Diagnosis Through Looking

February 11, 2023 | Category:

The Chinese medicine practitioner usually starts his diagnosis through looking at the patient’s appearance, facial expression, skin colour, gait and demeanour.

A person’s complexion and his vital organs share a close relationship. Any changes in the blood and qi circulation in the vitals will be reflected in a person’s physical appearance, including observing the person’s energy level and the colour of his face and tongue:

Diagnosis through looking at the patient’s energy level

Observation of the patient’s vitality, expression in his eyes, facial expression etc. A person’s energy may be classified into the following types:

Vigour and vitality present:
Energetic, lively eyes, a bright countenance, etc. They indicate a mild case of illness where the vital energy has not been diminished. It signals a quick recovery.

Vigour and vitality absent:
Listless, lethargic, dull eyes, absentmindedness, slowed responses etc. The patient is deficient in vital energy and seriously ill.

Diagnosis through looking at the tongue

Your tongue tells a lot about your metabolism. It’s the only internal organ you can see directly. Its color, shape, and mobility indicate vital energy and blood production, which affects your ability to digest food, breathe, eliminate toxins and fight illness.

The tongue may be divided into several parts representing the five vital organs. Any change in the appearance of the tongue will reflect a change in the state of the corresponding organ.

… Read more about The diagnosis of Tongue

Diagnosis through looking at the patient’s complexion

When a person falls ill, his complexion will take on an unusual colour. This is known as the pathogeny of complexion. In all, there are five colours:

  • Blue
    Caused by wind and cold, marked by a sensation of pain.
  • Yellow
    Caused by dampness, marked by deficiency of vital energy and lowering of body resistance.
  • Red
    Caused by heat.
  • White
    Caused by deficiency in vital energy and poor blood circulation.
  • Black
    Caused by cold, pain, fluid retention and blood clots.

Diagnosis through looking at the Five Sense Organs and Hair

The condition of one’s ears, eyes, lips, nose, hair and skin also reflect the body’s state of health. Some examples are listed below:

Swollen eyesUsually caused by water retention.
Dry eyesUsually caused by deficiency of blood in the liver.
Swollen and red eyesUsually caused by wind-heat.
Blocked nose; clear mucusUsually caused by wind-cold.
Blocked nose; thick yellow mucusUsually caused by wind-heat.
Dry and thin outer earAsthenia (abnormal loss of strength) of kidney.
Dark, red lipsCaused by cold factors, usually seen in weak lungs.
Pale lipsUsually caused by deficiency of blood.
Dark red and dry lipsUsually caused by febrile factors, characterised by a high fever.
Dry, cracked lipsInsufficient bodily fluids.
Dry skinInsufficient bodily fluids; exhaustion of internal vital essences and blood.
Dry and prickly skinUsually caused by atrophy of the lungs.
Black, thick and lustrous hairHealthy kidneys, sufficient blood and vital energy.
Brown, sparse and dry hairDeficiency of vital essence and blood, usually seen after a major illness.
Dry and brittle hairHeat in the blood and deficiency of yin.
Curly and oily hairUsually caused by heat in the blood.
Greying of hair among youthsCaused by worry and anxiety; accumulation of pathogenic heat in blood.
Thinning of hair among youthsAsthenia of kidneys or pathogenic heat in blood.
Slow growth of hair; thin and brown hairUsually caused by hereditary factors and a weak constitution.

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