Acupuncture Evaluation

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture Evaluation

Acupuncture Evaluation is a special approach in medical diagnostic. The conventional medicine carries out regular evaluation using techniques such as Anamnesis, Visual Observation, Percussion, Auscultation, and Palpation. These evaluation methods are used in determining the state of a patient’s health or progress made in respect to the treatment given. However, the evaluation techniques differ from those employed in acupuncture.

Evaluation techniques in acupuncture are guided by principles from Tradition Chinese Medicine TCM. We will be considering three diagnostic methods namely Tongue diagnostic, Pulse diagnostic, and Five Elements diagnostic.

Tongue Diagnostic – Important part of Acupuncture Evaluation

Tongue diagnostic is used to determine the condition of a patient and for the planning of treatment to be administered. The tongue shows the depth and nature of the imbalance present in the body without much interference with how nervous the person might be at the point of examination. Tongue diagnostic also helps to measure the progress of a disorder in the body. Below are details on tongue diagnostic.

Tongue Geography and Meridians

Lower Jiao

This is the base of the tongue which represents the kidney, large and small intestines and the urinary bladder meridian.

Middle Jiao

These two sides of the tongue represent the liver and gall bladder meridians. The left side represents the gall bladder while the right side represents the liver.

The middle of the tongue represents the spleen and the stomach meridians.

Upper Jiao

The tip of the tongue represents the heart and lung meridians

Tongue Coatings

Tongue coating is an indicator of the state of the stomach and spleen. When present, coating shows that the stomach and spleen are in good shape. The coating also shows how strong, deep and the temperature of pathogenic factors.

In a normal state, the coating is thin at the edge, thicker in the center and thickest at the root.

Pulse Diagnostic – Most important diagnostic technique in Chinese Traditional Medicine and Acupuncture Evaluation

Pulse diagnostic is common to both conventional medicine and TCM but with Acupuncture Evaluation - Pulse Diagnosticsome differences. Conventional medicine uses the pulse to measure the heart rate and measuring the blood pressure. On the contrary, pulse diagnostic as a part of Acupuncture Evaluation in TCM is not only used to determine the condition of the heart but also to assess the health state of the major organs of the body. Pulse diagnosis as a part of Acupuncture Evaluation in TCM can be compared to what MRI is to conventional medicine.

Acupuncture Evaluation - Pulse Diagnosis

The acupuncturist also uses pulse diagnostic to assess 28 different qualities of the pulse. Each quality carries information about what the state of the patient’s health is. Let’s take a look at some major qualities that are observed during Acupuncture Evaluation.


When the pulse is fast, it is an indicator that there is excessive heat in the body. Excessive heat can be as result of fever or an inflammatory condition. It could also be as result of stress the nervous system is being subjected. Slow pulse is a sign of coldness which may be pointing to a part of the body system not functioning efficiently. This type of pulse is associated with poor blood circulation.


When there is a strong pulse, it is a sign of excesses in the body which could be stress, anger, headaches or high blood pressure. A weak pulse is a sign of some deficiencies in the body. This is common with fatigue, insomnia, low blood pressure and depression.


Blood or fluid deficiency can be responsible for a thin pulse as common with fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, insomnia, and sub-optimal digestive absorption. Wide pulse also called slippery pulse indicates food stagnation in the intestines or accumulation of phlegm in a part of the body. This type of pulse is common with digestive problems and sinus/allergy congestion problems.

Five Elements Diagnostic

Five elements diagnostic is unique and peculiar to Acupuncture Evaluation as a part of TCM. The five elements water, wood, fire, earth, and metal are believed to a kind of energetic movement as they relate to sound health. The color, voice, and emotion of each person are related to a corresponding element. There will be a form of complaining when one of these elements is out of balance which shows up for instance as constant digestive upset, respiratory difficulty. This is the body’s natural way of sending signals for a need for attention.

The entire five elements are interdependent all through life. One or two elements stand out dominant than others in a person’s body constitution. Using a person’s dominant composition in administering treatment can make healing easier and faster.

Both Medical Evaluation and Acupuncture Evaluation intended to find the core of the illness in the body and apply the appropriate treatment. The acupuncturist must follow all steps of the classical medical examination and only after completion of the regular exam additional techniques specific for Acupuncture Evaluation can be applied in order to get more valuable and beneficial information.

Call Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic to schedule an appointment for Acupuncture Evaluation performed by Dr. Tsan