Centrepoint Acupuncture, Roger Thompson, Acupuncture Townsville, Chinese medicine Townsville

The Power of the Pulse


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.


It’s Not Rude To Show Me Your Tongue

Centrepoint Acupuncture, Roger Thompson, Acupuncture Townsville, Chinese medicine Townsville

Observing the tongue and feeling the pulse are cornerstones of diagnosis in Chinese medicine. Many of us were told as kids that it was rude to poke tongues. In the clinical context it can be a great help in determining the cause of an ailment.

Asking a patient to show me their tongue elicits a range of responses from immediate confession of foods just eaten to childlike defiance or inquiry as to what can be interpreted from such examination.

The colour and shape of the tongue body plus the colour consistency and distribution of the tongue coating reveal much about the state of someone’s health.

In his book Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine, Giovanni Macioca explains this method of diagnosis has been detailed in China since 403 BC and refined and expanded ever since (1997).

The advantages of tongue diagnosis over pulse taking are numerous. Firstly, the tongue body colour almost always reflects the true condition of the patient, as it and the tongue coating are relatively unaffected by short-term events or recent changes, such as a disturbing experience or vigorous exercise just before the consultation.

The tongue can be a useful gauge for monitoring improvement or decline of a patient’s condition; the tongue body colour more useful in chronic ( long-term ) conditions and the coating more useful in acute ( short-term ) conditions.

The correspondence of different areas of the tongue body to different organs is a subject of fairly general agreement.

Tongue diagnosis is relatively objective compared to pulse as distinguishing a certain colour is easier than the quality of a pulse.

Compared to pulse diagnosis,tongue diagnosis is easy to learn. It’s limitation compared to pulse reading is it’s lack of precision in differentiation of presenting signs and symptoms. Only by combining both tongue and pule taking can the practitioner have access to the full picture of a patient’s health.

Finally, please don’t clean or brush your tongue before a consultation as you’ll be destroying the vital indicators needed to make a complete diagnosis.