Usually performed at the first appointment, a comprehensive diagnosis takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, and includes an extensive interview, not only of the main medical complaints but also of other physiological functions throughout the entire system.
Then, a physical examination will be done using a number of diagnostic methods, including any of the following:
- Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis®, a system developed by the late Chinese master John H.F. Shen, a world-renowned diagnostician, and elaborated upon by his longtime apprentice, Leon Hammer, M.D. (Read this article in Ode Magazine for a patient’s view of pulse diagnosis.)
- Face diagnosis
- Traditional Chinese tongue diagnosis
- Abdominal diagnosis
- Palpation and observation
(For more on these methods, please refer to the article, Four Pillars of Diagnosis.)
A diagnosis often cannot be arrived at immediately, especially in complicated cases. After the information is gathered, it must be sifted through and considered thoroughly, like a detective putting the pieces of a case together. Subtle differences can be important.
After this first appointment, a follow-up visit will be scheduled to present the report of findings. This follow-up takes up to half an hour and is usually incorporated into the next treatment session. The aim of the report of findings is not only to discuss the progression of treatment, but to give you, the patient, as thorough an understanding of your own condition as possible, so that you know how you got to where you are and how to get where you want to go—healthy and thriving.
The value of this comprehensive diagnosis cannot be underestimated, which is why it is provided to all patients upon the first visit, with the exception of those with very acute or localized problems such as injury or pain.