Assessments: Pulse, Tongue, and Abdominal Palpation
Pulse diagnosis is a special part of the assessments
used by an acupuncturist to determine what the most effective treatment for you is. During pulse diagnosis the pulse is felt in three different positions on each wrist. Each of the positions tells us different information about your health. This system is used by all acupuncturists, though they may interpret their findings in different ways.
Tongue diagnosis is another specialized technique used by practitioners of Oriental Medicine to make assessments of the patient. We look at the shape, color, coating, and movement of the tongue to determine your imbalance. Tongue diagnosis is particularly important in the use of Herbology to determine the correct formula of herbs for you. Patients are often shy of showing their tongues, but one must remember that we look at tongues all the time. They reveal a lot of important information the practitioner needs to choose the best treatment.
In abdominal diagnosis, we use the ancient concept that different areas of the abdomen give information about the function of various aspects of physiology. This is used often in Japanese acupuncture and herbology. We gently palpate the abdomen, looking for areas of tenderness, hot and cold, dry and damp, and areas of tension or weakness. We are sensitive to people’s vulnerability during this exam.
When acupuncture and oriental medicine is provided by a licensed acupuncturist, this thorough assessments lead to a diagnosis in oriental medical terms. We do not make western medical diagnoses. When acupuncture is done without an assessment such as this, the results are generally poor and short-lived. Licensed Acupuncturists produce better results by using this diagnosis to treat the underlying processes in the body that have caused the condition being treated. We do not use recipes or cookbook methods for treatments, but instead make individual treatment plans for each individual patient; this is the standard of care in our profession. It is not always shared by some of the other medical professionals who might provide acupuncture needling as part of their treatment.