The Pulse Microsystem

Chinese doctor taking pulse

The pulse microsystem is a very important diagnostic, as well as therapy-monitoring tool in TCM.

Taking the pulse as a method of diagnosing illness can be found in almost every culture. Western medicine considered pulse-taking as the most important diagnostic method over the centuries. The rhytm of the pulse, its quality and nature was a very important diagnostic tool to give impression about the cardiovascular system, as well as the patient`s general well-being.

Latest technology, modern cardiology, and nuclear imaging medicine skewed the importance of pulse-taking somewhat, while in Traditional Medicine its importance did not change.

Oriental Medicine recognizes a very sophisticated diagnosing possibility in the pulse, viewing it as a very informative microsystem.


The pulse, just like in Western Medicine, is a sine wave. Its peak, the highest pressure point, is systole (Yang) and the deepest point, aka the lowest pressure point, is diastole (Yin).

The ascending half is Yang (function), the descending half is Yin (structure). The Yang portion should match the shape, flow, volume, velocity of the Yin portion at every position and level.

The superficial position corresponds with the hollow organs (Yang), the deep wave corresponds with the parenchymal organs, (Yin).

Overall, a balanced (healthy) sinewave means that Qi is flowing freely, undisturbed, connected at every level.

This correspondence is measured at three level, in Traditional Medicine the pulse is taken with three fingers at the radial artery at a proximal, middle, and distal location, superficially and deep.

Pulse diagnosis

There are three important positions on the radial artery, and these positions have superficial and deep attributes. The deep positions correspond with the YIN (parenchymal)organs, and the superficial positions correspond with the YANG (hollow) organs. 3 positions, superficial and deep correspondence, on both hand, make up altogether 12 organs, with their corresponding 12 principal meridians.

This is altogether (on both wrists) 12 positions, 6 superficial Yang hollow organs and 6 deep parenchymal Yin organs.

The quality of the pulse at all 12 positions can give important information about the function and structure of the relating 12 organs, and about their quality of Qi as well as their connection.

pulsefigure The same thing in a more schematic way displayed on this figure on the left. The practitioner chooses the therapeutic input points on the meridians where the disturbed organ(s) located.

The very practical value of the pulse microsystem is that it quickly changes responding to the therapy, as such it has immense value to monitor the effect of the therapeutic needle input.

The pulse microsystem returning to normal during the treatment session is a very gratifying sign of that the blockages are opening up and the inner healing process started, the systems are returning to their balanced, self-healing homeostatic state.


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