Precision in Finger Placement for Pulse Diagnosis

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JCM 109-43
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This article discusses correct finger placement when examining the radial arterial pulse for diagnostic purposes in Oriental Medicine. The variations in how practitioners place their fingers at the traditional locations designated in Chinese as cun, guan and chi are discussed, along with the classical source material for placement. References, both textual and lineage teachings, often present conflicting standards for finger placement (see below). It is for these reasons that the author is presenting the following proposals for a revised set of standards, based on a combination of historical precedent as described in the Chinese classics and subsequent publications, rational analysis grounded in CM theory, and the author’s 40 years of acupuncture practice. The author proposes that the primary anatomical determinant for finger placement should be the styloid process of the radius, whilst taking into account the relative width of the practitioner’s and patient’s fingers to place the other fingers. Two methods of finger placement – one that involves moving the fingers proximally from the central landmark of the styloid process, and the other, of keeping them centered on it - are suggested to represent either the yin or yang aspect of the associated element, channel or organ. A clinical vignette is included in order to illustrate the methodology.
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Author Peter Eckman
JCM Issue JCM 109-43
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