We arrive at the final part of this look at how Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners come to understand what ails you. It is essentially: the interview. The questions and answers are vital to arriving at a diagnosis, a true one, and then treating the underlying cause of the problem.
The interview is extensive, consisting of about 100 actual questions. It’s as if you are applying for a job, except the goal is to get healthy. There may be several interviews, and the questions may seem quite irrelevant. Yet, each question has a distinct purpose, as your true nature and condition are being slowly rooted out with each answer. The practitioner is also listening closely to how you speak.
The 10 areas of focus: temperature, urine, perspiration, thirst, digestion, appetite, sleep, reproduction, exercise, and bowel movements.
If you complain of pain in one area, of sleep difficulties, of a problematic bladder, of being stuffed up nasally, and other symptoms, it can give the practitioner important clues. In Chinese medicine, symptoms are linked with bodily functions and organs far away. Here is a glance at some of the amazing links:
— Earaches or ringing in the ears might indicate a kidney disorder. The kidneys are directly linked to your ears. If the ringing is high-pitched, it suggests liver disharmony; if low-pitched, it’s the kidney.
— If your vision is blurred, there may be insufficient flow of blood reaching your liver. But, if there is an odd pressure in the eyes, or unusual dryness, it can be a disharmony of the kidney.
— Pain in the chest or stomach can indicate one of many problems, depending on where it is. For example, discomfort below the ribs on either side can relate to the liver or gall bladder. Mid-stomach pain indicates a disharmony there, or in the spleen. Pain in the lower abdomen is linked to the bladder or kidneys.
— Emotions are at the core of discovering how an illness might have occurred. They can also point out areas of disharmony. Questions may even be asked so that you issue an emotional reaction. Anxiety is linked to the heart, depression to the heart and the liver, anger to the liver, difficulty concentrating to the spleen, fear to the kidney.
— Do you sweat often? At what times usually? Is it an odorous sweat? How would you describe your sweat? Where on the body does it most often happen? Sweat that smells and is linked to nervousness means the heart is in disharmony. If you sweat on the head only, there is excess heat in the stomach. Sweat in the palms or soles of the feet suggest you are deficient in yin-related. Sweating in the day is yang-related; in the night, it is yin-related.
If you want a very interesting and perhaps worthwhile experience, see a Chinese practitioner for a thorough diagnosis.