Archive for the ‘Pulse-Palpation’ Category
Pulse diagnosis is among the more difficult aspects of Chinese medicine to master. One reason for this is incomplete education.
In this article, pulse qualities are described, along with the mechanisms behind these findings and of course their therapeutic indications.
Understanding mechanisms simplifies this study greatly. Complex pulses such as the soggy (ru mai) aren’t so complex when you understand the basis for it’s quantifiable parameters.
Making pulse diagnosis doable by breaking down complex qualities into very quantifiable perceptions.
Early on in my own CM training, I began to recognize the value of getting very clear on underlying theories and mechanisms. As a practitioner, understanding mechanisms allows you much more flexibility in the use of herbal medicines as well.
One of the more frustrating problems Chinese medicine folks have in the English speaking world is getting past translations of pulse terms to arrive at less ambiguous descriptions of these different pulses.
The Normal Pulse The normal pulse is defined as: neither deep nor superficial, wide nor thin, forceful nor forceless, with a regular rhythm, between 60-90 beats per minute.
These first six pairs of ridiculously simple pulse measurements don’t rely on intuition, self-cultivation, or psychic abilities.
Depth: deep-superficial The deep pulse is associated with either a deficiency of yang qi to lift the pulse upward, or an obstruction to the yang qi that prevents it from rising systemically and lifting the pulse.
The slow pulse is due to a deficiency of pulse power as manifest in its rate rather than strength.
Rhythm: rhythmic-arrhythmic Again, this comes down to the Heart’s yang (or qi in the absence of cold symptoms) from flowing smoothly.
If there is one pulse quality that should be a take-home message, it is this. The forceful pulse suggests excess, the forceless pulse suggests deficiency.