Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) practitioners assess your health with its unique diagnostic methods(pulse, tongue “Fukushin”). The purpose of the assessment is to understand your personal health history, current state of health and all factors that are related to your chief complaints. After putting all pieces together on the table, then we can create a treatment plan that can target the root causes of your issues.
This page explains how to prepare your visit and what will happen during your first Kampo visit.
- What to expect during your first visit?
- How to prepare for your first visit?
- Goal of treatment
What to expect during your first visit?
1. Review of your general health and medical history.
The health of our body is interconnected in many ways. In your first visit, we will sit down to review your health history and your concerns that brought you to where you are now. And also have the opportunity to discuss where you want to be with the treatment of Chinese medicine.
We will also review the core aspects that constitute the health from TCM perspective:
- Digestive Health
- Immune Health
- Hormonal Health
- Sleep Quality
- Cognitive Function
- Baseline Inflammation Level
2. Kampo/TCM physical assessment.
In this part, your TCM practitioner/acupuncturist will perform the following examinations:
- Kampo abdominal palpation – “Fukushin”
This is a method unique in Kampo medicine that practitioners use to identify the state of your internal environment and organs. Your practitioner will place their hands on your abdominal area, applying gentle pressure to different regions. We are looking for both objective and subjective findings to map “Fukushin” patterns that help us to identify the underlying issues. For example, a sharp pain from the lower abdominal area when it is being pressed on, is considered a “Oketsu”, a blood stasis that commonly presents in chronic infectious diseases and gynecological conditions.
- Tongue assessment
The tongue is another important indicators of your health. An experienced Chinese medicine practitioner can tell the state of your digestion, blood circulation and coagulation(“Oketsu”), water metabolism/retentio, inflammation, etc by the color, shape, size, coating, and moisture of the tongue.
- Pulse reading
Pulse is an important tool to evaluate your vital signs such as cardiovascular function and endocrine function. TCM practitioners usually use radial arteries for pulse reading. By feeling the force, width, depth, fullness, tension and rate of the pulse, a well-trained TCM acupuncturist can detect many health related issues such as digestion, immune system, inflammation, stress level, even your organs functions.
After collecting all the information through assessment, your practitioner will have an good understanding of the whole picture as well as the specific aspects:
- Autonomic Nervous System (hyper or hypo-tone)
- Digestive function
- Immune function (hyper/hypo)
- Inflammation at local and systemic level
- Elimination function (Bowel, skin, urination, breath)
- Endocrine function (performance, energy level)
- Blood health (velocity, coagulation, volume etc)
Your Kampo/TCM practitioner will identify one or more Kampo pattern(s) according to the assessment findings, and create a treatment plan that addresses the issues accordingly.
During the first visit, if time allowed, and with your consent, your practitioner can perform the initial treatment, whether it is acupuncture, herbal medicine, manual therapy or combination of those modalities, depending on the situation and assessment.Throughout the course of treatment, we will continuously collect your feedback in the follow-up sessions and keep monitoring the progress, and make necessary adjustments if it is indicated.
- Plan ahead. The office is located in Yorkville, the downtown core of Toronto. Please try to arrive 5-10 minutes before the appointment time for the paperwork, and let your heart and nervous system calm down for an accurate assessment. You can check the detailed direction information on my booking page.
- Wearing or bringing comfortable, loose clothes for the session. If you are straight coming from work, we have clean sheets and towels for draping if it is needed.
- Eat a light meal or snack one hour prior to the appointment if possible. Try not to come in with an empty or full stomach.
- DO NOT scrape or brush your tongue, the coating on your tongue is important to the assessment.
- Try not to drink or eat something that can color your tongue.
- Do not put heavy makeup, colored lipstick that can cover the natural color and tone of your skin.
- Bring the names & dosages of your medications, as well as relevant diagnosis and test results if possible.
Goal of treatment
Our first goal is to reduce the symptoms and discomfort that you come in for, but that is never the only goal of Chinese medicine treatment. We always look for the root causes and internal imbalances that need to be properly addressed. We aim to improve your fundamental health metrics such as digestive function, sleep quality, physical and cognitive performance etc. and prevent diseases in the future. In Chinese medicine, the final goal of the treatment is to correct the imbalance, remove the blockage, regulate the body’s organ functions, and restore the innate healing capacity.
If you still have questions, read the dedicated TCM & acupuncture FAQ page or contact us by phone or email. I will be more than happy to answer your concerns.