Why Do Acupuncturists Feel the Pulse?

Why do acupuncturists feel the pulse?

Feeling the pulse, as Abigail is doing in this photo, is one of the most important diagnostic tools Acupuncturists have.  It tells us what is going on inside of the body so we can tailor our treatments to each patient.

Many people think their Acupuncturist is taking their pulse, when in fact they are feeling their pulse.  The rate of the pulse is of course important, but the overall quality is what’s most telling.

We feel the pulse with three fingers placed over the radial artery on each wrist in three different positions, each of which reflects different organ systems.  We then feel these positions at 3 different depths, which tells us about what’s going on at the different levels of the patient’s body.  All together, there are 9 different positions on each wrist that is being examined.

Pulses can present with a number of different qualities which can tell us about the patient’s stress, pain, quality of blood and energy, imbalances in the organ systems, presence of pathogens and much more.  It is important for us to feel the pulse before each treatment to assess changes in the person since his or her last visit.  It also helps us choose the right point selection and herbal formulas.  Together with Tongue Diagnosis (more on that in a future blog post!), the quality of your pulse provides a glimpse inside your body, mind and spirit.  If you’re interested in learning more about what your pulse says about your overall health, ask your acupuncturist!

(Photo by Dave Clark Photography – all rights reserved; Post by Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac. of FLOAT: Chinese Medical Arts)

Honey-Sesame Chicken with Vegetables (Slow-Cooker Recipe)


As a busy working mom committed to serving my family real food at every meal, avoiding processed foods and eating organically with the seasons, I often rely on the slow-cooker for dinners.

When I plan ahead, I can usually come up with a quick-prep meal that will cook slowly at home while my kids are in preschool and my husband and I are at work. (Or when I’m home with the kids too busy breaking up sibling squabbles to watch a pot on the stove!)

There’s nothing quite like realizing it’s 5:00 pm, we’re all cranky and hungry, and dinner is already ready. It’s much easier to make a side of brown rice or quinoa and steam or saute a side of veggies, and serve it along with a slow-cooker meal, than it is to plan a meal from scratch at 4:50pm.

Here’s a slow-cooker dish I came up with on the fly yesterday morning, when I realized it was 7:00am, I had no plan for dinner, and we all had to be out of the house for the day.  I picked some fresh herbs from our garden (while still in my PJ’s), and chose organic chicken thighs because that’s what I had fresh in the fridge.  You could easily substitute chicken breasts if you prefer.

Serves 4, with leftovers
Prep Time: About 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 hours in a large slow-cooker

6-8 Organic Chicken thighs (boneless)
4 organic Russet potatoes, sliced into small pieces
6 organic carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces
1/2 organic red onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic (whole & peeled)

For marinade:ChickenHoneySesame
1/2 c Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (cold-pressed)
2 T. Shoyu or Tamari
1 T. sesame seeds
1 T. raw Apple cider vinegar
3 T Really good local raw honey
1/2 cup water
1 sprig fresh thyme (cut into pieces)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (cut into pieces)
8-10 leaves of fresh sage
6-8 generous pats of organic grass-fed/pastured butter
1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1) Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a glass bowl.
2) Place the potatoes, onions and carrots at the bottom of the slow-cooker.
3) Put the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables.
4) Pour the marinade over the chicken and vegetables.
5) Sprinkle the sesame seeds & sea salt over everything.
6) Tuck the fresh herbs between and on top of the chicken thighs and vegetables.
7) Place one pat of butter on top of each chicken thigh.
8) Turn the slow-cooker on LOW for 5 hours.
9) Serve over brown rice or another grain of your choice. I also served with a side of sauteed fresh zucchini, which is what was ready for picking in our garden.

Try making this for your family, and let us know what you think!