Have you ever felt your pulse before?
In truth, I bet you have at some point in your life. But what do you think is the purpose of taking the pulse?
Most often, it’s to check the rate of the heart beat – which by the way is the most common reason why a health care professional would check your pulse.
However, consider this, do you think there is more to the pulse than just measuring someone’s current heart rate?
Wait, hold your horses – I almost forgot something. Let’s first explain the basics before we get started.
What Is A Normal Pulse?
According to The American Heart Association, the pulse should be around 60-100 beats per minute (BPM).
On the contrary, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a normal heart rate is slightly different – about 65-80 BPM. Further, Chinese Medicine looks at the qualities of the pulse. Not only do we feel for the rate, but also the width, length, depth, and force of the pulse.
A normal pulse in TCM is said to be moderate – not too fast nor too slow, not too wide or too thin, not too fast or too slow. A moderate pulse is of a normal rate, with an even force in all positions and of perfect width (not too wide or too thin) – these examples are all great indications of a healthy body.
How Do We Check Your Pulse?
The pulse is taken on both sides at the junction by the radial artery. We use the first three finger pads to listen carefully to see what’s going on inside the body.
The best way to check the pulse is having the patient lie down or sit in a comfortable position with the hands relaxed. Then, the practitioner checks both sides and feels for any abnormalities in the pulses.
What Are We Feeling For?
Most often, we are checking for specific organ functions. The three pulses on the left are the heart, liver and kidney yin. While on the right, the three positions correspond to the lungs, stomach/spleen and kidney yang.
Also, we are checking the quality of blood flow and the systemic energy of your entire body. Let’s say for instance, a patient has chronic fatigue, we can assume the pulse will be slightly weaker and slower than a moderate pulse (a patient with good energy levels).
Why Do We Balance The Pulses?
When the six pulses are moderate and balanced, the body’s internal physiology such as blood circulation and organ function are working well.
For this reason, during treatment, the pulse is taken before and also after the session to see the immediate positive changes in the patient. Once the pulse is moderate, the theory is that the body has a an easier time healing itself.
With that, here are three weird, but incredible facts about your pulse…
1. How’s Your Sleep?
One amazing aspect of feeling the pulse is that we can determine how someone slept the night before. If one has been tossing and turning all night, this will reflect into the pulse immediately.
For example, if the heart pulse on the left side (the one closest to the wrist crease) is elevated, this is a strong indication of poor sleep from the night prior.
2. The Pulse Reflects Stress
Have you been stressed out lately? If so, we can know without you saying a single word. When one has anxiety or in a stressful situation, the pulse becomes what we call, “tense.”
The goal of treatment would then be to relax that tension and calm the patient’s nervous system down.
3. Did You Skip Breakfast?
Did you skip breakfast or eat a small meal? If so, your spleen and stomach pulse will reflect as deep and weak – not good.
On the opposite end, if you ate a HUGE meal or experiencing acute stomach pains, the stomach/spleen pulse may be elevated and tense.
Go ahead, try it – place your fingers gently on your wrist and feel the pulse.
What did you find?
At the SOPHIA Natural Health Center, we have evaluated thousands of pulses and treated them successfully with our integrated medical approach. To learn more, call 203-740-9301 and schedule a complimentary consultation.
Kaptchuk, Ted. The Web That Has No Weaver. New York: Congton and Weed,
Wiseman, Nigel. Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine. Brookline, Massachusetts.
Paradigm Publications, 1996