Holistic medicine seeks to understand the entire picture of the patient’s health—body, mind and spirit—in order to provide complete healing. But how can a practitioner assess a patient on all 3 levels in a brief amount of time?
Modifying a Traditional Chinese Medicine method called The 10 Questions, I developed a simple and direct way to accomplish this. These 10 Questions illuminate different areas of health. As the patient answers, a pattern emerges that reveals the diagnosis. Let’s look at the questions and what it shows about your health.
- Do You Have Pain? Where? Is it constant or irregular? Is it dull or sharp? These questions highlight whether this is pain connected to an underlying systemic problem such as poor blood circulation or weak organ function.
- Do You Tend to Feel Too Hot or Too Cold? If so, this shows an imbalance in metabolism. People with too much heat in their bodies often have high blood pressure, insomnia, agitation, and toxic blood & organs. People who are cold often have low blood pressure, fatigue, dizziness, and stabbing pain.
- How Are You Sleeping? Hardly anyone reports sleeping soundly all night. Stress plays a huge role in insomnia. It overwhelms the liver and heart. Excessive dreaming is another sign of emotional and organ distress. This is often where the spiritual health of the patient shows up. People can have blinders on regarding how much strain they’re really enduring, but these health inquiries gently reveal how deeply they are struggling.
- What is Your Energy Level? Lots of sleep but constant low energy is a sign of deficiency in the spleen and kidneys. Not much sleep but lots of energy anyway usually indicates someone who is spiritually fulfilled.
- Do You Have Any Heart or Lung Concerns? Asthma flaring up or your heart skipping a beat is worth reporting—those are things that need to be monitored. Besides assessing lung, heart and kidney health, I also look for signs of emotional distress such as being easily startled, sighing a lot, and shallow breathing. .
- How is Your Digestion? Symptoms such as acid reflux, bloating, belching and cramping indicate problems with the diet. Cravings for different foods imply weaknesses in different organs. Obesity may imply underlying distress (feeling emotionally undernourished, or guarded and defensive). Many people ask if acupuncture helps weight loss. Yes, it does, because we can address all of these mind-body-spirit concerns at the same time.
- Do You Have Any Problems with Urination? Waking up in the night to urinate, and going too frequently throughout the day is a sign of kidney weakness. Women with chronic urinary tract infections may have a candida overgrowth problem. Many men struggle with urinary function due to an enlarged prostate. I have come to specialize in these areas because they are such underserved populations and the treatment is so effective.
- Do You Have a Bowel Movement Every Day? It’s not a very sexy topic, but your bowel movements say quite a lot about your health. Chronic constipation shows an intolerance to the food you are eating, and too much heat in the body. Heat comes from fried food and alcohol, and also feelings of anger and resentment, or a strong drive to succeed. Chronic loose stools show weak spleen and kidney function, and often a worried mind. Alternating constipation and diarrhea reveals high stress levels and an overtaxed liver.
- What is Your Menstruation Like/Do You Have any Erectile Function Concerns? A woman’s menstrual patterns reveal the health of her liver, kidneys, and uterus. If these organs are struggling, it is nearly impossible to feel emotionally centered. For men age 50+, prostate health becomes a primary concern. Difficulty maintaining an erection shows kidney problems and usually leads to frustration and depression. I also inquire about a patient’s sex drive. This reflects the health of the heart and kidneys, and may also indicate whether they feel connected and supported in their relationships. It is often a key player in the mind-body-spirit balance.
- How Has Your Mood Been? I save this question for last because it usually leads to a discussion about what is really going on in a patient’s life. Frustration at work, worry over a sick loved one, financial stress, difficult relationships… this is at the center of a patient’s health. Giving a person a safe, private place to talk is sometimes the best healing a practitioner can offer.