Dating back 2000-3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees the body as a whole, that disease is an imbalance in the body. In comparison, Western medicine treats symptoms and disguises disease and can bury it deeper within the body.
TCM sees the human body as the result of yin and yang. While yin is the inner, negative principle, yang is the outer, positive one. A person gets sick whenever the two aspects lose their harmony. TCM believes that vital energy is the essential substance of which the human body is composed. These vital energies are qi, blood, essence, and other body fluids. They believe blood is the material base for bones, muscles, nerves, skin, and organs. It also contains the spirit with which the psyche is balanced.
Pulse taking may be the most important aspect of the whole examination. This is a modality that takes years of practice. The pulse differs in depth, speed, strength, shape, and rhythm. Different conditions of the pulse refer to different pathological syndromes. The exam includes pressing the skin, hands, feet, chest, abdomen, and other areas to search for changes.
Western doctors locate one pulse on the radial artery in the wrist, a practitioner of TCM feels for six pulses in each wrist: three superficial and three deep at specific points along the radial artery. The twelve pulses correspond to the internal organs. For example, a deep pulse reading on the left wrist corresponds, top to bottom, to the heart, liver and kidney. Practitioners note the quality of the pulse in terms of frequency, rhythm, and volume and the Chinese have developed an elaborate vocabulary to describe a pulse, such as floating, thready, and slippery.
A rapid pulse that feels strong, hard, and full can indicate infection in the body. Also, if the pulse increases after eating certain foods it can be indicative of a food allergy. If there is a jerking bounding pulse that is forceful yet abrupt, it can indicate structural disease of the heart valves. If the pulse feels occasionally omitted, then an intermittent pulse is identified. This can lead one to believe there is an obstruction in circulation within the heart of lungs. Also valvular disease or a rupture of the artery could be possible. There is also a full or weak pulse. A full pulse could indicate early stages of acute disease and a weak pulse when there is a weakened condition or impoverished blood.
Needless to say, TCM takes health care to a different level than Western medicine does. Looking into all aspects of the body and how they work to create harmony.