Ten Health Criteria in TCM

In TCM, there are ten health criteria. 

1) Sound sleep
Healthy people should sleep until dawn without any interruption unless there are unusual things in life that prevent them from falling asleep, but only temporarily. 

If one had to wake up and pee, he should fall back to sleep immediately afterward. He may dream at night but should not keep thinking about it after waking up. He ought to feel refreshed and energetic in the morning.

Common sleep problems include the following:

  1. Wake up at a fixed time, e.g., 1:30 am, and then cannot fall back asleep no matter what until 3 am- this indicates liver problems and is a precursor of liver cancer. 
  2. Wake up at a fixed time, e.g., 4 am, and cannot fall back asleep till 5- this indicates liver problems and is a precursor of lung cancer. 
  3. Hard to fall asleep but easily awoken, or wake up often at night, but not at any particular time- this indicates problems in the heart function.
  4. Wake up at night due to discomfort in other parts of the body, such as coughing and stomachache.
  5. Sleep long hours but still feels very tired after waking up; this indicates the body’s essence is depleting.

If your sleep becomes worse after taking any medicines, regardless of Chinese or Western, you should stop it; if your sleep increasingly improves, you should continue taking them. 

Clinically 100% of cancer patients have insomnia. When treating cancer patients, a top priority is finding a way to make them fall asleep.

2) Good appetite
A healthy appetite is feeling hungry around mealtime, eating a reasonable amount of food, and feel full afterward.

A good appetite is essential because the body’s immunity depends on the spleen and stomach’s proper functioning. 

Common abnormalities include:

  1. Have no desire to eat, such as what happened to Steve Jobs during the last few years, where he continued to emaciate due to pancreatic cancer. 
  2. Inability to eat despite a good appetite, which is a sign of stomach problems.
  3. Eat a lot, get hungry soon afterward, and immediately must eat again. This is a manifestation of diabetes.

3)  Timely bowel movement- between 5-7 am
Healthy people should visit the restroom first in the morning and have at least one bowel movement a day. The feces should be formed; one ought to feel comfortable and relaxed after the bowel movement without a sense of unfinished business.

During sleep, a person’s body actively engages in detoxing, and the toxins would accumulate in the urine, stool, and pores ready for discharge. When visiting the toilet in the morning, it is perfect timing to remove these toxins.

The most common anomaly is no daily bowel movement in the morning. If it happens every 3, 4 days or longer, help is needed.

Constipation can be divided into two types in TCM:

  1. Constipation with no pain
  2. Constipation with a bellyache

Constipation could cause many other problems. For example, most patients in the mental hospital suffer from constipation. One TCM classics mentioned that the intestinal odor from constipation would overshoot to the brain and cause neurological disorders.

4) Urinate 5-7 times a day
Healthy people should urinate about 5 – 7 times a day, and less in the summer because of the sweating. The color of the urine is light yellow. It is Ok for the first urine in the morning to be darker. While urinating, there should be no pain or burning sensation. 

To generate adequate urination, one needs to drink a minimum of 1.2 liters (41 oz) of water a day, including a large glass of water right after getting up in the morning.

Common anomalies include frequent urination, inadequate urination, deep-yellow or turbid urination. 

5) Warm palm and sole
Healthy people should have warm palms and soles all year round, while the back of the hands and feet need to remain cool.

The heart sends heat to all parts of the body; the hands and feet are the farthest from the heart. So cold feet suggest a problem between the heart and feet. It may be the reduced heart function or blocked heat transportation channel.

A common characteristic among men with prostate problems, women with uterine issues, and girls with menstrual pain is cold feet.

If your feet are always warm, you will never have to worry about any heart problems. 

6) Sexual arousal in the morning
When a healthy woman wakes up in the morning, her breasts would be sensitive, and a man would have an erection, a.k.a the morning wood. 

For people taking WM drugs for lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, or triglycerides-practically anything to reduce specific body parameters, it would cause the morning wood to disappear over time.

7) Healthy nail print
Ideally, one should have 4-5 crescents at the nails’ base on each hand, as shown in the picture below.

From the thumb to the ring finger, the crescent size should diminish, and it is ok if the pinkie does not have one. The nail print height should be about 2mm from the root and decrease from the thumb to ring finger.

Abnormal nail prints include few crescents and small print sizes.
8) Healthy gums
Observe whether the gum covers the root of the teeth and if the gum’s color is rosy. The more severe the disease, the more exposed the teeth’s root, and the darker the gums will be. 

Unhealthy gum condition includes gum recession or overexposed gums.

9) Normal Thirst
Healthy people should feel a little thirsty and have a desire to drink every day. Also, one feels more comfortable drinking water at room temperature. 

Abnormal thirst includes the following cases:

  1. Craves hot or icy water.
  2. Dink excessively and urinate soon after drinking
  3. Have no desire to drink the whole day

10) Perspiration
A healthy person should sweat when exercising, eating spicy food, or drinking hot tea. In other words, sweat when you are supposed to sweat but not under other circumstances, such as

  1. Do not sweat all year round, especially in the sultry summer, 
  2. Sweat even if sitting with no physical activity, and the sweating is not related to the heat. 
  3. “Night Sweat”- wake up in the morning and find oneself covered with sweat, and feel uncomfortable.