Observation of appearances can include the shape of the body, movements, and posture. If this is a patient of yours, and you notice that they dropped 20 lbs., you are going to question this. Even if they are on a diet plan, you still want to be sure that how they are losing weight is in a healthy way. Or, was it due to a lengthy illness? An over weight person is considered a damp condition, and a deficiency of Qi. Movements and postures can tell you about the disease, too. Are they quiet and slow moving, with head down? Or, is their neck extended forward? Wei Qi deficiencies will show weaknesses, atrophy of muscles, or motor impairment.
Each Yin organ opens up to one of the senses: Liver to the eyes, Lung to the nose, Kidney to the ears, Stomach and Spleen to the mouth, lips and gums. Heart rules the Mind.
When you are observing the eyes, you will look for brightness and sparkle, whites are clear and the proper amount of moistness. Pathology will show up in the sclera as yellow, if jaundiced, redness and swelling could be from wind and heat, or both, and if the eyes are turning in the wrong direction, that is a disturbance of Liver Wind.
The nose when healthy is not stuffy, red, dripping, or have the ala nasi flapping as in those with asthma who are breathing harder. When the discharge is clear, it is an exposure to Wind Cold, and if yellow and thick it is a Wind Heat. If the discharge has an odor to it, it is probably a chronic condition.
Ears will typically show discoloration and when that color is dark, it is from a consumption of Kidney Essence. If there is a discharge from the ear, or infection, it is a damp heat condition.
Pale gums indicate a Blood deficiency, but red gums are from Stomach Heat, and if the gums are bleeding it has escalated to Stomach Fire.
Lips and mouth will be similar in diagnosis as the gums, pale equaling Blood deficiency, etc. Excessive heat will dry them out, and may have cracks in them, as well.
If the heat accumulates in the throat, that could be from a combination of Stomach heat and heat from the Lungs, and the throat will be red and swollen. Add white or yellow spots to it and that indicates a toxicity.
Tomorrow I will write about the tongue because that is a whole topic in itself.