Yesterday I talked about smelling patients, and today I am going to discuss the "looking" part of diagnosis. As acupuncturists, we are trained to see imbalances before the patient speaks one word. Just taking a good hard look at someone can give you a world of information as to what is going on with their health. Watching a patient walk across the room can tell you about their back, neck, or hip problems. A posture check can inform you of misalignment somewhere in the skeletal system. And simple observation of the face can reveal which organ systems are weak or imbalanced. Body type is one of the first things that we take into consideration when observing a patient. A soft, fleshy body type can show an imbalance of the Spleen, or reveal a patient who is prone to Spleen issues due to their inherent constitution. A wiry, tight, and sinewy frame is indicative of a Liver type. Patients with Lung constitutions tend to be thin, both in face and figure. Kidney types tend to have a large abdomen and long spine. A pointed, small head paired with wide shoulders points to a Heart type.
Next, we take a look at the face. If there are undertones of green in the face, the Liver is the organ that we need to access. A pale face is a sign of Lung deficiency. Kidney types have a certain blackness to their face-they may have black circles under their eyes, or just a darkness throughout their complexion. Heart constitutions have a reddish hue, and Spleen people are yellowish.
The eyes are often referred to as the "window to the soul." I don't know if that is true or not, but they are definitely a window to your state of health. Bright, clear eyes indicate good shen (overall spirit and vitality). Dull, cloudy eyes can mean that recovery will be more difficult to attain. This can also be a sign of emotional issues, or mental disturbance.