Acupuncture Assessment Part One (Patterns of Disharmony)by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 08/31/11
Over the years, I have had a number of patients come in who had seen other acupuncturists before coming to see me. Many times I would hear something like, "My acupuncturist said that there's something wrong with my kidneys." After taking their history, and doing a physical exam, I will sit down and discuss their diagnosis. Most of the time, it turns out that there was never anything wrong with their kidneys, but rather they had a syndrome such as Kidney Yang Deficiency or Kidney Yin Deficiency.
In acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OM), a syndrome is not a disease, but rather it represents an overall pattern of imbalalnce in the body's physiology. A syndrome refers to a summary of the 'pathological changes at that stage [of the disease or dis-ease]." (1) I reiterate: it's important to understand that a syndrome is not a disease. A person may have no "morbid pathology" at all, but may still be diagnosed with a syndrome. These syndromes will have names such as Liver Qi Stagnation, Kidney Yang Deficiency, or Damp Bi Syndrome. These names are not diseases but rather simply names for patterns of imbalance in the body.
(1) Advanced Textbook of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology, Volume 1. Cai Jingfeng, editor. New World Press, Beijing, 1995, p. 160.