Study your own pulse

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Study your own pulse

As we have seen all illnesses are made by man himself, and are caused through the disturbance of the body energies, which in turn disturbs the balance between the Yin and Yang within the human anatomy. Whilst this tipping of the scales, either too much one way or the other, is largely due to the bad eating and drinking habits, or to numerous drugs and medicaments, or the quantities of chemicals in packaged and tin foods, it can also be influenced through excessive cold or heat and strong emotional upsets like anger, hate or fear.

Generally however, if the body is truly healthy, and constantly retains the proper balance within itself, so that the natural phenomenal changes can take effect at the proper times of the day or night, and the energy levels of the various organs can be correctly maintained during the course of each day, then even excess emotions will have little or no effect, for the body and the mind will be strong enough to cope with it at any time.

Let us take the situation of Cathy who had suffered terrible family upsets, lasting over many months, and her health had deteriorated so far that she had twice tried to commit suicide. A close friend was so worried that she might try again that she sought help from her nearest Ch'ang Ming adviser. Cathy was willing to try altering her complete way of life, and, by strictly adhering to the diet prescribed for her, her health improved so much that it was better than it had ever been before, and she was able to face her family problems with resolution and courage. The same problems still exist, but she handles them with fortitude and confidence. She has become one with herself, and also has become an integral part of nature, a true child of the universe.

For thousands of years the Chinese have known that there was a very close relationship between the heartbeat (Yang), rate of breathing (Yin), energy flow (Yang) and blood flow (Yin), and all these gave the state of a person's overall health, and the efficiency of his organs. All these are still used in Chinese diagnosis, and the pulse is an extremely important indicator of the health.

To the average Westerner, "feeling the pulse" means no more than placing one finger on an artery, generally at the wrist, to feel it pulsating. This is caused by the rhythmic pulsation of the heart as the blood is pumped out of the left ventricle and, owing to the force of the flow, distends the walls of the aorta, so creating the vibrations that in turn produce the pulsating of the arteries. By counting the number of pulsations, one can tell whether the heart is beating at the right rate, too slow or too fast. Generally speaking, a man's heart should beat between sixty-four and seventy-two times a minute, while a woman's should beat between seventy-two and eighty times a minute.

Chinese medical practitioners take the pulse not only at the wrist, but also, if necessary, at the arteries of the neck and legs, and several other places where an artery is close to a bone and near to the surface of the skin. This is because the pulse can provide a wealth of information about the condition of the organs of the human body, and not just an indication of the body's general health. Through the pulse the energy level of each organ can be judged, and thus whether the organ is working properly, erratically, congested, too full, deficient, slippery, rapid, solid or empty. The experienced Chinese physician can tell from the pulse the patient's health history and what his future health is likely to be if he does not change his way of life.

You too can learn how to obtain such information by "feeling" and "reading" your own pulse. There is nothing difficult about it; all you have to do is concentrate on the "feel" of the pulse, so as to be able to understand what it can convey. In China we have to learn to read our own pulse before we can practise the art on others, and if we are going to be a healer of any kind, then we must set an example, by being healthy and fit ourselves. In any case, wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to understand and appreciate the standard of your own internal health and the fluctuations of energy that take place within each organ at various times of the day. You will also have the pleasure of being able to help your relations and friends, when called upon to do so, and be in a position to give them a deeper insight to their problems.

In ancient China you never had to pay the doctor when you were ill, because you were unable to perform your daily work, so naturally you were in no position to earn any money, and there were no state benefits in those days. So you paid your doctor to keep you well and fit whilst you were well enough to earn a living, so it was his responsibility to ensure that you were healthy all the time. If this standard was adopted in the Western world ¦what an enormous saving there would be in National Health Services.

The Nei Ching, the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, specifies that the best time of the day to take the pulse is early in the morning, before the Yang part of the day has begun and the Yin section has started to fail, and before any food or drink had been consumed, before the twelve organs have become invigorated, and while the energy levels have not yet reached their peak or had been extended. The seasons too were said to influence the pulse to a considerable degree, and it was even recommended that the physician calculate the astrologically most favourable moment to take his patient's pulse. All this may seem to you very complicated, but it will convey the meticulous-ness of the ancient Chinese doctor in caring for his patients, and in seeking an absolute correct diagnosis.

The pulse can, however, be read at any time, and this is how you should do it. First of all, sit down and relax completely. Next place your left forearm across your chest and rest your right palm against the back of your left wrist; then curl the fingers of your right hand round your left wrist, and you will find that your index finger is at the base of your left palm, below the thumb. You will feel a pulsation with your right index finger, and this will tell you that you are in contact with the radial artery of your left wrist. Place the middle finger of your right hand alongside your index finger, and allow your third or "ring" finger to rest close to your middle finger, so that the three fingers are close together. Next press one finger at a time gently down on to the radial artery, and in each case you will feel a pulsation with the tip of the finger.

