Feeling the pulses before commencing acupuncture treatment is like shining a torch at night on the path you wish to follow. Not only does it illuminate the direction you need to travel, but also highlights possible obstacles that may litter the path,
For example it can help to differentiate between whether a headache is caused by an excess or deficiency of circulation to the head, or if a digestive upset is due to involvement of the liver rather than just an issue related to the stomach.
Where there are multiple possible causes to a condition, feeling the pulses and interpreting their feedback helps to steer the treatment to a successful conclusion. Not all headaches or migraines are treated the same, nor are menstrual pains, digestive upsets or joint pains.
Being trained to feel the pulses and take on board what they have to offer allows the cause of these issues to be discerned. Once the cause is addressed the symptoms begin to look after themselves.
Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) also explains the link between the emotions and the organs. If the pulse of a particular organ is demonstrating imbalance this can open the door to a deeper understanding of the patient. An example of this was a person who presented with persistent lung problems that appeared without any obvious external cause or past history.
As the emotion of sadness is related to the lungs I asked her if that could be a probable cause, a factor in her life. She then told me of a situation which explained her lung issues. She had become close to her partner’s father who was ill. Some time later she was estranged from her partner who did not inform her of his father’s subsequent death and funeral. It was after discovering what had happened that her lung problems started.
Once I was able to explain the effect of grieving and sadness on the lung energy, she was more able to reconcile her emotional state and regain better lung health.
Pulse interpretation followed by investigation through the framework of TCM facilitated this result. Even if I’m sure of what’s going on, I’ll still want to feel the pulses as they are an invaluable tool in the pursuit of good treatment.