Pulse diagnosis in acupuncture

If you have a heartbeat, there’s still time for your dreams. 
— Sean Stephenson

An examination is carried out on each patient. The purpose of the examination is to make a diagnosis so that the right treatment can follow. The acupuncture study contains a number of other components than the Western research. A number of parts of the acupuncture examination are asking questions, looking at the tongue, feeling the pulse and feeling a number of diagnostic acupuncture points. I’ve talked about the tongue before. This time I want to tell you a bit about the wrist.

Western doctors also feel for the pulse and in particular how fast it goes and whether it is powerful and regular. In the acupuncture examination, much more detail is given to the wrist. However, this requires a lot of training and practice. Whole books have been written about wrist diagnostics.

In humans, the pulse is often literally felt on the wrist. In dogs and cats this is a bit more difficult and that is why the pulse is usually felt in the groin in those animals.

The pulse is felt on both sides in three positions and three depths. Each position of the wrist corresponds to an organ system. The superficial pulse corresponds to the Yang organ and the deep pulse to the Yin organ. Note that in TCM, when we talk about an organ, we are not just talking about the physical organ, but about all the functions and meridians associated with that organ.

From the TCM point of view we have a normal pulse if Qi and Blood are sufficiently present and can flow normally, the body is in balance. If there is too much or too little Qi or Blood or if there are changes in the currents of Qi or Blood, changes occur at the wrist.

While feeling the different wrist positions, attention is paid to each position:

• The depth where the wrist can be felt most strongly

• Wrist Speed

• The Power

• The diameter of the wrist

• The length

Normally, the wrist should be easy to feel across all three positions.

• The shape

The shape of the pulse wave.

• Wrist Tension

• The rhythm

The standard TCM has twenty-nine different wrists. Of course, I am not going to discuss them all here. I will give some examples so that it becomes clearer what an acupuncturist can do with the wrist diagnostics. Of course, a diagnosis is never made only on the wrist. The wrist is a piece in the puzzle. In addition, the wrist is really a snapshot and only indicates the current situation. This can sometimes be inconvenient. If an animal has a lot of stress during the examination, it will affect the pulse. On the other hand, after a treatment you can immediately feel whether the treatment has an effect by checking the wrist.

Too fast a pulse

When determining the speed of the pulse, the size of the animal should always be considered. The smaller the animal, the faster the heart rate. If the pulse is too fast, this is associated with too much yang or heat. This can occur, for example, with an infection, an overactive liver or pain. There may also be a relatively too much of Yang because there is a shortage of Yin. The distinction between an excess of Yang or a deficiency of Yin must be made with the other studies.

A tense wrist

A fairly common abnormal wrist is a too tense or “wiry” wrist. The wrist no longer feels soft but tense, like a guitar string. This is a sign of a stagnation of Qi. The Qi no longer flows well in the body. This occurs, for example, with a bruise, osteoarthritis or a hernia.

Too weak a pulse

Another common abnormal wrist is a wrist that is too weak. This means that there is a shortage of Qi and/or Blood. Often the wrist is narrower than normal, because there is less padding. This can be an overall deficit or a deficit from a particular Organ. The underlying cause of the deficiency must then be revealed from the rest of the research.

I hope you have given me an idea of the pulse diagnostics. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them!

Holistische dierenarts. Acupunctuur, voedingsadvies en voedingstherapie voor honden en katten.

Hi, I am Anneke

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