Traditional Chinese Medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

At the Center for Natural Healing Hawaii, Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff is a licensed doctor of oriental medicine and licensed acupuncturist that practices Chinese Medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

In traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, one’s constitution is considered in every aspect. A seasoned practitioner of TCM in Hawaii can learn so much about the health and lifestyle of a patient by closely observing every aspect, characteristic, and mannerism of a person.

This includes their general appearance, the patient’s physical shape, their manner, the way they behave and the state of their “Shen, or spirit. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the licensed acupuncturist, or doctor of Oriental medicine (DOM) (of which Dr. Ostroff has both distinctions) will look at the whole patient and utilize the five senses when formulating a diagnosis and treatment plan for her patients.

A thorough tongue and pulse diagnosis are used in Chinese acupuncture by the practitioners of oriental medicine to determine the state of health or disease in each patient.

Additionally, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine will evaluate the emotional tone and tendencies of the patient, which are regarded as significant in Chinese medicine and are often thought to be of a causal nature in regard to the basic state of health.

example of Traditional Chinese medicine in Hawaii

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment and Evaluation

Along with a thorough tongue and pulse diagnosis, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine will evaluate the emotional tone and tendencies of the patient, which are regarded as significant in Chinese medicine and are often thought to be of a causal nature in regard to the basic state of health.

Treatment of symptoms and underlying causes of illness in traditional Chinese medicine can include Chinese acupuncture and high-quality medicinal herbs, such as special Chinese herbs. The focus on holistic health and herbal medicine makes oriental medicine in Hawaii (TCM) popular with people who are seeking alternative medicine options.

Additionally, In traditional Chinese medicine, the five-element theory is employed, as well as the yin/yang theory. The goal of the acupuncturist and TCM practitioner is to restore the balance of the body.

It is for this reason that Dr.Ostroff, an experienced practitioner of acupuncture and oriental medicine, will take time to get to know you and learn how she can support you in attaining the health and life that you truly desire.

What is Included in Our Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Plan


Tongue Examination


Pulse Diagnosis




Yin Examination


Yang Examination


Chinese Herbal Medicine


Qi Gong


Observations of Vitality, or Qi


Observations of the Shen

Check Out Our Reviews for Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments:

“But, Doctor Joy knew right away what I had and was able to test which remedies would work best for my body. She is highly trained in the classic principles of Chinese Medicine and has methods to ENSURE that the remedies she picks are the right match for everyone. She not only gives you the tools that you need to turn your health around, but she educates you on how to maintain healthy habits that create lasting results that you can feel!”

Nissa G.

Read the full review here

She offers a holistic approach and has guided us through a detoxification process to optimize the health of our organs and our entire body with the use of acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, thermography, herbal/homeopathic medicine, etc. Unlike traditional doctors, I feel like Dr. Joy really listens to her patients and spends ample time understanding our overall health and wellbeing. With her guidance, my husband and I are on a path of optimal health.”

April R.

Read the full review here

I am glad she’s applied acupuncture thousands of times before me…I don’t even feel the needles go in! I knock out and feel even more amazing afterwards. Her spine and neck adjustments are gentle and you can tell she’s a pro. I have been seeing Dr. Joy for about 6 months or so, and I now am taking my son to see her for the first time, in October. Go see Dr. Ostroff, you will not regret it if you follow through on your treatment of care plan.”

Heather S.

Read the full review here

Example of TCM Oriental medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii

A Practitioner’s Approach to Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hawaii

Traditional Chinese medicine teaches us that all disease begins with emotions. This amazing system of healing and medical practice incorporates emotions with organs of the body, elements in nature, foods that balance or create imbalance, and our sensory organs, and it weaves them all together. The general emotional state of a person in balance will be calm, patient, relaxed, and well-mannered. In contrast, someone who is out of balance or experiencing disharmony within the body, mind, or spirit may experience variations of the above.

For example, a person who tends toward depression is frequently known to have disturbances in their body’s digestive processes. The associated organs would be the spleen, pancreas, and stomach. The person may over-consume sugar or carbohydrates, have damp, clammy skin, and feel bloated.

