As one of my teachers used to say "The body signs will never lie. People may lie, but you must trust in the tongue and pulse." The longer I am in practice, the more I realize the truth behind that statement. For example, I often have patients who come in complaining of all the signs and symptoms of anemia, or what we like to call in Chinese Medicine, Blood Deficiency. The patient may have fatigue, sensation of cold, hair loss, insomnia, and dizziness when standing up too quickly. Moreover, upon examination their tongue color would be pale, their pulse very thin, which are all defining characteristics of Blood Deficiency. But because their doctor has told them that their blood levels are within the clinical range of "normal," these patients have a hard time believing they are still blood deficient.
Or on the other end of the spectrum, some patients keep going back to their doctors time and again because they feel indisputable symptoms. But the blood tests keep coming back negative for any anomalies, so their doctors dismiss the patient's concerns, leading many of these patients to seek alternative treatments. Case in point, a patient came to me because she was having uncontrollable weight gain (over 20 lb within 3-4 months). At the doctor's advice, she had tried dieting, exercising, taking supplements, and after months of severe 1200 calorie, no carb, very low-fat dieting, and months of exercising regularly, she was still only able to maintain but not lose the weight she had gained. Since blood tests for her thyroid levels showed normal, doctors passed it off as a side effect of being in peri-menopause. After examining this patient, I found her to have a very sluggish, low-energy pulse, a purple colored tongue with teethmarked edges, and along with reported symptoms of constipation, brain fog, poor memory, fatigue, and dryness of the skin and hair, she clearly had issues with insufficient thyroid function, no matter what the blood test said.