Sounds (Listening) and Odors (Smelling) in TCM Acupuncture Theory

Listening to a persons voice and noticing any particular body odors that they may have are a basic part of the "Four Examinations" in Chinese medicine. Along with the more precise diagnostic tools such as pulse and tongue diagnosis, listening and smelling provide valuable input to form an appropriate TCM diagnosis.

While used more as a casual observation by most TCM practitioners, listening and smelling form an integral part of the Classical Five Element color, sound, odor and emotion (CSOE) method of diagnosis.

Listening Diagnosis - Voice and Breath

sudden loss of voice wind heat

gradual loss of voice lu qi or yin def

loud excess

soft deficiency

reluctance to speak cold or def

excessive speaking heat or excess

element - meridian
shouting wood - lv

laughing fire - ht

singsong earth - sp

crying metal - lu

groaning water - kd

Smelling Diagnosis - Body Odors

strong scent heat

bad breath st heat a/or food stagnation

strong smelling stools heat and dampness

strong smelling urine heat and dampness

element - meridian
rancid wood - lv

burnt fire - ht

sweet earth - sp

rank metal - lu

putrid water - kd

Sources and More Information

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience.

For a complete list of valuable resources, see our (TCM) Chinese Acupuncture Resources section. The most recommended texts are below: