Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment

Mainly there are four methods of diagnosis in TCM: Inspection, Auscultation and Olfaction, Inquiry, Pulse-taking and Palpation, which are called as “四诊”(Chinese pinyin “si zhen”) for short. The human body is an organic whole, and thus local pathological changes would affect the whole system. Viscera pathological changes will be reflected by the dysfunction of all aspects of five sense organs, limbs and body surface. Therefore,through Inspection, Inquiry, Pulse-taking and Palpation, these four diagnostic methods, examining all symptoms, will lead to the understanding of the pathogenesis and nature of disease, and the internal relations between them, acting as the basis of the subsequent syndrome differentiation and treatment. (Figures Attached)


It is the method used by a TCM physician to observe the changes of whole body and local regions as well as postures and physical movement. Inspection of the tongue and its coating is the method used most frequently in TCM to diagnoses disease, which includes tongue body and tongue coating. By inspection of the tongue body, the emphasis is put on the differentiation of deficiency or excess syndromes and tongue coating can know the severity of disease gas. So it was proposed that the tongue is a mirror of human physiological and pathological conditions.

Auscultation and Olfaction

For Auscultation, the emphasis is placed on listening to the rapidity of patient’s voice during speaking and abnormal sounds. For olfaction, the emphasis is placed on smelling of the odor of the patient’s secretions and excretions in order to distinguish/recognize/identify disease.


It is a diagnostic technique by which a TCM physician inquires a patient and /or his companion to obtain the related information about his illness, such as its time of onset, reasons, treatment process, accompanying symptoms, medical history, and family history.

Pulse-taking and Palpation

They are the diagnostic methods performed by pressing certain parts of the body to examine the patients. There are two parts, namely pulse-taking and palpation. Palpation is done by touching, feeling and pressing chest and abdomen for the purpose of detecting the pathological changes. (Figures of Four Diagnostic Methods of TCM)

Other Methods

Besides the Four Diagnostic Methods, facial diagnosis, ear diagnosis, meridians and collaterals diagnosis, hand diagnosis and foot diagnosis are used to detect local pathological changes, aiming at special parts which project around human body.

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