Questions to ask your patient during a consultation

One of the things the Inner Canon tells us is that to treat illness one must trace the root cause of the illness.  For those who practice yi, the root causes of all illnesses invariably lie within the bounds of the yin or yang of the wuxing organs being out of step with the yinyang transformations of heaven and earth. Sometimes, however, a patient’s symptoms may indicate a yinyang disorder in one of the wuxing organs while the actual root cause is in another wuxing organ. At other times, the patient may have some conditions that they are unaware of, therefore, in every consultation, we need to have a thorough check of each of the wuxing organs.  For each of the wuxing organs we need to ask questions about both the yin and yang conditions.

To begin, we might ask whether the patient feels hot or cold. This will indicate the patient’s kidney water heat reserve or kidney water yang condition.  Then a question about whether the patient’s urine is clear, will indicate the kidney water yin condition.

Questioning whether the patient has a good appetite, helps to determine the patient’s soil yin condition (as the yin of the soil organ governs receiving food). A question as to whether the patient feels bloated, helps to determine the yang condition of the soil organ.

Asking the patient whether there was any dryness of the mouth, indicates the yin condition of the metal organ (as lung metal gathers moistness and qi). A question about whether the patient has mucus, indicates the yang of the metal organ (as the yang of lung metal organ governs the purification of moistness).

Asking whether the patient has any rash or itchy skin, helps to determine the liver wood yang condition (as the liver wood yang keeps things erect, such as blood vessels, so blood flow freely and the blood remains clean). Then we may question whether the patient feels any tightness of the body and this indicates the wood organ yin condition.

If we then question of whether the patient sleeps well will identify the heart fire yin condition. Questioning whether the patient feels motivated in doing things, will identify the fire organ’s yang condition.

Although, symptoms sometimes can be misleading, as patients may not pay much attention to these conditions, taking the pulse and looking at the tongue, skin complexion etc., can be the final determinants for whether the other information that you have collected is reliable.

5 thoughts on “Questions to ask your patient during a consultation

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  1. Yes, Yin Yang Wu Xing is important. The change I think about is seasonal pulse, with physical signs. The fact that RenYing and CunKou change places when Yin Yang, is very real. Because of seasonal change Yin Yang protect when its strong. The jing mai go from left to right in the body according to the season, making needling very precise. Even Li Shizhen in his Bencao Gangmu, talked about proper formula modification according seasonal qi, and rising and sinking of qi during each phase.
    I agree with you that people don’t understand classical principles, it was stated in Sun Simao’s chapter on being a good doctor, ” (一)今以至精至微之事,求之於至粗至淺之思,其不殆哉!”. I would like you to know there are people who study classical theory, and apply it in clinical practice. Enjoyed your interview on Qilogical.


  2. I enjoyed your comments on Qilogical and have ordered you book on Ying Yang Wuxing . Can you let me know your thoughts on the best style of pulse diagnois to use with your concepts of Wuxing ? Are they different in Herbal approaches and Acupuncture ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Peter,
      Thank you for your feedback. You will find my thoughts on pulse-taking in the Yinyang Wuxing Yi book. There are no differences in diagnosis between Acupuncture and herbal approaches, they are only different in methods. Although, in acupuncture practice, one needs to go with time as meridians open and close following the time. For example, when you have a liver wood yang damage case, which is like rotten wood, at the time of treatment, if it is urine bladder meridian opening, according to wuxing theory, water creates wood, as we need to give more yang to the wood then yin, so we choose the fire point of urine bladder meridian, which is 昆仑 (经 jing)point, that will strengthen the yang qi of water and liver wood. This way we chose a point according to theory rather than experience. My next book will discuss more on time and acupuncture.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i have enjoyed your comments on Qiological and have ordered your book Ying Yang Wuxing. Can you make a comment on the best approach to pulse diagnosis to use with your system ? Does the pulse diagnosis changes if one is using herbs or acupuncture?

    Liked by 1 person

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