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It takes many years for an acupuncturist to develop skills in taking the pulse.  A properly trained and skilled acupuncturist can find out a lot from your pulse.

The pulse is a significant aspect the Chinese medicine diagnosis process.

The pulse reflects the imbalances in the body and the strength of the body’s energy.  This helps to determine the root cause of your health concern.

What does an acupuncturist look for in the pulse?

The pulse is a reflection of the what is going on inside the body.  As an acupuncturist, when I take the pulse, I don’t just thin about if it is too fast or slow.  I am looking for is it very strong, or very weak, is it bounding, or is it receding?  Is the pulse thick or thin?   Strong or weak?

Acupuncturist also look for patterns such as stringlike.  This pulse will hit our fingers like a guitar string.

Positions of the pulse

Different parts and aspects of the pulse provide information about your health.  There are three positions to the Chinese medicine pulse.  They pertain to different parts of the body.  Acupuncturists also take the pulse from different depths to look for more information about the location of  the imbalances in the body.

What does the Chinese medicine pulse mean?

Different pulses are represent specific imbalances.   If your pulse is very fast or pounding it may reveal that there is heat in the body.   If it is very weak and deep, then you may have qi stagnation.   Then the acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment is focused on correcting these imbalances.

The meaning of the pulse is most powerfully explored in the context of the person as a whole.  This deeper level takes many years of practice.

Acupuncture for Neck Pain: An Example from the Clinic

Illnesses can show signs of one imbalance such as stagnation or lack of circulation.   This can often happen in chronic neck pain. The muscles can be tight and have knots.  This looks like it may be stagnation because muscle of the muscle tightness.  But if the pulse is very weak, then the root cause is lack of energy.

Often, people with an underlying weakness have tried many treatments and therapies without relief.  The only way to improve this situation is through boosting the energy. A very strong treatment may even lead to further tightness.

In this example, the pulse will reveal the true nature of the imbalance, which is a weakness.

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