A person who is typically angry or irritated may have an imbalance or disease of the liver or gall bladder. They may be prone to drinking alcohol or excessive caffeine or consume other toxins that impair liver function. They may have signs of excess heat or hypertension. A person with tendencies toward lung disease, may express the emotion of grief. They often wake between three and five a.m., unable to release their feelings of grief and despair.

Over-excitability or heartache is often associated with the heart and sadness which is associated with kidney and bladder function. These are overgeneralizations, as individuals are extremely complex and complicated, and so many things affect our emotions regularly. However, maintaining a calm, relaxed, even pleasant state seems to be the key to good health. 

Observations and Examinations Conducted by The Chinese Medicine Practioner

Pulse Diagnosis

With pulse diagnosis, there are six pulse positions on each radial pulse—three superficial and three deep—each corresponding to a different organ system. By palpating the pulses at the six positions and determining the quality of the pulse, the practitioner is able to determine the health and energy of the organs and the vitality of the patient.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Tongue Examination

A doctor of TCM will also be experienced in examining the tongue and feeling the pulse. This is referred to as a Traditional Chinese medicine pulse and tongue diagnosis. In Traditional Chinese medicine, the tongue reveals the qualities of health or disharmony in the body. It is a very reliable source of diagnosis for those proficient in reading the subtle signs it reveals.

In traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese herbal medicine, the body is separated into three segments: the upper burner, containing the heart and lungs; the middle burner, which houses the stomach, spleen, liver, and gall bladder; and the lower burner, containing the urinary bladder and kidneys.

Whereas in a naturopathic diagnosis, the tongue coating will be a reflection of the stomach, in TCM, there are many more noteworthy characteristics, including the color of both the body and the coating (otherwise called fur), the distribution of the coating, the distribution of petechiae on the tongue, the pattern of lines on the tongue and the direction that the tongue points.

The two aspects of the tongue that are evaluated are the body of the tongue, which is examined for its color, shape, size, and the way it moves (is it quivering, strong, bent, or difficult to protrude.)

  • A healthy tongue is pale red or pink and somewhat moist. This tongue profile represents abundant blood and smoothly moving Qi, or energy. If the tongue maintains its normal color during illness, it is a good sign, indicating that the energy and blood flow of the person has not been largely affected. 
  • A pale tongue indicates a deficiency of blood and or qi, energy deficiency or excess cold. A red tongue body indicates an excess heat condition in the body. This may be seen in women going through menopause or those with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, extra weight, or high triglycerides. 
  • A scarlet red tongue points to an even more excess condition of the above, and a purple tongue usually indicates that the Qi and blood are not moving harmoniously in the body. In those with a purple tongue body, there may be congealed blood, such as clot formation or other stagnant conditions. 
  • The coating on the tongue, referred to as moss or fur, is a reflection of the spleen in TCM, which encompasses all of the processes related to digestion, or the transformation and transportation of food and fluid in the body.
  • Healthy tongue coating is thin and white, almost transparent. However, in imbalanced states, the tongue moss varies in thickness, color, texture, and general appearance. In illness, a thin coating on a sickly person may indicate extreme deficiency or weakness, while thick moss nearly always indicates excess. 

Color is also an important aspect of diagnosis and treatment in Traditional Chinese medicine. A yellow coating typically correlates with excess heat, phlegm, and bacteria. In contrast, a thick white coating may reflect a cold condition in the body or a virus. Black or extreme darkness may signify kidney impairment, while purple reflects stagnation and red reflects heat. These color patterns can be seen on the tongue and sometimes in the eyes, skin, and nails. 

Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine in Hawaii, will complete a thorough tongue examination during your visit.

Observations of Vitality, or Qi

The Vitality, or Qi, is perhaps one of the most relevant factors observed by a practitioner of Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM. Qi is measured in terms of consistency and appropriateness. Having appropriate and adequate energy or vital force to perform a day’s work, with the ability to relax the mind and body in time for a restful sleep, is ideal. When a person feels sluggish during the day, or ready to party at ten p.m each night, there is likely an imbalance of Qi.

Qi will correspond to their health and longevity.

