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Acupuncture Malpractice Insurance – Pulse Diagnosis: Beyond Slippery and Wiry Part 1



In a very blessed way, my pulse diagnosis mentor, and then I became in love with the way I take pulses and frankly, that’s what’s kept me interested in Chinese medicine for the last 25 years.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, this is Dr. Martha Lucas, and today I am going to be talking with you about pulse diagnosis. I have a special system that I’ve been using for my whole Chinese medicine career in my offices in Denver and Littleton, Colorado. I am a research psychologist, so I started out my. Quote unquote medical career in Western medicine doing research in hospital settings.

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But I was immediately curious as researchers tend to be about what was operating with the patients I was seeing other than. They just had cardiovascular bypass surgery, so I knew the engine had been fixed a day or two before, but I wondered what else is operating for their healing. So I started to study various energy medicines including reiki, tonal alignment, and then I learned something called color puncture.

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Which as you would imagine, is based on acupuncture, which is based on Chinese medicine. But the teachers didn’t talk much about the theory of why you did certain colors on certain points. So I went to Chinese medicine school. I. To learn that I didn’t really intend to become a practitioner of Chinese medicine.

I just wanted to learn why I was doing certain things, because I couldn’t imagine my patients asking, oh, Dr. Lucas, why are you doing blah, blah, blah? And I say, because Aquila said, Dr. Mandel says so there I met very. In a very blessed way, my pulse diagnosis mentor, and then I became in love with the way I take pulses and frankly, that’s what’s kept me interested in Chinese medicine for the last 25 years.

If I was doing prescription Chinese medicine, I’d be bored. So my goal, part of my goal in my practice is to help as many practitioners as want to be most excellent diagnostician. So we are going to be talking about pulse diagnosis. I. And I want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for allowing me this opportunity to do this show.

This will be part one in a series about pulse diagnosis. So let’s go to the slides. I, the whole presentation is called Pulse Diagnosis Beyond Slippery and Wiry because. I always say I went to a slippery and wiry school where everybody’s pulses were slippery and wiry. That’s what the teachers all knew.

And occasionally we could say they were thin and wiry, but that. That was about the extent of our experience with Pulse diagnosis. So I am excited to show people that there is so much more in Pulse diagnosis than just three and wiry, which is why I call my book and this presentation beyond slippery and wiry.

I am fascinated and I hope we all would be fascinated by the history of Pulse diagnosis. In fact, it has a very storied history, so I really don’t understand why in modern schools they’re not teaching it as our. Primary diagnostic tool. As I said, I was lucky to have a mentor. My school didn’t teach pulse diagnosis.

I think the theory teacher talked about it for about a week. Maybe occasionally someone would say, oh, let’s go around the room and feel everybody’s pulses. And guess what? They were all wiry, where students were spleen deficient, et cetera, et cetera. I the old pictogram actually is an image.

It’s the classic pulse taking with using three fingers. The other diagnostic methods or examinations are used in modern medicine as well as Chinese medicine. There’s an inspection, but in modern medicine, its imaging technologies. Our inspection tools are our pulses and our eyes, our fingers rather to take the pulses in our eyes.

There’s listening, obviously, or maybe not. So obviously the DOT MDs listen, they want to hear what your chief complaint is. We certainly listen to our patient’s chief complaint, but. As the great sociologist and survey master, Andrew Greeley said, people will tell you anything. And so that’s why he suggested we shouldn’t believe surveys.

I believe in pulse diagnosis that people will tell me anything or they’ll tell me nothing. How often does somebody tell you their digestion is great or. With women, oh no, they don’t have any PMS. Their periods are quote unquote normal. So I have learned for many years that people will just say anything and that it’s our job to really figure out what’s going on with people.

I know you’ve all heard someone say, oh, I’ve had acupuncture and it didn’t work. There are two reasons for that. Number one, the patient didn’t work at it. They had back pain for a bunch of years. They come in, they’re hoping you’re gonna make it better in one or two treatments, and so then they tell their friends, oh, I had acupuncture for that, and it didn’t work well, the patient didn’t work.

And then there’s the other reason, which is an incorrect diagnosis. A non a, not a total diagnosis that the practitioner just touches the pulses for a second and sees their wiry, and that’s their diagnosis. No, that is not, that’s not what you would call an adequate diagnosis. So that’s our inquiry part.

We can question the patient, but as I said they’ll say anything. So I feel like. We need to have a tool that even while they are talking with us, we can have our fingers on the pulses and we can be talking with them about what’s going on. For example, I have a patient who’s struggling with Lyme dis he is struggling with the treatments for Lyme disease, and right now he’s taking three different antibiotics.

That’s the protocol of either one or two doctors that he’s going to see, and of course, he. Tells me yes, he’s doing well because he can tell there’s die off and this other stuff. And I’m feeling his pulses and I can tell that his digestion isn’t right. And finally he admits. That he’s having some watery diarrhea.

