When you visit your acupuncturist, you may notice that they ask many questions that seem unrelated to your primary concerns. As a holistic medicine, we want to know the underlying causes (the root) as well as the symptoms (the branch). By understanding the person as a whole, we can determine your "pattern diagnosis." In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we view the body as a whole system, and by knowing the whole story, we can treat the symptoms and prevent them from returning.
The patient's pattern is the goal of our investigation and diagnostic tools and, therefore, essential to the treatment. The terminology we use may sound foreign, but when translated will look and sound familiar. For example, Liver Yin Deficiency Heat
To determine the individual's pattern, we look at the tongue, feel the pulses, see or palpate the channels (using AcuGraph in our case), observe, and discuss. By asking particular questions, we can visualize the whole picture that makes each person unique. This knowledge helps us determine the underlying factors that are causing the symptoms. Your practitioner will then apply a root and branch treatment, the root of the problem and the symptoms (or branch) eliminated.