Practise this as many times a day as you can, and whenever you can find the time, and you will begin to notice that there are slight variations in what you can feel at each finger tip. If you practise at the same times each day, then you will get a clearer understanding of the differences, until eventually you are able to read your pulse as easily as reading a book.

Don't become anxious if the pulse feels stronger at one point than another, for remember that all organs have their peak periods and low phases, and this will effect a difference in what you can feel, through the pulsations underneath your finger tips.

Give yourself time, and practise continuously, and interpretation will slowly come to you. Remember, that the pulse of both wrists can be felt, but to begin with only practise on one side first. The organs about which your left radial artery conveys information to you are different from those you can learn about from your right radial artery.

What does this mean? Simply this, that there are two levels of pressure with each of the finger tips, a light or superficial touch or a strong or deep pressure, which gives six different pulses on each wrist, making a total of twelve pulses in all, each separate pulse giving the condition of a different organ within the body.

Yang organs Yin organs

Slight pressure Strong pressure

Left radial artery (left wrist)

Tip of index finger Small intestine Heart

Tip of middle finger Gall bladder Liver

Tip of third finger Urinary bladder Kidneys

Right radial artery (right wrist)

Tip of index finger Large intestine Lungs

Tip of middle finger Stomach Spleen

Tip of third Finger "Triple "Heart warmer" controller"

You will recognise all these organs with the possible exception of the last two, the Triple warmer and the Heart controller, which we will explain to you so that you will have a better understanding of their sphere of influence.

The "triple warmer" known also as the "triple heater", "three burning spheres", and "heat regulator", is not connected to any specific organ of the body. It regulates the changes, indicates variations of temperature, and the operational effects of both of them within the human body. It is extremely sensitive to minute changes in the body's internal temperature relative to its external temperature, and to the transfer of energy from one part of the body to another. It also controls the quantity and quality of waste products in the system; and indirectly it is the functional overlord of the digestion and ingestion, and of the dissipation and utilization of heat within the body; which taking drugs of any kind can radically upset. It thus has a very big job to do; and you can gauge how well it is performing by exerting a slight pressure on the right wrist with tip of the third finger of the left hand. (Triple warmer trouble is also indicated by a moon at the top of the iris.)

If you press strongly with the same finger on the same artery, you will then be feeling the variations in the "heart controller", also known as the "controller of the heart", "heart governor" or "circulation path", which relates to the circulation of the body. Like the "triple warmer" it is not connected or linked to any specific organ of the body, but it represents the functional system of the arteries, veins and the circulation of the blood throughout the entire human body. It controls the distribution of the blood and other fluids in the blood-stream, whether it is oxygenated or not. It also arranges the nourishment of all the Yin organs of the body.

What of the other organs, such as the heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, etc., and what do we expect to extract from the delicate touch, and the sense or feel of the vibrations of each separate pulse. Every organ has an energy level, activated and constantly maintains through your food intake and your breathing, and this nutrition and respiration converts eventually into physical energy and internal energy. These energies are distributed throughout the whole body and inhabit every tissue and cell, and through the pulse you will be able to judge the strength or weakness of them in the various organs, and, thus, how healthy those organs are.

The pulse of a normal healthy person is firm and regular, and it should beat at the rate of four times to each intake of breath. But how do we categorise the various differences that are felt so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. Simply, all the classifications fall into Yin and Yang sections.

Yang pulses.

Floating—a very light sensation, almost as if the pulse was floating under the skin and it indicates an external deficiency.

Rapid—a very rapid pulsation denoting a hot disease.

Solid—a forceful beat showing a solid type of illness such as abdominal upsets, constipation and urinary troubles.

Full—long and hard with a feeling of tightness generally felt in people who are suffering from internal pain or liver disease.

Yin pulses.

Sunken—felt as a forceful pulse but only under heavy pressure and shows that there is an internal deficiency.

Slow—less than four beats to one breath and indicates an aversion to cold temperature, as well as suffering from cold hands, feet and complexion.

Deficient—weak pulsation under light or heavy pressure and denotes a general weakness caused by the lack of blood and energy.

Slippery—the pulse feels very smooth and is generally seen in people who tend to emit a lot of mucus, and who may suffer from palpitations. It may also be felt in women who are pregnant.

So through feeling the pulse you acquire the experience of being able to define the various differences in the rhythm, slow or fast, whether it is weak or strong, normal or abnormal, smooth as silk or irregular and bumpy. Admittedly, it will take time to acquire the "feel" of the touch and to interpret the differences skilfully.

Persevere, and you will be amazed at the sensitivity you acquire to the changes that take place within the body. This is one sure way of identifying any weaknesses that may occur, even before there is any outward symptom of their existence, so that you may, in accordance with the supreme laws of the universe, correct them before it is too late. By this means constant good health and adequate vitality may be assured.