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)