After going over someone's health history, the next thing I do is feel their pulse. I usually have patients lay down for this, and will feel the pulse at both wrists simultaneously.
Just like most other healthcare professionals, I do feel for pulse rate. But don't be concerned when I linger on your pulse for awhile- I'm feeling for more than just the speed of your pulse! I take my time, and also feel for the pulse width, depth, strength, quality. There are different positions under my fingertips that correspond with different systems in your body.
While I am far from a pulse master, I learn a lot about an individual from their pulse. For example, certain qualities will give me a better indication as to how to treat someone's pain, or suggest that someone is coming down with a cold. I may have further dietary or lifestyle recommendations after feeling your pulse.
I often feel the pulse after treatment, too. The pulse responds quickly to acupuncture, and I can feel differences in relative strengths and evenness in the pulse after treatment.
Stay tuned for the rest of our "What's in an acupuncture intake" series. Coming up next: Tongue! Or, schedule your acupuncture appointment here and find out for yourself!