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Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
October, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 10
The "Secret" of Chinese Pulse Assessment
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
Editor's note: This series of articles is based on information from Barbra Esher's forthcoming textbook, Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine.
Author's note: In the first two articles in this series, I described the way pulses are taken (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/06/07.html) and how to perform a quantitative pulse analysis (www.massagetoday.com/archives/2003/08/06.html).The following article, which will discuss performing a simple qualitative pulse analysis, will be best understood after reading the previous articles in the series.
In my last article, I referred to Dr. Hammer's book as being 800 pages. He corrected me: It is only 756 pages (811, with a comprehensive index). My mistake, however, demonstrates how deeply one can be drawn into the study of pulse diagnosis. I am grateful Dr. Hammer took 20 years to study and record an oral pulse tradition. Reliable information can be obtained from the pulses in a relatively short amount of time; however, incredibly in-depth and accurate diagnoses can be obtained with additional study. If you find you have a good feel for the pulses - as many bodyworkers do - I recommend taking more extensive courses.
Check out www.dragonrises.org for more information.
It is generally agreed there are 28 main pulse qualities that can be identified in the 12 different pulse positions (there are many more positions and qualities in the book mentioned above). For the purpose of Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT), I start students with qualities related to the Eight Principles and the Five Elements.
The Eight Principles is a method of pattern identification, with some elements dating back thousands of years to the Huang Ti Nei Jing and the Shang Han Lun. However, it was formulated into Interior/ Exterior; Hot/Cold; Full/Empty; and Yin/Yang in the early Qing dynasty (late 1600s). It is a useful system for unraveling the genesis and nature of just about any disharmony.
Exterior/Interior identifies the location of the problem, not the etiology. An Exterior condition affects the skin, muscles and/or meridians. It is categorized as Interior when it primarily affects the organs and bones. An Exterior condition can arise from an external pathogenic factor, or it can come from an internal problem and vice versa. Interior/Exterior only describes the location at the moment the pulse is taken. Simply, an Exterior condition manifests as a Floating pulse. It is a pulse felt at the superficial level, using light pressure. An Interior condition is felt with more pressure and is called a Deep pulse.
Hot/Cold describes an aspect of the nature of a pattern. Clinically, Hot manifests as a Rapid pulse. Traditionally, the pulse rate was measured in relation to the practitioners' breath, but for consistency's sake, it might be better to use a watch. Rapid is roughly over 80 beats per minute. Children run a little hotter, temperature wise, than adults; their pulses are more naturally rapid, which doesn't necessarily indicate pathology.
Cold is usually considered less than 65 beats per minute and is described as a Slow pulse; however, someone who is athletic typically has a Slow pulse. In that case, it is not necessarily a cold condition. Interestingly, regular exercise tends to "chill us out," so these people may be treating their hot natures, bringing themselves and their pulses into a more relative balance.
Full/Empty may be the easiest conditions to relate to a pulse type. These conditions are sometimes referred to as Excess/Deficiency, and manifest as Full and Empty pulses. A Full pulse can be a specific pulse often described as hard and rather long, extending beyond the normal pulse position. It also can be used to describe any pulse type that has a bigger, more substantial feel under the fingertips. An Empty pulse indicates a lack of something, such as Qi, Blood, Yin or Yang, and is referred to as a Deficiency. It occupies a shorter space and has a less substantial feel to it. It is used also in the general sense to describe a whole range of different deficiency type/weak pulses.
Yin/Yang can describe a generalization of the other six principles; therefore, a condition that is entirely Yin would be Interior, Cold and Empty. The pulse quality is a combination of Deep-Slow-Weak. A Yang condition is Exterior, Hot and Full; thus, the pulse for a strictly Yang condition is Floating-Rapid-Full. Yin/Yang are more frequently used to describe conditions of emptiness, commonly called Yin or Yang Deficiency. If there is not enough cooling Yin, it is referred to as a Yin Deficiency. This condition is Hot and Empty, manifesting as a Rapid-Empty pulse. If there is not enough warming Yang, it is called a Yang Deficiency. The condition is Cold and Empty, and the pulse appears Slow-Empty. So, in a way, there are only six main pulse types - all of the other qualities being variations of these six.
The pulse quality left out of the table is called a Leisurely or Slowed-Down pulse. It is about the same strength in every position: not too strong or weak, and with a moderate rhythm and rate. This pulse indicates a fairly balanced and healthy individual, and so far, I have never felt it with anyone coming into my clinic! Maybe it was more common in ancient times?
A good way to learn five common pulse qualities is by relating them to the Five Elements and the Yin organs that relate to each one:
The pulse qualities outlined in this article are the simplest to begin with. The more that pulse assessment is consistently practiced, the more the information received will make sense. Get started!
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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