What Is Medical Pulse Diagnosis?

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If you’ve ever had an acupuncture appointment, then you might be familiar with a pulse reading. 

Are you familiar with a medical pulse reading? 

A method with both ancient and modern medicine, Medical Pulse Diagnosis (MPD) is a trademarked technique of reading the radial pulse.  

Rooted in the Chinese Medical tradition and reaching as far back as the 2nd and 1st century BCE, the Nan Jing medical text is over 2100 years old!

The most notable medical texts published with pulse diagnosis instruction are the Shang Han Lun in 220 AD, the Mai Jing in the 3rd century AD, and the Bin Hu Mai Xue in the 16th century AD.   

It’s an evolving technique ever since, leaving modern-day practitioners with a refined method in diagnosing the condition of the body.  

Photo by bady qb on Unsplash

Why is Pulse Diagnosis important?

Pulse diagnosis sheds light on the quality of blood coursing through the body.  

This includes the big blood vessels and the small blood vessels, the ones feeding and draining the organs and the ones feeding and draining the extremities.  

It informs on the condition of function in the organ systems as well.  

Is the heart weak?  

Is the liver sluggish?  

Are the kidney’s optimally cleansing the blood?  

There are many states of function before an organ is considered diseased.  Often times there are symptoms that arise from these pre-diseased states that are not critical but are still troublesome.

Learning to read the pulse takes many years and a lot of practice.  It is not simply something practitioners can study from an academic book. It is a palpatory skill combined with the study of physiologic function in the body.  A practitioner must refine the ability to pick up on subtle characteristics in the flow of blood through the radial artery.   

So, what sets Medical Pulse Diagnosis apart?

MPD is unique amongst other Chinese pulse diagnostic methods being taught today.  

Other methods are able to hone the palpatory skill but lack the clinical relevance in terms of treatment.  

MPD completely integrates all skills:

  1. Correct finger positions on the wrists correlating with real anatomical locations in the body.
  2. Understanding of the Chinese Medical diagnosis and their possible related Western Medical diagnosis.
  3. The correct combination of Chinese herbs to treat these diagnoses.

No other method today has its basis in ancient Chinese medical texts and at the same time is completely integrated into the western medical model. 

MPD can be logically taught; systematically practiced and can produce the same diagnosis even if completely different MPD trained practitioners are doing the pulsing.

In comparison, most other methods:

  1. Do not relate to the Chinese diagnostic pattern with its possible Western medical pattern.
  2. Do not teach which herbal combinations to use to treat a pathologic pulse formation.
  3. Cannot be easily learned, requiring the student to search multiple texts and/or schools to learn from.

MPD is a trademarked skill that is taught only by the Acupuncture and Wellness Center.  

Bob Doane, Founder & CEO of AWC, has traveled the world teaching this method to Chinese herbalists, physicians, and other practitioners.  His studies have been greatly influenced by the above mentioned medical texts along with the works of Wang Qing Ren in his 1830 book Yi Lin Gai.  

Modern-day practitioners who have guided the study of this pulse system are Bob Doane, Dr. John Shen and Dr. Jimmy Chang.  Bob Doane has authored a book on pulse diagnosis available in English and Spanish.   

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