CBShiatsu and Classical Diagnosis
By Tim Mulvagh MRSS(T), MBAc, MRCHM
CBShiatsu relies on a holistic view of the patient. This includes an understanding and appreciation of their past history, their current circumstances, environment and activities, emotional state, current condition, complete palpatory diagnosis and so on.
A central tenet of CBShiatsu is that diagnosis of any one part of the body, be it the hara, the channel, a diagnostic point or the tongue, is only truly meaningful within the context of an understanding of all the other diagnostic indicators. That is to say that to feel the hara or to view the tongue by themselves - although the entire energy system is said to be reflected in each of these areas - is not in itself the whole picture. Secondly, the very process of using all the main diagnostic indicators takes the practitioner through the landscape of the patients body-mind. Classical diagnosis is like a guided tour of the patient and when done by a centered practitioner, is nothing less than a treatment in itself because it guides the practitioner´s energy to "the place" where the treatment is needed. This is very profound and is one of the reasons for the great variety of diagnostic skills found in oriental medicine. If on the other hand one relies on one indicator alone, say the hara, one may well find that the Spleen is kyo and the Small Intestine is jitsu and this of course will guide the practitioner to focus on these channels in general, but unless extremely gifted and experienced, it would be easy for a peactitioner to underestimate the significance of what they are feeling and indeed pass over or even miss altogether "the place" to treat.
In terms of classical diagnisis one might say that the process of diagnosis as impiortant as the diagnosis itself. I am reminded here of the Aboriginal practice of the Walk-about. Here the person learns how to walk their world; it is considered a deeply spiritual practice. Through the Walk-about a person not only learns about the environment but they deepen their connection with that environment until some kind of unity and harmony is reached between that person and their world. The Walker and the Walked become one, both supporting and fulfilling each other. The same is true of classical diagnosis, the practitioner, through diagnosis, "walks the world" of the patient and as he walks he develops a profound connection them. The therapeutic connection is made from the harmony created between the two, through which the healing process arises. If we only use one diagnostic indicator we may well be able to get a glance of the whole but we may miss the opportunity to truly get in touch with its entirety.
Classical diagnosis arises out of the profound undertanding of energetic anatomy and physiology described in the classics of oriental medicine. It calls on the practitioner to use all of the senses in its process. Its is said to have "four pillars" that of looking, listening and smelling, asking and of course palpating. The sense of taste is considered within the context of the five flavors (pungent, sweet, bitter, salty and sour), which is important when considering diet and herbal medicine.
The depth, development and seriousness of the patient's state is understood by the practitioner through making the journey of diagnosis and treatment arises spontaneously from this process.
It is not enough just to understand what is happening, nor is it enough to just feel what is happening, the trick is - and I thinks its the same with most things in life - is to actually "be" there, fully present in the right place at the right time. Classical diagnosis will take you the practitioner to "the place" of treatment and it is in this way our diagnosis, experience, action and treatment unite.