How is a Diagnosis Reached?
Prior to administering any treatment it is necessary for the clinician to formulate a diagnosis of the patient’s symptoms from a TCM point of view. This initial consultation and treatment typically takes about an hour and a half. During this time the diagnostic methods described below are used.
The patient is asked about their medical history and the history, nature and location of their symptoms, as well as questions about their general health.
The clinician will observer various characteristics of the patient, including facial features, the quality of the complexion, skin generally, nails, hair etc, their posture and demeanour. The tongue will also be observed as it provides a wealth of information about the current internal state of the body.
The quality of the voice is listened to. A patient may sigh excessively or it may be possible to hear their digestive organs gurgling. All of this may provide valuable information to aid in making a diagnosis.
The muscle tone may be felt or acupoints may be pressed in order to determine any patterns of tenderness. The pulse is felt on both wrists, this can provide important information as to the state of the internal organs.
The diagnosis will be explained to the patient and efforts will be made between the patient and the clinician to determine the cause of the problem, whether it be lifestyle, diet or whatever. A treatment plan will be proposed so that each patient will be given an indication of how long it might take for the treatments to take effect. In certain cases, the patient may need to be referred to other clinicians for treatment as appropriate. In certain circumstances it is appropriate to work in close relationship with the patient’s GP, if the patient feels comfortable with this. This relationship may ensure the best possible patient-centred care.
The planned treatment, whether acupuncture, herbs, Chinese massage or a combination of these is then explained to the patient and subsequently administered. Subsequent consultations and treatment take approximately 45 minutes.
Often our patients will re-visit our clinic at regular intervals, say every couple of months, to attend a check-up at which the clinician will check the patient’s pulse and tongue and any other necessary examinations to determine whether there is an underlying imbalance that may cause symptoms in the future.
Generally, most of our new patients come to us with a specific problem. However, we do occasionally have new patients who have a forward-looking approach to their health. These patients attend for purely preventative reasons, recognising that say their job or personal circumstances are such that they need to seek preventative measures to keep them in good health.
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