chinese medicines
green medicine
by specific condition
how it's done
listening & smelling
chinese medicine
causes of disharmony
the meridian system
the five elements
vital substances
yin yang theory
zangfu organs
tai chi




Listening and Smelling

A significant aspect of this part of diagnosis is the breathing of the patient and the sound of the voice.

A loud assertive voice suggests a yang pattern, while a weak or timid voice suggests the opposite, a yin pattern. Restless and heavy breathing occurs in an excess syndrome whereas shallow breathing is indicative of a deficient condition. Even the sound of a cough gives an indication of the level of phlegm in the lungs, and can be loud and sudden or weak and persistent.

The odor of the body and its excretions are also important aids in diagnosis, and require many years of experience to perfect. As such, this method is more widely practiced in traditional eastern diagnosis than it is in the western practices.

In general terms, there are two distinct smells which are considered to detect the presence of a hot, excess condition from a cold, deficient one. Yang (hot, excess) conditions are associated with a rancid or rotten smell and Yin (cold, deficient) conditions possess a strong, fishy aroma.

As a rule, any unusual or abnormal odors can indicate an illness, those listed above are merely a guideline.

Related Topics

observation in diagnosis

palpation in diagnosis

questioning in diagnosis




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The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Should you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering any natural remedy.

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