A practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnoses patients by
assessing which is the primary Element in distress. This diagnosis is
based on various sensory signs, especially:
The patient's personality
is also of utmost importance. The focus is on diagnosing the balance of
the Five Elements within the person rather than making a differential
diagnosis of the symptoms presented by the person.
Treatment is only perceived as fully successful if patients report
improvement in how they feel in themselves, as well as in their signs
and symptoms. Sometimes patients are surprised to notice positive
differences in how they feel even if they did not perceive anything to
be 'wrong' with them in the first place. Chinese Medicine has the
ability to direct treatment to any level of the patient's mind and
spirit if that is what is required to help the patient
to return to good health.
Therefore in TCM, holistic treatment means that the Chinese Herbalist
or acupuncturist has to understand the root causes of the imbalance. He
has to identify the inter-related causes of diseases and balance the
mind and body in relation to those root issues. Hence, sometimes, for
instance, when one complains of constipation, it may be due to weakness
in other internal organs unrelated to the big intestines.