Dear Acupuncture in the Park:
Why do you guys ask so many questions? Some of your questions are unrelated to what brought me in to see you in the first place. My Western doctor doesn’t do that. What’s up?
Curious Acupuncture Patient
That’s a great question! As practitioners of Chinese medicine, we really do ask you a lot of questions. A large part of the time at your initial acupuncture appointment is spent talking about your symptoms–what brought you in. However, because everything in your body is interconnected, we have to find out how the rest of you is doing, too. For that reason, we will ask about how you sleep, your energy, appetite, digestion, and even about your mood or emotional health. In most cases, those questions give us clues as to what’s really going on. For example, if you came in for heartburn, and I didn’t ask about your appetite and how you were sleeping, I might not understand that stress was playing a huge role in your indigestion.
Actually in Chinese medicine, making a good diagnosis involves something called the Four Examinations: Asking, Looking, Listening/Smelling, and Touching. All the questions we ask are considered part of the asking examination. For the looking examination, we check out each patient for a number of things; the brightness in their eyes, complexion, posture, and demeanor, to name a few. We will also look at your tongue because it gives us a lot of information about what’s happening on the inside of your body. The listening part is about your breathing and the strength of your voice. And yes, if you have a funky smell, it’s usually because something is out of balance. Finally, the touching part of the Four Examinations consists of palpating tender or injured parts of your body as well as feeling your pulse to determine the quality of your energy.
The bottom line, Curious, is that we ask a lot of questions and check out a number of things so that we can make a complete diagnosis. By doing so, we’re confident that we’re treating the source of your problem, not just the symptoms, which increases the chances that your problem will go away for good. So bear with us and let us ask our questions; it will benefit you in the long run.
Acupuncture in the Park