Alternative MethodsConventional Methods

March 29

Taking a Pulse

Tracy Campbell
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 2 min.

Perhaps one of the great traditional pillars of TCM is the art of pulse diagnosis. The evaluation of the pulse gives insight into the inter-relationships of every level of the meridian system.

Taking the time to properly palpate the superficial and deep pulses of both wrists and evaluate them for each of the potential characteristics requires training, understanding, patience, and discipline. It also requires the practitioner to clear their mind of opinion or prejudice and listen for what the patients’ body has to say – not just what they assume they are looking for.

I recall attending a seminar and sitting near some young, very enthusiastic students. They were practicing pulse diagnosis on each other. I observed one grab her colleague’s wrist and continue chatting for a few minutes before saying, “Your kidneys are off.” That was it – no other assessment, just a glancing palpation of only one wrist. I would be very uncomfortable if I was the patient and that was how I was evaluated before being given an assessment and treatment plan.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an EMT training program. As an EMT, whenever you encounter a patient, either for a medical issue or a trauma, you must always first assess the airway and breathing (is the airway open and are they getting air into the lungs?) and the pulse (is there blood flowing to the body?). Without breathing and circulation – nothing else matters. Pulse, along with blood pressure and respiration, is one of the vital signs you must assess and monitor regularly during patient care. Pulse is always assessed with the application of a splint to make sure circulation is not compromised. The assessment of pulse may be more crude in this regard, but it is critical nonetheless. Ideally, the skin is warm, pink, and dry and the pulse is regular and steady.

We are used to thinking of the pulse at the radial aspect of the arm, but if the patient is unconscious, the pulse is often better assessed at the carotid. If the pulse is irregular – that is a sign of cardiovascular problems that should be medically evaluated. Tachycardia is the term for a rapid heart rate (over 100 beats per minute in an adult). The rapid heartbeat does not allow enough time for the heart to fill before it contracts so blood flow to the rest of the body is compromised. Tachycardia can occur with anxiety and stress, too much caffeine, and fatigue. Tachycardia can cause one to be lightheaded, dizzy, have palpitations or angina, and also shortness of breath. On the other hand, bradycardia is a slow heart rhythm (typically less than 60 beats per minute). For some people, a slow heart rate does not cause any problems. It can be a sign of being very fit. In other people, bradycardia is a sign of a problem with the heart’s electrical system. It means that the heart’s natural pacemaker isn’t working right or that the electrical pathways of the heart are disrupted. In severe forms of bradycardia, the heart beats so slowly that it doesn’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. This can cause symptoms of weakness and fatigue and can be life-threatening.

If there has been an injury and there is blood loss, you must also be concerned about shock. In the early (compensated) stages of shock, the pulse may be weak and rapid. The skin may be cool, clammy, or ashen. In the later (decompensated) stage of shock the pulse is often thready or absent.

A professional rodeo bull rider was once asked if his job was hard. His response was right on point, “riding bulls – that’s easy. But being able to do it well, that’s hard.” I think the same logic applies to pulse. Anyone can grab a wrist and feel for a tap – that’s easy. But to really understand – to study, to listen, to feel what the body has to say – that is hard. Take your time. Clear your mind. Don’t cloud your judgment with preconception or distraction. Honor the art and do it the right way. But at the same time, don’t forget that we do live in the modern world. Don’t forget that as players in the healthcare arena, we have responsibility to correlate all the health information – both traditional and contemporary – and provide our patient’s the best care we are able.

by Douglas R. Briggs For Acupuncture Today


Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter

All categories

Spiritual Healing
$220 USD
I will do spiritual transformation for you

I will do spiritual transformation. Life occurs as a series of cycles in a single human lifetime. Cycles exist in almost a spiral pattern. There is a flow and …

Wisdom Realms
Chinese Astrology
$10 USD
You are not ALONE

Do you think it’s your fault you haven’t found your partner yet? Or that you are the problem because the relationship is not working? Do you feel isolated, set…

Carmen Oana Oglan
Spiritual Healing
$55 USD
1 Hr Intuitive Nutrition Coaching Call

Dive in and discover your biggest areas of struggle and how to tap into the intuition for guidance.
We will talk about your history and your goals for your wel…

Jess Olson
Spiritual Healing
$10 USD
Praying for the Sick and Depressed

Are you sick? Are you really depressed? Do you feel that your life is worthless?
Come book a session with me and see the changes that will occur after that.

