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Has anyone ever treated cellulitis - Western diagnosis is a skin bacterial infection which can result from numerous causes eg diabetes, low immune system, cut/graze on skin.....

Where would this fall in the grand scheme of TCM theory when trying to explain to a patient. I appreciate that tongue/pulse is important in diagnostics but just a general idea is all I seek.


A lot will depend on the whole patient, pulse, tongue, and of course the presentation of the cellulitis. Being able to see the area itself is pretty helpful. Likely, there will be a degree of heat toxicity, damp, possibly wind, and blood stasis. The other underlying issues you mentioned of course are evaluated as well.


Hi - thanks for your reply. I completely agree about pulse tongue etc. - I was just curious if it had been assigned any syndrome diffs such as with gallstones - liver fire/liver gallbladder damp etc. etc. It is highly unlikely that I will be treating the lady concerned - I was merely curious.


To my knowledge, I don&#39t know of any specific sources that discuss the pathology of cellulitis. I think it is good to point out though that when a source does discuss a particular disease and typical patterns presented with that disease, there is still the possibility that a patient with said disease, will have none of those patterns. For example, I have read many TCM sources about headaches that don&#39t even discuss neck problems associated with headaches. MOST of the people I see with headaches have associated neck pain/disc issues! This is why I think pulse diagnosis is so very important. The pulse can give a more clear picture of what is going on with the body. It is very accurate when used properly. I can&#39t tell you how many times I see a patient who describes symptoms of a pattern but their pulse doesn&#39t match it at all.

Another great diagnostic feature that is underutilized in my opinion is auricular diagnosis.

Hope that helps!


Hi - I concur with everything you say. That&#39s why I both love and hate TCM ..... what we are taught to use as diagnostic tools don&#39t necessarily reflect the whole picture. Its very frustrating. Re pulse diagnosis - there are so many styles of this that I find this quite difficult. I have used auricular diagnosis but must say I don&#39t find it particularly easy and sometimes I find people are a little uncomfortable at having someone peering into their ear! Maybe sometimes we look too deeply and over-analyse?


I&#39m glad to hear that I am not the only one who feels this way! The best thing to do is look for masters in a particular field and study with them. It&#39s great to be idealistic and learn all kinds of theory, but at the end of the day we need results. I have found that studying with master clinicians is the way to go. Some of the clinicians I study see upwards of 60-70 patients per day. The herbal master I study with sees a new patient every 8 minutes!

Another inherent problem I see with TCM (and don&#39t get me wrong, I still love TCM) is that it relies very heavily on what the patient tells you. This is just not reliable. What is burning pain to one, is dull to another, is sharp to another, feels tingly to another, etc. This is why I really study the pulse. The pulse doesn&#39t lie and it&#39s not subjective. If you really want to learn a great method of pulse, look up courses by Dr. Jimmy Chang. I started studying his pulse diagnosis about a year ago. Here is an example of a conversation I had with a patient today:

"Can I feel your pulse?" "Sure."

"Have you had pain in your ankles or knees lately?" "Yes"

"Have you felt a little to warm lately?" "Yes"

"You must get some palpitations and shortness of breath." "Yes"

"Do you get some painful or dark urination?" "Yes, it has been dark orange."

"You also have some nasal congestion correct?" "Yes."

It really is that accurate. This also makes herbal medicine much more simple. The pulse tells you what to do. There is no subjectivity involved. And I am definitely no expert at this, but I have talked with others who say that it really only took them a month or two to get good at this method. Honestly, you have probably felt a lot of these pulse already and just didn&#39t know what to call them. For a long time I studied TCM pulse and memorized repeatedly trying to figure out what was going on and sometime it just didn&#39t fit with what the books had. Jimmy&#39s pulse method explains all that. I am sure there are other great pulse practices out there, but this is just the one I gravitated to. Plus, I really hate the idea that you should have to spend years mastering this art. It&#39s really not that difficult.

Good luck in all you do!

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