“It must be recognized that an ideology is always out of phase with the situation in which it is employed, for an ideology has always emerged as a response to a preceding situation, the attributes of which are different from the current situation.” ― Morse Peckham
This lineage provides a comprehensive method for assessing the channel systems. It was created by Will Morris through a participatory model of research focused upon answering contemporary clinical questions through the canons of Chinese medicine. These are specifically, the Pulse Classic, Spiritual Axis, Cold Damage Classic, and Golden Cabinet.
Historically, the paths of pulse are two. First are methods that assign anatomical meaning to the pulse positions. We see this in the practices discussed in the Huang Di Nei Jing and by preeminent practitioners such as Li Shi-zhen and the modern master of Chinese medicine, John HF Shen (1914-2000). Secondly are the channel based methods of assessment commonly used by Han Dynasty practitioners and now the Americans, Japanese, Koreans and Europeans.
This article provides an overview of NeoClassical Pulse Diagnosis and its methods. The primary contribution of NeoClassical pulse diagnosis is a comprehensive and systematic approach to assessing the channels through the pulse. Initially, we will explore the structures and methods of practice, teasing out practical applications for each pulse diagnostic method. To accomplish this I present a cognitive hierarchy of pulse diagnostic methods. Other schemata for organizing an approach to pulse diagnosis will be discussed at another time.
This progression of concepts and treatments begins with a large view and progresses to more detailed increments. Such a movement is not linear, nor should it be pursued dogmatically. Catma rules not dogma. One may clear out ‘noise’ at larger dimensions of being and progress accordingly to smaller. One may also enter the system at any point and move in any direction. Generally, I begin anywhere in the first three areas depending upon these factors: if it is a musculoskeletal problem in the sinews, I go for the 6 channels first. If there is a large difference in the pulses side to side I will immediately explore the carotid-radial ration in order to discern the difference in blood supply between the upper and lower.
- Carotid- Radial ratio (Renying-Cunkuo or Jingei)
- 8 extraordinary vessels
- 6 channels
- 5 depths
1. The carotid-radial ratio is like a 10,000 foot view upon the physiology. It is the largest aspect of yin and yang, comparing above and below. It relates to the first division of yin and yang.
2. The 8 extraordinary vessel pulse method is one of the most robust and profound methods of pulse diagnosis I have found. It can be used for literally any condition. Further the pulse method describes shape and can be used for record keeping. It is important to remember that, when using this method, the shape may be indicative of some other problem.
3. The 6-channel system will be addressed here. It is profoundly effective for the conditions of the sinews. Having said this, it is used for internal medical concerns as well.
4. Each individual position is used for purposes of the zang-fu and given all their functions according to the Spiritual Orchid – Spiritual Axis Chapter 8. For the liver, the commanding function of the general, strategic planning and other features of the lover as an organ.
5. Directions are used to adjust each of the domains of the zang-fu. These include the spirits such as the shen, hun, po, zhi and yi. They are also suitable for pathophysiological events within the zang-fu.
6. The depths correlate with the nerve, vessel and organ tissues from anatomical points of view. They can also be divided into the five elemental components. Further, the status of qi and yang are under consideration related to depth.
7. The wave is the subtlest component of the pulse. It is assessed in terms of yin and yang, five elements, or 6 divisions.
Time provides the warp of Chinese medical practice while space provides the woof. In time we seek the stage of life, year, moon, day and moment to come to an understanding and situate our patient in a place with which we can construct meaning and correspondingly an intervention. In Neoclassical pulse methods I set forth taxonomy of pulse diagnosis, in Table 1 the pulse methods are parsed into time frames:
Table 2: Time frames
|Level||Time Frame||Pulse Method|
|1||Jing cycle 7-8 years||8 Extraordinary vessels|
|2||Seasons||5 Transformations, Carotid-Radial|
|3||Month (Lunar cycle)||Wu Ji Divisions|
|4||Day||Ying Qi and Wei Qi Cycles|
|5||Beats per minute||Count 30 seconds|
|6 Wave||Division by Wu Ji and 5 Transformations|
This progression of time frames begins with a large view and progresses to more detailed increments. In this article, the time frame under consideration is seasonal.
Every pulse diagnosis method may be used to inform various areas of practice. The boady image system is particularly useful for herbal medicine.
The practice of pulse diagnosis eases when driven by inquiry. Here, the question pertains to anatomical location. In this method, one places the image of the body over the radial artery in order to explore specific anatomical locations.
The method is different than those that are used to assess a stage of disease process or the assessment of acupuncture channels. Body image pulse diagnosis
This section explores the contributions of the Ding family lineage as presented by Dr. John HF Shen.
Chinese medicine, as all medicine, articulates disease in terms of process, severity and location. The pulse may be explored in a limited fashion based upon the location of the problem for which the patient seeks care. The pulse may also be assessed in terms of a comprehensive record.
The late great John HF Shen influenced a whole generation of practitioners in America and Europe. The lineage he transmitted included a pulse diagnosis system that involved a ‘body image’ on the radial artery at the wrist. In his method, the fingers are rolled from one of the primary pulse positions into an area that is representative of a specific anatomical feature of the organ. For instance, to examine the esophagus, one rolls distal from the primary stomach position in order to get insight about the structure and function of the esophagus from the pulse.