Luck Richards Omorede
Chakra Balancing
$10 USD
Soul To Soul Reading Session

Energetic Reading

Complete Chakra System Reading to identify energy blocks.
Techniques are provided to restore balance.

What Is An Energetic Reading?


Deborah Lucero
Spiritual Healing
$222 USD
Healing from Trauma at a Quantum Soul Level

Are you burnt out from clinical therapy practices that require years of treatment with few results? Are you ready to release and transmute your trauma once and…

LunaRio Silver Deer
Career Coaching
$499 USD
Reset 1-0n1 Coaching and Mentoring Programme

Are you returning to work after a career break, or are you looking for a new job or career change?

This programme is for you.

I’ve developed the RESET coachi…

Carla Martins
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
Emotional Stress Release
$800 USD
Retreat( India): Connect With Your Inner Wisdom 1st to 4th Sept

Join us for an immersive experience anchored amidst the beauty and tranquillity of Kasar Devi, Almora, India

1st Sept’22 ( Thursday) - 4th Sept 2022 ( Sunday …

Psychic Reading
$80 USD
I will do oracle and tarot card readings

I will do oracle & tarot card reading in any area of your life. You will get answer from the Angelic, Elemental, Faerie or Galactic realms. I will share wi…

Wisdom Realms
Natal Astrology
$15 USD
15 min reading of SOUL structure

[SOUL STRUCTURE]Each soul has own structure,and knowing it means to have unlimited access to inner energy. This readings are telling about your talents and str…

Ksenia Jdanova
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Ask a Question?

Supportive reflection of a current question that you would like clarity around. Using the SMART method to seek quidance in stepping onto your path of potential…

Beverly Lynn
$150 USD
Reiki Services (distant healing session)

In this hour long distant healing session I will use long distance Reiki, crystals and essential oils to balance your Chakras. Balancing your Chakras allows en…

Erin Kirby
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Intuitive Tarot Reading

Affordable Tarot reading to offer guidance on any given concern.

Elphie Shoppe
$10 USD
Talk Therapy Sessions

Hello there: These times are dread. Do you need to talk with a safe professional about a troubling personal challenge? I am a professional listener and will li…

Eulalee Thompson
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Tarot Reading

I offer tarot readings with a 100% accuracy rate. The tarot is meant to give you advice, to point you in the right direction or to provide you with clarity. Bu…

Zara Kalil
Angel Healing
$10 USD
Mental Health Advice & Tips

I can help you with past issues and give advice and tips on how to better your life. I can see through my third eye and receive messageson what you need to do …

Beings Of Light
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Discovery call

Are you interested in supporting your health with safe and effective holistic medicine? Not sure if you should switch diets, work with a health coach or explor…

Suzana Da Costa
Wellness Coaching
$50 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Consultation

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Family Psychology
$10 USD
Psychic Reading

Expert in Love Relationship, Tarot Psychic Reading
I can give you more powerful insight of every part of your life. With the help of Crystal ball my Psychic re…

Aamir Bilal
Career Coaching
$195 USD
Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching


If this sounds like you, then you don’t need a new diet… you n…

David Giddings
Bach flower therapy
$120 USD
Bach Flower Essence Consultation

Exploration of where you’re feeling stuck or limited in life and recommendations of Bach Flower Essences to help loosen and dissolve old patterns.

Suzana Da Costa
Cognitive-behavioral therapy
$100 USD
Subliminal therapy

In this service we will use Subliminal therapy and Sound healing as alternative to tradition cognitive behavioral therapy.

We are born with our thoughts. Do n…

Ahmed Amin Youssef