Pulse Analysis:

PULSE DIAGNOSIS
(Taken from the "Pulse Classics")


Position Left Hand
(Shallow/Deep)
( Yang / Yin )
Right Hand
(Shallow/Deep)
( Yang / Yin )
FRONT Small Intestine/Heart Large Intestine/Lungs
MIDDLE Gall Bladder/Liver Stomach/Spleen
REAR Bladder/Kidney Triple Warmer/Pericardium


  1. Taking the Pulse:
    1. The client's arm should be horizontal and not higher than the level of the heart.
    2. The practitioner's fingers are all placed on the radial pulse, which is felt by the first three fingers. Use the left hand for the right pulse and vice versa.
    3. Breathe regularly, with the client if possible.

  2. General Types: There are 28 different pulse characteristics. The following are some of the more general pulse "types" encountered.


a. Floating:Can be felt with light pressure but disappears at a deeper level.
Indicates deficient Yin.

b. Deep: Can only be felt with heavier pressure.
Indicates deficient Yang.

c. Slow: Less than 4 beats per respiratory cycle.
Indicates Cold pattern, possible Yang deficiency.

d. Rapid: More than 5 beats per respiratory cycle.
Indicates Heat pattern, possibly Yin deficiency.

e. Empty: May initially feel rather big, but empty w/slighty more pressure.
Indicates a Qi deficiency pattern.

f. Full: Feels full, rather hard and long.
Indicates an excess pattern.

g. Slippery:Feels rounded, slippery, as if it was oily.
Indicates dampness, phlegm, retention of food.

h. Wiry: Feels taunt, like a guitar string.
Indicates a Liver or Gall Bladder disharmony.

i. Choppy: Instead of a smooth wave, feels like it has a jagged edge.
Indicates Blood deficiency.

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Calvin Dale Smith, BA, MSc, R-TCMP, R-Ac
Registered Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner
Riverside Acupuncture and Wellness Centre
2211 Riverside Dr., Suite 106
Ottawa, ON K1H 7X5
613-232-5888
cdalesmith@calvindale.com