Part One… The Introduction
When people come to see me they often wonder things like why is she looking at my tongue? What’s going on with my pulses? What’s with all these questions about my dietary habits when I came for sleep problems? And mostly how does this really all work??
Let me tell you I once asked all these questions’ myself, which prompted me personally to go on the path of learning the art of Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine dates back thousands years and is something that I feel is not only a medical system in itself, but also an art form and a way of living. The system draws most of its information or way from the observation of nature, of what is around us every day, and views that what plays out in nature in our world (macro-organism) reflects what plays out in our own body, our inner world (micro-organism). The balance of all this determines whether we lye in a state of health or disharmony.
When someone comes in for a consultation it is not just the main issue the practitioner takes into account. From the moment you walk through the door the practitioner is looking for clues, clues that will eventually provide the answers to what is really going on for this person. From the way the person walks into the clinic (which in itself can indicate whether their holding pain and even where they are holding pain, have they had a stroke, are they confident to the world or shy away from it, etc), to the sound of the voice when they talk, the spirit within their eyes, colour of the their skin, their smell, and well I’m probably sounding a little creepy now but yes this all provides tiny bits of information to let the practitioner know what is really going on.
The practitioner then moves a little deeper, questions asked about what is going on for the person, how long it’s been there, the nature of it, and so on. If required (and with permission of the patient) palpation on the possible area of pain or of some of the acupuncture meridians is performed. The tongue is then looked at as it provides more clues based on many factors including its size, shape, colour, and coat, and finally the pulse is taken. Pulse taking is not just about how fast or slow your pulse rate is. Although this is one of the qualities the practitioner takes into account, there are others such as its fullness or weakness, possible tension in the pulse, what level is it at its strongest and much, much more. This all comes together to form a picture of what is really going on for that person. This is the art of diagnosis in Chinese medicine.
You see it’s not just that dodgy back you have come in for to get treated that the practitioner is looking at. This is just a symptom, a branch on a tree, in Chinese medicine what the practitioner is looking for is why has this presented in this person in this way, they are looking for the “root” cause. Only when you take the whole person into account, mentally physically, emotionally and spiritually, can you find what is really going on for that person, and when treated at its root level the healing is much more profound.
This, my friends is the definition of holistic health.
By Jessica Breust- White Dragon Chinese Medicine