One of the most common questions that people ask about acupuncture is: "Why does my acupuncturist check my pulse?"
Pulse and tongue diagnosis are two of the more important diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine. They are both used to derive a TCM diagnosis for your condition which is used to plan your treatment. Of the diagnostic tools, pulse diagnosis is one of the more important tools used in Chinese and Japanese acupuncture and herbal medicine. While tongue diagnosis provides valuable clinical information, the pulse can be used to gain a deep understanding of the patient on many levels. "Mastering" pulse diagnosis is difficult without the guidance of a skilled teacher. Even at basic levels, however, the pulse provides immediate and specific information that can help clarify contradictory diagnostic information and symptomology.
At EHE Clinic, we use standard diagnosis procedures like in western medicine, but we also do the following types of diagnosis methods to help us better understand your condition.
For pulse diagnosis, three spots on each wrist along the radial artery is felt. The artery along the left and the right wrist represent different organs:
Left wrist - heart, liver, kidney, gallbladder, small intestines
Right wrist - lung, spleen, large intestines, stomach
Feeling these points on both hands allows the doctor to determine the health status of each internal organ and how well it is functioning. For more information about pulse diagnosis, click here.
For tongue diagnosis, the doctor will look at your tongue. Unlike the pulse, your tongue is not affected by short-term influences such as nervousness, and allows the doctor to see the depth and nature of an imbalance, as well as gauge the progress of a disorder.
For more information about pulse diagnosis, click here
Channel palpation is a classic diagnostic technique not often taught in modern acupuncture schools in the West. Emphasized in the earliest acupuncture texts (Nei Jing/Nan Jing), palpation of the channels is extremely helpful for confirming diagnosis and refining point selection. There are main 14 meridians in human body and over 300 acupuncture points in these meridians.
On visitation, we will give you a questionnaire so that we can better understand your physical and mental condition better for diagnosis and treatments.
Common Pulse Locations and Related Meridians
Left Wrist/Right Wrist
Location of the Pulse:
The Guan (Second) Position is found opposite the styloid process of the radius, the Cun Position is found between the Guan Position and the wrist and the Chi position is found at a point equal the distance between Guan and Cun.
Left Wrist Right Wrist
Cu (inch) - 1st position HV / SI LU / LI
Guan (barr) - 2nd position LV / GB SP /S T
Chi (foot) - 3rd position KG / UB PC / TH
Clinical significance of the Pulse
at varying levels
Description of a healthy ("normal") pulse
The pulse should be felt in all 9 positions
The quality of the pulse should have "spirit" and not collapse or feel hard or unyielding
The rhythm should be even and balanced and regular beats of 60-90bpm
Factors which influence the Pulse
Age - the strength and quality of the pulse will decline as a person ages.
Gender - Men are generally stronger on the left and Women are generally stronger on the right.
·· Spring - more wiry
·· Summer - stronger
·· Winter - deeper
For Pulse Consultation Result Reference
Superficial (Skin Level)
Generally shows exogenous pathogens
Generally shows state of ST/SP Qi
Deep (Bone Level)
Generally shows internal conditions
Common Tongue Geography and Meridian Correlations
The Base of the Tongue corresponds to Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Large Interstines and Small Intestines Meridians
The sides of the tongue correspond to the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.Some theories place the Gall Bladder on the patients left side and the Liver on the patients right side.
The Middle of the tongue corresponds to the Stomach and Spleen Meridians.
The Tip of the tongue corresponds to the Lung and the Heart Meridians.