And I explained to him already about the cold energy of antibiotics and how your digestion loves warm energy. And so he should be expecting maybe some negative side effects from the antibiotics. And of course, he tells me he’s. Pumping lots of prebiotics and probiotics, which also by the way, can have a negative effect on digestion.

Because I could tell that the digestion was struggling with the cold, I just put a Ong on Ren 12. No needles yet and put my fingers on his pulses and immediately could feel some young coming back, some more fullness to the pulses. And this young man has been seeing me and another practitioner who was trained in pulse diagnosis by me for a long time.

So he loves to talk about it, he loves to be educated about it. He’s very curious about how his kidneys are doing, how his liver is doing. And so it’s. I like educating our patients as well because an educated patient is a better referral source for you because they can say, I saw Dr. Lucas, she did blah, blah, blah.

She said, this is why this is happening. And then she treated it instead of, oh, I’m getting acupuncture and I don’t know what they’re doing. And it’s just a magical tool. It isn’t. It is not a mystery. It’s a medicine. And pulse diagnosis is not a mystery either. It’s a diagnostic tool that can be explained.

So for us to be able to decide what’s going on with the patient is the primary goal of every treatment in Chinese medicine. And we also have smelling right in, we would call these in modern medicine, more like blood tests and urine tests. My very first kidney disease patient, I could see. Smell. I could smell his kidney disease and he hasn’t had that smell since I think two treatments out.

So we’re all trying to do our diagnostic tools. And then the art of changing yin and yang. I call it balancing like my kidney disease patient. I balanced yin and yang. He came to me with priapism, and when I explained to a few students that I was doing some kidney yang points, they couldn’t believe it.

They’re like, yang. Oh my gosh. That would create an erection. Why on earth would you be doing kidney yang points for priapism? Because I was balancing. Not only kidney, yin and yang, but the whole system of yin and yang. So in the old days they used to say that the diag, you diagnosed the causes of illness according to what they called the complicated pulse.

And I just taught a seminar in cosmetic acupuncture, and we were talking about pulse diagnosis, and the students were saying, how, oh our teachers told us it’s too complicated. It would take a whole. 30 or 40 or 50 years longer than we’re gonna be in practice to learn it. And that is totally wrongheaded.

That is absolutely not true. You can absolutely learn how to be a good diagnostician. And the process back in the day was called ology, and this was as early as the inner canon talking about the normal pulse and the morbid pulses. Now, why is that important? Because if you don’t know how to see a normal pulse, if you don’t know what normal feels then you’re only ever going to be feeling.

Out of balance pulses. So part of what I like to teach people is the goal of every treatment is the normal pulse and how that feels. And I love the whole history of it. I love the original names and labels of things like the lung, great abyss. And honestly, if you think about the names, the original names.

It can also help you think about what you’re feeling in the pulses large intestine Union Valley of the Hand, young Ravine stomach surging young, like I just said, with that case study of the young man suffering through his medical treatments for Lyme disease. I put that Mong on run 12 to raise some young spleen surging gait, young pour the heart or also inside spirit gait celestial window, the small intestine beside the throat bend center, bladder bent part of the knee.

Great ravine, the kidneys. Of course the kidneys fund everything, right? Of course. They’re a great ravine. They fund all of the other movements, which is partly why they are so important. We all learn. Kidneys kidneys Ming Mu Fire, original Chief Fire in the belly. Why? Because that’s funding everything.

So if that starts to go down, then all of the other organ systems are going to be out of balance. There’s no such thing as an out of balance kidney pulse. Everything else is balanced. Not gonna happen. Palace of Toil. A colorful network vessel in the palm and rep represents the heart harmony, bone hole, sanja, suspended bell gallbladder, supreme surge liver.

And we know the liver helps. Move everything according to the inner Canon Pulse examination inspects the distribution of blood, and we know it’s of blood and oxygen inside the channels or meridians, and that diseases generate uneven distributions inside those channels. In other words, we are feeling the imbalances, the disruption of oxygen and blood in those channels, and that’s a part of how we make our diagnosis.

I. Some historical positions because I teach in my diagnosis courses, I teach it maybe what sounds like a few different positions. The basic positions are the same, but there are additional things we can feel like the uterus in the left uterus and prostate in the left kidney pulse. So in the old days. We might talk about the left distal pulse being heart, chest center, small intestine or pericardium or the right sun being the lung in the chest and the large intestine left, middle position, liver, diaphragm, gallbladder, spleen.

So these are all things that historically were felt you could feel in that position with the right side stomach and spleen. The left chair position, kidneys, pretty much the kidneys have always been in that. Most proximal position, kidney, abdomen, bladder, large intestine, and small intestine, because they’re deep, they’re in the lower jaw.

So it makes a certain amount of sense that we would feel that what’s going on with that organ system in the HUR position. Right side. Kidney, abdomen, pericardium, sanal, bladder life gait, small intestine, large intestine. Now, these are all historically talked about, the organ systems that we can feel in the certain positions.

