic evaluation.
Thermography technology has been around for more than 50 years with the FDA approving the first medical thermography system over 20 years ago. It provides a crucial entryway to preventive medicine as a method of controlling the diseases that we currently only recognize at the latest advanced stages. MTI uses an infrared camera to “see” and “measure” thermal energy emitted from the body. Thermography reveals a fascinating and reliable pattern of thermal activity that discloses a silent warning. These patterns can see the root of such conditions as headaches, allergies, dental pathologies, carotid artery disease, breast cancer, digestive dysfunction, liver/gallbladder disease, musculoskeletal conditions, pain, and immune dysfunction. It is most well researched for its ability to detect risks for breast cancer much earlier than any other screening tool. In fact, studies have shown that it can detect early signs of breast cancer up to 8 years before a mammogram.
Thermography is most useful for inflammatory phenomena including early detection of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, fybromyalgia or trauma such as strains, sprains or chronic pain. It is also used for neovascular phenomena; cancer is fed by the bodies own blood supply. This development of early vascularity can be detected well before anatomical changes which are detected with other screening tools. And lastly, MTI is used for neurological phenomena; chronic regional pain syndrome and nerve irritation can cause referred pain in other areas; circulatory deficits are easily seen in thermographic images.
Mammograms are a good tool for determining the exact location of a developed tumor, but it is not an early warning system. The real danger of breast cancer is determined by whether or not the tumor has spread to a vital organ. The longer the tumor exists, the longer it has to spread. We now have earlier detection through MTI. While it cannot be called a replacement for Mammography, it has many valuable advantages including: earlier detection of suspicious patterns; an adjunct to inconclusive mammograms; improved detection for women with dense breasts or implants; and a reasonable alternative for women who refuse mammograms. Research shows that an abnormal thermogram is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than a first order family history; a persistent abnormal thermogram carries with it a 22x higher risk of future breast cancer; extensive clinical trials have shown that breast thermography significantly augments the long term survival rates of its recipients by as much as 61%; and when used as a multi-modal approach (clinical exam + mammography+ thermography), 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.