Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Pulse diagnosis

I recently attended a pulse diagnosis course with the lovely George Dellar of the Wiltshire Acupuncture Practice.

'Reading the pulse according to Oriental Medicine provides information about the patient's entire constitution and condition. It accurately reflects the state of the Ki, the Blood, of Yin and Yang in the body, and of the internal Organs' - Shiatsu: The Complete Guide by Chris Jarmey and Gabriel Mojay.

We did cover the subject briefly during my shiatsu course, but it seemed quite complex. Every thing I have read since says things like 'it is an extremely complex subject with many ramifications', which has actually put me off further study! So I was very pleased when I found out that George was going to run a day's course.

Like much of traditional Chinese medicine, it's very much to do with looking for what really stands out and then deciding on what that means. The pulse is taken with the first 3 fingers and those positions provide information on specific channels or meridians. For example, on the right side the 1st position refers to the Lung channel, the 2nd to Stomach/Spleen and the 3rd to Kidney Yang/Large Intestine.

There are also other qualities to take into account:
  • Depth
  • Speed
  • Width
  • Strength
  • Shape
  • Length
  • Rhythm.
All of these can give an indication of signs such as Heat, Cold or deficiency of Qi. Combining the quality of the pulse with the location of any noticeable variations from the norm starts to put together your diagnosis. 

At the end of the day, we did a detailed diagnosis and got feedback. I was very impressed that my partner could work out what was going on just from feeling my wrists, amazing! Her diagnosis was Lung and Spleen Qi deficiency. Spot on, as I've recently recovered from a long-term cough and been feeling pretty tired since my dan grading.
I now feel my day's course has given me more confidence to use pulse diagnosis further in my treatments. Another tool in my toolkit to help me work out what's going on with my clients.


  1. Hi!
    Thanks for this post.
    I use it also, pulse diagnosis, in my treatments (I am still practising...because it's quiet complex ;-S)
    And I would probably need a special course with an expert on it, as you did!...
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Emilie,
    You're welcome & thanks for your comment.
    Yeah, it is complex & I still need more practise & experience :)