Preparing for Consultation
Before going to your Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, you
need to prepare yourself for the questions you may be asked.
Your TCM doctor needs detailed information about the history of
the disease, as well as your feelings and sufferings, in order
to make a diagnosis.
1. Prepare for these questions
The following information is most important to the doctor.
Do you feel a hot/fever or cold/chilly? Do you have sweat?
What pain do you experience? How is your appetite? How
does your stomach feel? What about your bowel movement and
urination? Do you have a dry mouth? Do you feel
thirsty and do you drink lots of water? ……
(1). Do you feel hot/fever, or cold/chilly? If so, do you
feel it in whole body or only some part of the body, such as on
your palms, the soles of your feet or back? The hot
feeling you have, is it like a hot flash or does it remain for
several hours, the whole day or only sometimes? Are you
usually a “cold person” with cold hands and feet and wear more
clothing than others or, are you a “hot person” with hot hands
and feet and wear less clothing than others?
(2). Do you sweat? Which part of the body? Is it in
the upper half or lower part of your body? Is it only in
the head? Is it in the palms/soles/armpits? Is it in
the left half/right half body? Does your sweat feel cold or
warm? After sweating, is your fever/hot feeling reduced or does
it remain high? Does your sweat stain your clothing?
(3). Your pain? Where do you feel pain? Is the pain
always present or does it come and go? Do you feel heavy
pressure, cold/warm, stabbing pain or compression? Does
the pain area have swelling? Is your pain related to your
emotions or to menstruation?
(4). Do you feel bloating in your stomach? Is the bloating
painful? Or you do not feel pain unless you press on it?
Does the bloating come after taking sweat reducing or weight
reducing drugs? Do you have nausea/vomiting? What do
you vomit? Is it food, (recently eaten food or food from
the last meal) phlegm or other?
(5). Do you have diarrhea? How often? What is the
appearance of your stool? Is it formed or like water with
undigested food? Are there signs of blood (black or
fresh red color)? What may trigger your diarrhea?
Eating certain foods (such as cow’s milk)? Did you get a
chill (wind blowing at your stomach, drinking cold
water/beverages, stay in a cold area such as your garage or be
exposed to very cold air-conditioning)? When you have
diarrhea, do you have urgent feeling in stomach to go to wash
room? Do you have stomach pain before the bowel
movement? Do you feel thirsty when you have frequent
diarrhea? Do you prefer to drink warm or cold water?
Do you have a burning sensation in your anus?
(6). Are you constipated? How often do you have a bowel
movement? Is it once, every two or more days? Are
your bowel movements painful? What colour is your stool?
Is there any blood (red or black) on the surface of your stool?
(7). What about urination? How often do you urinate?
Do you feel bloated in your lower abdomen? Do you urinate
more often at night? What is the color of your urine,
light/dark yellow, red, brown or other colour? Does your
urine have a strong odour?
(8). Do you drink a lot of water? Why do you drink a lot
of water? Is it because you feel dry in the mouth?
Are you very thirsty? Or, is it because you believe that
more water is good for your health? When you drink, do you
prefer warm or cold water? Does drinking water quench your
thirst? When you feel thirsty, do you have trouble
urinating (slow stream, for instance)?
(9). Do you have swelling? In which part of the body do
you have swelling? Is it in the upper or lower part of
your body? Or, is it only on your eyelids or around your
ankles? How long have you had it?
(10). Do you feel stressed, anxious or excited and with high
energy? Is your emotional change related to your
pain, bloating, vomiting? …. Does your current
disease follow emotional stimulation, such as fear, worry,
excited? …. Are you in a stressful situation?
(11). Did you have a special experience before this current
disease? For example, after sweating did you have a shower
with cold water? Did you go swimming? Were you
in a very cold room (garage, cold room, etc.)? Did
someone pour cold water over you? Did you bathe in cold water?
When was it, winter or summer?
(12). Do you have problems sleeping? Do you have a clear
mind when you cannot fall asleep? Or, do you feel drowsy,
annoyed? Do you toss and turn, or feel uncomfortable in
your stomach? Do you feel drowsy during the day?
(13). Are you taking antibiotics or hormone medication?
Are you taking anything from your previous TCM doctor that
belongs “Cold” herbs, such as Radix Isatidis, Fructus Forsythiae,
rhubarb, Herba Hedyotis Diffusae, Honey-suckle… that are
reported to have antibiotic and anti-cancer effects? Have
you taken any special therapy such as sweating therapy, diarrhea
therapy, vomiting therapy, from your previous TCM doctors?
(14). Did your sufferings start in winter, spring, summer or
fall? Does it become worse during a particular
season(s)? Are there no specific patterns relating
to the seasons? Similarly, does your suffering become worse or
better at a certain time during the day, such as, is it worse in
the morning, afternoon or in the evening?
There could be more questions, such as your cough, phlegm,
history of periods and pregnancy etc. The questions listed above
are just examples what your TCM doctor may ask you. Lists
here are only to remind you that your TCM doctor may ask more
questions than your medical doctor. Your TCM doctor may repeat
questions before and during treatment.
Communication between you and your TCM doctor is most important
and is most valuable to diagnose and implement an efficient
2. Do not try to lure your doctor to relieve only your current
It has been often found that patients want the doctor pay
attention to what they want the doctor to work on. If the
patient has knee pain, for instance, he/she may just want the
doctor to solve the pain on the knee. When the doctor asks about
his/her appetite, bowel movement, urine, he/she just answers
“OK” to each question. Later, when the pain is released, he/she
starts to describe other problems in the stomach, or pain in the
head, and so on …..
It is for the TCM doctor to evaluate your body condition.
You may feel that some information is not important. It
could be vital to your TCM doctor in order to make a diagnosis.
Remember, the way of thinking about your disease by your TCM
doctor and your medical doctor is very different!
3. Prepare to go to your doctor
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, your doctor needs to see your
tongue and feel your pulse. So, do not drink any coloured
beverages, nor brush your tongue! Do not use any coloured paint
on your nails, lips, hair or face. Leave it natural!
Also, bring with you all your medications to show the doctor.
NOW! FEEL FREE TO PICK UP THE
PHONE AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!
YOUR HEALTH HAS MUCH TO GAIN !!