The integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Western health systems and research requires a rational communicable theory, scientific proof of efficacy and safety, and quality control measures. The existence of clear definitions and the diagnosis standardization are critical factors to establish the patient’s vegetative functional status accurately and, therefore, systematically apply TCM therapeutics such as the stimulation of reflex skin areas known as acupoints. This science-based conceptualization entails using validated methods, or even developing new systems able to parameterize the diagnosis and assess TCM related effects by objective measurements.
Traditionally, tongue and pulse diagnosis and the functional evaluation of action points by pressure sensitivity and physical examination may be regarded as essential diagnostic tools. Parameterizing these techniques is a future key point in the objectification of TCM diagnosis, such as by electronic digital image analysis, mechanical pulse diagnostic systems, or the systematic evaluation of acupoints’ electrophysiology. This review aims to demonstrate and critically analyze some achievements and limitations in the clinical application of device-assisted TCM diagnosis systems to evaluate functional physiological patterns. Despite some limitations, tongue, pulse, and electrophysiological diagnosis devices have been reported as a useful tool while establishing a person’s functional status.
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