You may have noticed that your acupuncturist takes a long time when feeling your pulse. Don’t worry, it’s not because they can’t find it! A lot of information can be gathered from the pulse. We are not just feeling the pulse rate, but its quality and strength in different positions. This gives us a picture of health and disease in the different organs and channels. Most Chinese medicine acupuncturists will feel the pulse in at least three positions on each wrist. It’s probably one of the most difficult aspects of Chinese medicine to learn.
If, like me, your acupuncturist works with the complement or ‘secondary’ acupuncture channels as well as the commonly used primary channels, pulse taking becomes even more complex. Here, the pulse may be felt at over 36 different positions, all on the wrists! To truly master the art of pulse taking at this level will take me a lifetime of study, experience and self cultivation. The journey is most rewarding. As my understanding deepens, the benefits to my patients in terms of diagnosis and and treatment is clear.
In order to support my study of pulse diagnosis I have created this map of the pulse positions for the Primary, Sinew, Luo and Divergent channels. I’m sharing it in case other acupuncturists may find it useful.
The information in my pulse chart is gathered from Ann Cecil-Sterman’s excellent book The Art of Pulse Diagnosis. Her work is crystallised from the teachings of Master Jeffrey Yuen, 88th generation Daoist priest from the Jade Purity School (Lao Tzu sect) and pre-eminent scholar of Chinese Medicine. Please note that this map is my own interpretation of Cecil-Sterman’s work and is not endorsed by her. Any mistakes are my own.
I have omitted to include the pulse positions for the Extraordinary channels as their complexity means they require their very own chart (watch this space!).
Do you find my pulse map helpful? I would love to know what you think!
Click here for my downloadable Pulse map.