When I place my fingers on your wrist, I am using my fingertips to “listen” for diagnostic information. It is one of many tools an acupuncturist uses to gather clinical details. The information is similar to usual clinical information like fever or thirst, but pulse diagnosis offers a perspective to the internal systems, both individually and as a whole.
Generally speaking, there are two important aspects of pulse diagnosis:
- listening to the pulse offers insight into the current state of each of the major organ systems.
- relays a qualitative and quantitative assessment of Qi and Blood, “substances” in the body that are intertwined and their movement represent many of the bodies natural functions and expressions.
Before treatment, the pulses may help shape the goal of the acupuncture treatment and can be actively monitored for changes. During and at closing, I use the pulses as a feedback mechanism to confirm the direction and impact of the acupuncture treatment.