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Pulse diagnosis

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Chinese pulse diagnosis techniques from 1554 CE
Against allopathy
Alternative medicine
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Clinically unproven

Pulse diagnosis is an unproven method of diagnosis used in some systems of alternative medicine, such as Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and Unani, which involves detecting minute changes in the pulse; some types of pulse include slippery, choppy, full, empty, slow, rapid, superficial, and deep.[1] The practitioner is supposed to be able to develop an instinct or "feel" for detecting these. Practitioners using pulse diagnosis have been found to have low inter-rater reliability.[2] In TCM, pulse diagnosis is recommended to be done before sunrise, because the yin and yang are apparently in balance then.[3] Pulse diagnosis is recommended to be done when the patient is at rest and not immediately following exercise.

This is in no way related to empirically-verified diagnosis methods based on analysis of heart rate, on heart sounds such as heart murmurs or gallop rhythms, or on electrocardiography.

External links[edit]


  1. Pulse Diagnosis, Wandering Primate.
  2. Interobserver reliability of pulse diagnosis using Traditional Korean Medicine for stroke patients, J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2013 Jan;19(1):29-34. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0612. Epub 2012 Sep 6.
  3. The Skeptics SA guide to Acupuncture, Skeptics SA.