Pulse Diagnosis & Hemodynamics
- Posted on: Apr 8 2020
Examining the pulse at the wrist is a common practice among acupuncturists and other healthcare
providers. Modern medicine acknowledges the radial artery (major artery in the arm) to carry vital
information, such as heartbeat, blood pressure, arterial stiffness and aging, pointing to significant factors
that affect changes in radial pulse pressure obesity, hardening of your artery, and how the nervous system
affects your heart, something called sympathetic tone.
Unlike conventional diagnosis, which refers to the identification of disease after it has manifested, a
skilled acupuncture practitioner can assess your general health and monitor the state of every organ’s
status by the quality of the pulse. In doing so, an acupuncturist uses the index, middle and ring fingers,
pressing each finger at various depths of the radial pulse to sense if a corresponding organ lacks energy, if
its energy has stagnated, if there is a lack of ‘blood’, or if a pathogenic factor has invaded the organ, and
scientific research has confirmed that changes occur in the radial pulse during and after acupuncture
A 2011 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal assessed various
criteria (cardiac output, radial pulse pressure width, heart rate variability, peripheral blood flow velocity,
arterial depth, respiration rate and others) in healthy individuals before, during and after a session of
acupuncture. Results indicated that stimulating ST36 acupuncture on both legs caused greater cardiac
output, higher blood flow velocity in the radial artery and smaller peripheral arterioles, a greater radial
pulse pressure, along with improvements in heart rate variability.
Increasing the amount blood flow while reducing the time in which it is delivered to the extremities,
combined with increasing heart rate variability, has a wide range of implications for your health, from
speeding up recovery from an injury, to buffering the heart from the negative affects of stress, to achieving
deeper, more restorative sleep. While more studies with patients and diverse acupuncture point
stimulations are needed, the researchers concluded that analysis of radial pulse pressure can be a
predictive tool for the changes in hemodynamic variables during an acupuncture session.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17: 274. May 22 2017. Hemodynamic changes caused by acupuncture in healthy volunteers: a prospective, single-arm
exploratory clinical study.
BLOG ARTICLE 04/08/20 !1
Posted in: Acupuncture