As you know by now, there are many, many ways that we acupuncturists get clues as to what is going on inside of you. One of these ways is listening-and not just to your words. From the moment you walk into the office, the sounds you make are telling us more about your health than you ever thought possible. Let's start with breathing. Shallow, soft breathing is a sign that the patient has some sort of deficient syndrome. Loud, coarse breathing is a sign of excess. If the patient coughs frequently, it is a sign of a Lung issue-and we can further differentiate between syndromes depending upon the sound of the cough. A dry, weak cough can be a sign of Lung qi deficiency, while a loud, barking cough is more indicative of an excess pattern, such as Phlegm.
Did the patient boldly announce his arrival, with a voice that can be heard down the hallway? This is a sign of excess. Or did he come in timidly, speaking in a low, soft voice? A sign of deficiency. If the person comes in ranting about the traffic, the weather, the idiot driver who he flipped off for cutting into his lane...this is a sign of either Heat, or of a Liver imbalance. If, on the other hand, the person is ranting about the aliens who have made him late, think Heart imbalance, or Phlegm misting the mind. (I'm oversimplifying, of course-but a Heart imbalance could potentially come across as nonsensical ramblings or paranoia.)
You know how some people sound like they are singing, all the time? That sing-songy quality is indicative of a Spleen imbalance. If the person has a sad, sobbing tone in their voice, it points to a Lung issue. A person with a Heart issue or constitution will sound like they are continuously laughing. Lack of speech also points to a Heart issue, so if the patient has difficulty speaking, such as a stutter, think Heart. A Kidney voice has a sort of groaning, moaning quality. And a Liver person will sound like they are constantly shouting. Even when they aren't angry, they sound as if they are. If they are also emitting long, drawn-out sighs, it signifies Liver qi stagnation.