The inner canine indicates that the stomach is the regular chie of a normal person, which of course I. Think is super, super ambiguous. But again, we’re going over a little bit of the history of it. And we talk about that being the person’s y qi. And if it gets weak, the stomach is going to come, become a little bit weak if it gets.

Vanquished gone. Stomach chi will be then scattered. And that’s a basic sign of life, right? That’s how we make our energy. So to have a good earth, solid earth, spleen, stomach, right middle side position is very important. And in my system, which goes back to early sixth century Korea. And from, in my experience, I know and teach about how early childhood trauma is held in that position, in that middle position on the right side, spleen, stomach, earth.

And it has to do with nurturing, lack of nurturing or even perceived lack of nurturing being separated from a parent at an early age or having early trauma. The classic of difficult issues mentions that if the upper part doesn’t have a pulse and the lower part has a pulse, that’s they call cumbersome, but we need to look at getting that better, right?

There shouldn’t be just a low pulse or a high pulse, a deep pulse in a superficial pulse. We need to get those pulses. Communicating with each other because the pulse can’t only have a root. It should have a root, but not only a root. And we all know that absence of a root pulse is going to show that there’s some debilitation in the kidney going on.

In the energy of the kidney, the history of pulse diagnosis isn’t only Chinese medicine either. Hindu physicians looked at the pulses they likened them to certain animals like the serpent, the frog, the swan, the peacock diseases were attributed to the humors, air, bile, and phlegm. And they felt like they were all reflected in the pulses.

And we talked certainly about. We talk a lot about phlegm being in the pulses. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be called beyond slippery and wiry. And they said that a disturbance in phlegm, the pulse would be slow and heavy, like the motion of a swan or a peacock, whereas dis some sort of disturbance in the air would be like the motion of a serpent.

Greek physicians also used pulse diagnosis. They included the knowledge of both music and geometry they felt were necessary in order to interpret the pulse and they. Paid attention to its rhythm or cadence. They also recognize size, frequency, force, and as I said, rhythm. And it is said that the physician Galen wrote more books on the subject of Pulse diagnosis than anyone before or since.

He emphasized the importance of feeling the pulse during healthy times so that we knew what a normal pulse felt like. And then the irregular, the imbalance, the illness pulses became more clear to us. They also studied the speed of the pulse length, depth, broadness strength, so you can see that not only Chinese medicine historians and doctors studied the pulses or all of these little subtle distinctions that can be in the pulse.

In fact, Galen even drew wave pictures, which is part of what I teach in my classes in Europe. Bordeaux brought about the idea of organic pulses and talked about. The, some of the pulses being shown above the diaphragm, seeing the organs above the diaphragm and some below the diaphragm, and then the superior pulses were divided into certain organs and the inferior pulses, the lower ones.

And I talked to people about feeling the upper, middle and lower jou locations of the organs in the pulses. So the earliest case histories used visual exam, listening, questioning, but palpation was the main diagnostic tool. They were palpating or reading what they called the grand rendezvous of the vessels.

And that is that area, the three finger width on both sides of the wrists, the grand rendezvous of the vessels. We have one dimensional models, which say the pulse is wiry. We have two dimensional models, which might say, I can feel a young pulse and a yin pulse, but we’re gonna be looking at more than three levels, three or more levels.

It’s quantum mechanics, which does sound complicated. Physics, quantum mechanics, that all sounds like it’s super, super comp complicated. But I can take that into. A discussion that everyone can understand and we can. Learn what I call a plausible methodology. So we’re going to be talking eventually about the top level skin, superficial level, skin surface, meridian activity, chief flow, emotions, the body’s interaction with the environment, middle level blood, functional aspects, organ function, metabolism are interfaced with.

Our internal organs in the environment. And then the deeper level, the bottom bone marrow organs, chronic disease, hidden emotion, unconscious emotions, adaptive level patterns that are fixed and you might not even know about. So unconscious emotions. And all of this means that we are going to be able to see current situations with the patient and older situations with the patient.

So the physical space that we’re feeling is going to give us a diagnostic. Perspective from birth or before birth up to the current because nothing is omitted in your pulses. It’s like a Rosetta Stone. It’s one symptom didn’t just come from yesterday. It’s a historical. Adding up of events that we can see in the person’s pulses.

So we are gonna be able to look at the circumstances, emotions, healing, disease progression, and that’s all gonna show up in the pulses. And the pulses should change during the treatment. You’re. Your treatment should work like that little Moab bong, changing the pulses while I was watching it, or your acupuncture prescription, changing the pulses.

So acupuncture treatments should be fluid, not prescriptions. I am not a believer in pre what I call prescription Chinese medicine, which means, oh, the person has. PMS. Let me look in a book and see what acupuncture points I should do. That is totally wrongheaded because not everyone’s PMS is caused by the same thing, and that’s your job to figure that out.

So this ends part one of my story or my training in Pulse diagnosis, my ex. You can see how excited I am about Pulse diagnosis and in part two, next time we are going to talk about what a normal pulse feels like. Talk about some emotions, talk about some case studies. So again, I wanna thank the American Acupuncture Council and I will see you next time.


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