A traditional Chinese medical (TCM) consultation involves the following steps:


The practitioner may scrutinise your complexion, eyes, tongue, and movements to gain insight into how your organs are functioning. The tongue is a particularly important source of information, and its colour, body, coating, and moisture will all be taken into account.


The practitioner assesses the patient’s energy and general condition by taking into account a person’s body heat, odour, skin sensitivity, and using other senses to gain an insight into the individual’s condition.

Taking a history

To gain a full picture, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about your complaint and your medical history. He will want to find out whether your problems vary at all according to the time of year and your diet, feelings or emotions.

Pulse diagnosis

This can provide a highly sensitive and detailed picture of your general health. The practitioner will be taking a number of different ‘pulses’ on three fingers of each hand. This enables him to gain further information about the quality and functioning of the five major organs. The practitioner will take account of your general health and strength, as well as all of your symptoms, whether they seem to you to be connected or not. This will be the basis for deciding on the best treatment.

Monthly consultations are required to gauge your progress. The prescriptions will be devised accordingly.

Extracted from ‘Making Sense of Traditional Chinese Medicine’ – by Shun Au and Yang Li (MIND Publications, 2002)