Overview on pattern identification – History, nature and strategies for treating patients: A narrative review

Stephen Birch*, Terje Alraek, Mark Bovey, Myeong Soo Lee, Ju Ah Lee, Chris Zaslawski, Nicola Robinson, Tae Hun Kim, Zhaoxiang BIAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), various systems of practice exist that have used different theories to guide their practice. Although data gathering has been limited to what can be observed by the four examinations - si zhen, the different systems of practice have focused on different observational data to make diagnostic decisions and choose corresponding treatments. The organization of the data into patterns has led to what is called Pattern Identification based systems of practice (PIs). Methods: The range of systems, theories, treatments and PIs were explored in order to highlight important issues for researchers to consider in performing PI based research Results: Expert opinions, scholarly and clinical literature on the key issues which compose ‘pattern identification’ (PI) were identified with respect to the history, development, nature and the different strategies used by different PIs for diagnosing and treating patients. Conclusion: It is important for researchers to understand these issues so as not to weaken their results and findings, whether conducting survey-based research, clinical trial research, laboratory studies or seeking to influence teaching and practice. This is the first in a series of papers by the international Pattern Identification Network Group (iPING) helping to clarify the area of research on PIs and which seek to expand lines of research on PIs so that teaching, practice, clinical and laboratory research can be more consequential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101101
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Narrative review
  • Pattern identification
  • Syndrome identification
  • Traditional East Asian medicine


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