TCM Offers a Different Way to Diagnose Your Health

In Chinese Medicine texts, there is no discussion of diseases or disorders as we know them in the West: If you go to see an herbalist, acupuncturist or Chinese medicine doctor because you are suffering from chronic migraine, the practitioner may diagnosis you as having Liver Qi Stagnation, Liver Heat, Dampness, Qi and Blood Deficiency or Excess Yang, depending on the signs and symptoms that accompany your headache. If you have nausea, gas and bloating you may be diagnosed with Deficient Spleen System Qi .

What Does It Mean?

The practitioner describes the disharmonies in terms of the patterns they manifest. These are known as the Eight Fundamental Patterns: Interior, Exterior; Heat, Cold; Excess, Deficiency; Yin, Yang. These terms are used to describe the way that disharmony is created in the mind/body/spirit.

Interior and Exterior patterns tell the practitioner where in the body the disease resides.

  • Interior patterns of disharmony are indicated if the disharmony is chronic, produces changes in urine and stool, if there is discomfort or pain in the torso and no aversion to cold or wind.
  • Exterior patterns of disharmony often come on suddenly and are acute. Common signs include chills, fever, a dislike of cold and an achy feeling overall.
  • Heat and Cold describe the activity of the body and the nature of the disease. Cold patterns are caused by Deficient Yang or an External Pernicious Cold Influence. With Cold everything slows down, a person becomes withdrawn and sleeps in a curled up position. Pain is relieved by warmth, bodily secretions are thin and clear and there is a desire for warm liquids.
  • Heat patterns are caused by invasion of External Pernicious Heat Influence, the depletion of Yin substances and Excess Yang. With Heat, the body’s processes speed up and a person may talk excessively, have a red face and hot body and prefer cold beverages; secretions become thick, putrid and dark.
  • Deficiency and Excess express the impact of the disharmony on the body’s resistance to disease (Normal Qi ). With Deficiency there is underactivity in the Organ System(s), weakness and tentative movement, a pale or ashen face, sweating, incontinence and shallow breathing and pain that is relieved by pressure.
  • Excess is associated with overactivity of bodily functions; heavy, forceful movements; a loud, full voice; heavy breathing; pain increased by pressure.
  • Yin and Yang encompass the other six Fundamental Patterns. Yin encompasses Interior, Cold and Deficient; Yang encompasses Exterior, Heat and Excess.

Deficient Spleen System Qi

The common symptoms are loose stools, poor appetite, abdominal distention and pain, pale complexion, fatigue and lethargy, weight gain due to fluid retention, edema, shortness of breath and a pale bright face. A subset of Deficient Spleen Qi is Sinking Spleen System Qi, characterized by muscular weakness and prolapsed organs, particularly of the uterus, bladder and rectum. Spleen System Not Able to Govern the Xue (blood), another subset of Deficient Spleen Qi, is associated with Xue circulating outside its proper pathways. The symptoms are chronic bleeding such as bloody stools, nosebleeds, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, excessive menstrual bleeding, non-menstrual uterine bleeding, easy bruising and purpura (purple spotting indicative of bleeding beneath the skin).