As Chinese medicine is a very ancient method of medicine there some diagnostic techniques which can be different and somewhat peculiar for some. As mentioned before in others blogs, the Chinese medicine practitioner is trying to work out the imbalance which is occurring within the body, either channels or organ imbalance. As such never be alarmed if your practitioner wants to look at your tongue, or asks you a bunch of questions about your toilet functions. It’s all a part of the system of Chinese medical diagnosis developed over thousands of years to identify significant patterns of signs and symptoms that reveal much about your health — and how to improve it.


Chinese diagnosis is founded on the acceptance that external signs and symptoms reflect the condition of the internal organs. Over thousands of years Chinese physicians have developed a very sophisticated system of correspondences between outward signs and internal imbalances. This is not a replacement for the precision of western medical examinations.


The skilled practitioner will assess your condition using the traditional “four pillars” of diagnosis. These include LOOKING, ASKING, HEARING/ SMELLING and PALPATION


The practitioner will look at the patient very carefully, looking at the demeanor, the postal position, complexion and even the tongue. The examination of the tongue will take note of the shape, the colour of the tongue body and or coating.  They will pay attention to everything from the way you walk to the sparkle in your eyes looking for a pattern in order to make a diagnosis.


Traditionally there are ten main areas of questioning. This interview is detailed and often patients are surprised by some questions. Do you catch colds easily? Do you have cold hands and feet? Do you bruise easily? Are there any foods you crave? Are you groggy in the mornings? Can you describe your stools? The answers to questions like these give your practitioner valuable information.

Hearing and Smelling

In Addition to the information already gathered by visual assessment, the practitioner will listen to the sound of your voice, breathing, heart beat and even stomach sounds. Our practitioners may ask you about the odour in relation excretions or take note of specific body odours.


The practitioner may feel affected areas or abdomen looking for temperature variations, or lumps and bumps. The practitioner may press acupuncture points or areas looking for tenderness or “active ashi site”. The practitioner may use Pulse diagnosis, which is a complex and precise method of diagnosis which can takes decades to master but can give a practitioner detailed information on the state of your body’s internal organs.