The quality of one’s Qi will correspond to their health and longevity, and Qi patterns can be examined and evaluated during a TCM diagnosis. The Qi of the vital organs is closely examined by the practitioner using pulse and tongue diagnosis, and both acupuncture and herbal medicine are used to bring balance and vitality to each organ in need. If one is fortunate to have a practitioner well versed in Naturopathic medicine, bringing balance to each vital organ is managed with comprehensive efficiency and effectiveness, as long as the patient has not waited too long to be seen.

Observations of the Shen

Observation of the Shen, or spirit, means observing a patient’s facial expression, posture, speech, responsiveness, the look and shine of the eyes, the appropriateness of reaction, and the clarity of thought. If the personality is vital, the eyes will shine with aliveness, indicating a harmonious Shen.

In contrast, eyes without luster or a dull expression may indicate depletion or disharmony within the person’s body/mind/spirit. These usually coincide with one another as the holism of the individual is synchronous. In other words, a healthy spirit usually reflects a healthy balanced individual. While someone may appear to be in good physical health, if there is disharmony in their spirit, the person is, in fact, not in balance. 

Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff is trained in the fundamentals, knowledge, and skills of Chinese medicine and diagnosis (a well-respected alternative medicine to the western approach of medicine within the United States) and incorporates these principles into diagnosis and treatment.

Balance: Yin and Yang

There are two general yet relevant aspects of TCM called Yin and Yang. These terms are used to describe the overriding characteristics of a person in stature, temperament, sex, energy, personality, and health or dis-ease. These two aspects are covered by most practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in Hawaii.


Yang is a term used to describe the general characteristics of the sun or vitality and energy in its most balanced state. Men are typically more Yang, with a more robust, natural vital force; they are bigger, warmer, bolder, stronger, weigh more, and have greater muscle, bone, and hormonal energy.

Some possible examples of a yang imbalance will be a patient who is hot of has excessive sweating, high blood pressure tendencies, hyperthyroidism, a big appetite and heavy bleeding. Their tongue might be dark red and have a thick coating, and the pulses might be bounding.


Whereas women are often more Yin. They are typically softer, more delicate, and smaller in structure, density and size. They are thought to be more mild-mannered and less severe (though that has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades). When in balance, a man will have a combination of yin and yang energy, still predominant in yang, while a woman will have a combination of yin and yang energy, where her yin is dominant. 

In the case of a patient with a yin condition, they will tend to be cold, weaker, frail, thin, have a light menstrual flow and difficulty in conceiving, as well as tendencies toward deficiency conditions like hypothyroid or low blood pressure. The tongue will be pale and have a thin geographic or absent coating. The pulses will be difficult to palpate, hidden or light.

TCM and Organs

Each organ in TCM has an associated color, smell, taste, emotion, and relevant season. For example, conditions in which there is yellowing of the skin, eyes, tongue fir, or discharges illude to dampness or damp heat if extreme yellow-orange. These conditions usually lead back to digestion, which indicates an imbalance in the stomach, spleen, or pancreas. The patient with this condition may prefer sweet foods, and their general emotional state is often melancholy. Their ideal season is the late summer.

The Six Pernicious Influences

The environment, aspects of weather, and seasonal patterns play a part in both diagnosis and treatment in Traditional Chinese medicine. These environmental factors are referred to as the six Pernicious Influences. They include the climactic phenomena, wind, cold, fire, heat, dampness, dryness, and summer heat. Temperature extremes are not a huge issue when the person is in balance, and their yin and yang are in harmony. 

However, when an individual is suffering, extreme aspects of weather and temperature change can become severe and almost debilitating. For example, an elderly woman who has become weak and frail will not withstand wind or cold temperatures. An obese person will find cold climates inviting, while they may be intolerant to heat.


The acupuncture treatments will be determined by the tongue and pulse diagnosis, as well as other physical and emotional manifestations. The goal is to restore balance, health, and vitality in the individual. It is also important to note that acupuncture can be used to help treat addictions, and Cupping is used to relax tense muscles from strain.

Herbal Formulas and Qi gong 

Herbal formulations of plants can help with infections within the body, and Acupressure can promote better blood circulation. At the Center for Natural Healing in Hawaii, Qi gong is incorporated in many of our treatment plans which incorporates adjustments to posture and body movements that can help with mental health and focus. Most of our traditional Chinese medicine in Hawaii is carried out by Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff.

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