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Pulse Dynamics

Reading the Fu Xi Wen pulse is
Images from 1918 Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body from
extremely difficult. You need to be able to discern extremely fine movements in a very small space in three dimensions. It would help if these movements were crystal clear, but in reality, there are shades of gray.

Divide Into Quadrants

First thing to think about as the pulse moves is: does it jump back and forth in the same directions as the Yin and Yang aspects of a tissue. For instance, the aorta, tendons, and capillaries all are within the same general East-West area, but are clearly different from the muscles, exterior borders, and exterior boundaries which are also in East-West alignments. If you can make this division in your head, you are making headway in the pulse. Similarly, the heart organ, ligaments, and arteries/veins are on one side of the North-South continuum while the flesh, interior boundaries, and kidney organ are on the other.

If you can differentiate the quadrant of the pulse, the next thing to do is differentiate it's height. The aorta, tendons, and capillaries are in the same quadrant, but their basic (horary) locations are in very different vertical angles. Of course, the reality of the pulse is extremely complicated. You can have an aorta compass position at the capillary vertical angle or some other non-perfect pulse pattern. Being able to tell when a pulse is in a unique combination of compass and vertical positions is the highest level of differentiation of the pulse. Luckily, most of the time the pulse will reflect the tissues in their ideal positions. Learning how to feel these will help you bridge the gap with the more complicated pulse pictures.

Then there is the far more difficult issue of feeling the angle of the pulse in three dimensions. The inherent problem in pulse taking over making your best guesses with your teishin is that when you make a guess and feel the energy, you already know the angle you are using. But with the pulse, the angle that comes up may not necessarily correspond with a tissue top on your mind. So, when you feel the pulse, clear your mind of your knowledge of tissue-angles and simply feel without judgment. It may absolutely be true that a new angle emerges outside of your experience.

Angle Height

Using the method of dividing the pulse essentially into quadrants of Yin-Yang tissues, you can figure out the compass direction. The best way to differentiate the vertical angle is to push the pulse down or lift your diagnosing finger up to see where the top of the angle stops being palpable. If the pulse can still be felt at the very top, then you know you're dealing with a taller angle than if the pulse disappears near the center. In your mind, make a line from the center of the pulse to the height at which the pulse ends and you have your tiny teishin pointing to the tissue-angle needing attention. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Always use your teishin after feeling the pulse to compare the local tissue-angle described by the pulse angle. If they do not match, you likely misread the pulse. You can also use this comparison to differentiate multiple angles too close together in the pulse.

When utilizing the pulse, the goal is to return the pulse to the ideal East-West, North-South, and Up-Down directions: direct East to West, direct North to South, and slightly South and up compared to the down position. Continue treating angles
Images from 1918 Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body from
as they arise in the pulse and eventually the ideal angle will manifest. That is when you can stop treating tissues, as this is an indicator that order has been restored.

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