Chinese Medical Palmistry
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This is an introductory guide to the practical application of Chinese medical palmistry. Visual examination by the unaided eye is one of the four basic methods of diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. The Su Wen (Simple Questions), one of the oldest and most authoritative classics of Chinese medicine, says that, “If something happens on the interior of the body, it must be reflected on the exterior of the body.” Although visual examination within Chinese medicine usually focuses on examining the face, inspecting any areas of the body which are diseased, and especially examining the tongue, in China in recent years there has been renewed interest in examining the hands, palms, and fingernails.
One of the characteristics of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a belief that the part contains the whole. Although Chinese medicine is very old, in the West, this idea is considered very modern and is called holism, as in holistic health. This is also where we get the word hologram. In holography, one can shine a laser through a part of a holographic image and reproduce the entire image.
Similarly, Chinese doctors for millenia have believed that there are maps of the entire body on various parts of the body. These maps can be used to diagnose the corresponding body parts and, in some cases, such as with hand and ear acupuncture, to even treat those corresponding parts. Technically, these maps are called homunculi or little men. For instance, Chinese doctors believe there are homunculi on the ear, face, eyes, nose, hands, and feet. Some modern Chinese doctors have even found homunculi which can be used to both diagnose and treat the entire body on the metacarpal bone attached to the index finger and on the femur of the upper leg. This belief that there are maps of the entire body on various parts of the body can be called a type of bio–holography. Thus the idea that one might be able to diagnose patients in part by palmistry is not such a far–fetched one in TCM. In fact, shou zhen or hand diagnosis is one of the age–old accepted sub–divisions of visual diagnosis within TCM and is included in such modern TCM diagnostic manuals as Zhong Guo Yi Xue Zhen Fa Da Quan (A Great Collection of Chinese Medical Diagnostic Methods) published in 1991.