Visit a herbal medicine doctor I

As practitioners of life cultivation, when we are sick, we may visit a herbal medicine doctor to seek professional help. Learning some basic theories of herbal medicine and some technical terms of herbal medicine will help us to choose a herbal medicine doctor, understand what the herbal doctor said, understand the disease, and cooperate with the doctor to find faster and better recovery under the guidance of the herbal doctor.

Herbal medicine and Western medicine are two different systems of medicine. In layman’s terms, herbal and Western doctors use their own set of skills, and the methods are different, but the purpose and effect are the same. Western doctors use a method of meticulously analyzing the human body layer by layer to check for lesions, so various checkups are performed, and the more inspections become more detailed.

The method of herbal medicine practitioners is just the opposite. It cannot analyze layer by layer, but uses the method of observing the external manifestations of the patient’s whole body (such as changes in expression, tongue, pulse, etc.) to infer the patient’s internal lesions.

Therefore, herbal medicine practitioners need to look at the patient’s external systemic comprehensive reaction. This is called a syndrome in herbal medicine, and it will be treated. This is what traditional herbal medicine doctors often say about syndrome differentiation and treatment. Facts have proved that as long as the symptoms of the systemic reaction are cured, those local diseases will also be cured to varying degrees.

01 Herbal medicine treatment process

01 The four-diagnoses

In a short period of time, the doctor of traditional herbal medicine looks at the tongue, feels the pulse, asks a few words, and so on of the patient. This is the start of a process called the syndrome differentiation and treatment. The four initial steps are called the four diagnoses.

01 Looking

As soon as the patient enters the consultation room, the doctor of herbal medicine begins to pay attention to his expression: how is his complexion, is it red, blue, or gray? What is the facial expression? How is the movement? This is called inspection.

Before the patient even takes notice of the process, the doctor of traditional herbal medicine has already observed various attributes of the patient, leaving a preliminary impression of classification. If the doctor is conscientious and experienced, then this observation has already had a preliminary count on the patient’s physical fitness, body constitution, and mentality.

The most important thing in looking is tongue inspection, that is, looking at the tongue. Although the patient only stretched and retracted his tongue for less than half a minute, the herbal medicine doctor got a lot of information from it.

Roughly speaking, for example, he first checks to see whether the tongue is crooked. If it is crooked, it may be a stroke.

Then he looks at the tongue quality, that is, the texture and color of the tongue. If it is too red, it is hot, and if it is too light, it is cold. A herbal medicine doctor sometimes says that A is cold and B is hot. This is one way for the deduction.

Then there is the tongue coating, which is a white layer on the taste buds on the surface of the tongue. If it is thin white it is normal. If it is thick white it is cold-devil. If it is thick yellow it is heat-devil. These are all realistic symptoms. If there is no moss on the tongue coating, it is bad, meaning that the patient is deficient in something, that he has to be fortified.

In short, there are many tricks, and it is also one of the important diagnostic bases for herbal medicine practitioners.

02 Listening

Then the patient will usually take the initiative to tell the doctor of traditional herbal medicine that he is uncomfortable somewhere, which is called the chief complaint. Those who are impatient can’t wait to confide.

At this time, the doctor of traditional herbal medicine can hear the condition of the patient: how is his spirit? How is his body constitution? Where is his self-feeling pain? How is his living environment? Does he feel depressed, and so on.

In this way, the doctor of herbal medicine has a rough idea of the internal cause of the sickness. Listening to the patient’s confidant in this way is the doctor of traditional herbal medicine listening skill, so this step in the diagnosis is called listening.

03 Asking

In addition, herbal medicine practitioners have to ask inductive questions around the disease. Herbal medicine practitioners ask inductively and let patients answer, which is called asking. A careful doctor will also ask detailed and in-depth questions layer by layer as needed.

At this time, more than half of the patient’s etiology, personality, body constitution, emotion, psychological state, living environment, etc. have been understood by the practitioners.

The modern terminology for this process is called the doctors’ clinical thinking. The doctor is standing at the patient’s bedside, face-to-face to collect the patient’s data. Now the patient is seen and understood in and out, past and present, by the doctor of traditional herbal medicine as an insider.

This comprehensive and overall, externally and internally, past and present, manifestation of the patient is now obtained. In herbal medicine, this is called the syndrome of a comprehensive systemic reaction. With this as a basis, the treatment of the doctor can now be much more comprehensive.

04 Pulse taking

Lastly, the herbal medicine practitioner will examine the pulse of the patient in a very special way.

Initially, the practitioner will use the method of palpating the changes of the surface arterial pulse of the patient’s limbs to see what is wrong with the patient. Later, it was gradually simplified to only palpating the radial artery on the wrist of the patient’s forearm.

The relationship between the pulse conditions (the changing shape of the pulsation) of these two places is very large and complicated in traditional herbal medicine. They are classified into types called fu, chen, chi, shu, xu, shi, xian, hua, hong, se and so on.

In terms of location, it is divided into three Cunguan rulers for the left hand, representing the heart, liver, and kidney, and three Cunguan rulers for the right hand, representing the lung, spleen, and kidney. If the pulse condition of these parts is abnormal, it means that the corresponding internal organ is sick. It is very complicated, and its content will fill up a book.

In any case, this pulse condition is one of the important reasons for a herbal doctor to diagnose a patient.

A simple example. If the patient’s pulse is fu, it means that his disease is on the surface, and standard treatment should use the method of dispersing the surface. If the pulse is chen and xu, it means that the disease is internal and virtual, and the method of fortification should be used.

Dispersion and supplementation are completely different methods, and if they are used in the wrong way, problems will arise.

In short, the practice of treating a disease in herbal medicine is closely related to the change of the pulse condition of a patient, so it will not work if the doctor cannot feel the pulse of the patient. Thus, a herbal medicine practitioner cannot really treat a patient remotely.

End of part one of a multipart series of posts.

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