What do you know about pulse diagnosis in TCM

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For those who have ever experienced acupuncture treatment or some type of traditional Chinese medicine technique, or are planning to go, as a patient, they may wonder what the healer is doing with their pulse. Pulse diagnosis is an important tool in the practice of a healer of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

A part of the training of acupuncturists and TCM practitioners is pulse diagnosis in order to heal a bunch of health conditions. A lot of TCM students, however, struggle with information that is at odds with the classical texts regarding pulses.

The reading of the pulse is some sort of a combination of scientific examination and an art form. If you come in to a TCM practitioner’s office for treatment and experience this (pulse diagnosis) for the first time, you may be astonished to find out that the practitioner uses this diagnostic technique to identify issues you may already suspect or know you’re suffering from.

Basic Principles and Positions
Pulse diagnosis has six positions that can be divided equally into two: three on the left and three on the right. These positions are read using the ring, middle, and index fingers at the radial artery. According to Shiz-hen (Li Shizhen), there are 27 main pulse states. You can base pulse reading upon four main principles to make the reading a little less complicated. These principles include:
1) Rapid
2) Slow
3) Sinking
4) Floating

Moreover, if one is to sit in on a series of consultations with an acupuncturist, he/she may, after a while, observe that a lot of health problems can be reduced down into over simplifications such as liver energy stagnation or dampness in the spleen. This is one of the problems with TCM and the complications in reading pulses through the use of conflicting classical documents.

Modern Chinese Pulse Diagnosis
These days, modern Chinese pulse diagnosis is an evolving system that strives to give an insight into patients by using an exquisite and sophisticated style in order to understand a person’s condition in a holistic way.

Modern Chinese pulse diagnosis can provide insight into these different levels. These levels include:

The constitution of the patient
Previous diseases
Early ailments affecting normal physiology
Emotional conditions
Consequences of patient’s lifestyle
Behavioral patterns
Environmental stressors

Mastering Pulse Diagnosis
Whatever training an acupuncturist or TCM practitioner undergoes, this specific TCM discipline may take quite a long time to properly master and even if a dozen practitioners have been through the same training to qualify, out of these 12, only a few will have the skill to listen very deeply to the pulses of their patients in a manner that others will probably be able to master only after many years, or even decades.

This listening skill is an energetic talent that just comes naturally to a few people, although it can be also developed through a variety of practices. For most people, this skill does not come naturally and it can be quite challenging to master. Part of this challenge is the capacity to trust one’s own energetic sensitivity. So, for those who wish to acquire or learn this ability, the catch 22 of getting over one’s doubts can be daunting and sometimes, even insurmountable, to hurdle.

But when it’s mastered, an intimate grasp of the art of pulse diagnosis places a TCM healer in an extremely privileged position to aid patients with a diverse array of health issues and diseases.

 Key words:  Chinese medicine

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