Chinese Pulse Diagnosis Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Normal Pulse
1. Has Spirit (distinct and has force)
2. Has stomach Qi (supple, slightly slippery, uninhibited, not deep)
3. Has Root (can be felt both at the cubit and inch position down to the bone
Normal Pulse
spirited conversation by healthy people after a satisfying meal.
Floating Pulse
Fu Mai
“A wooden pole floating on water—when we push it, there is some resistance but upon release it immediately comes back up”
1. Floating (located on the surface)
2. Surplus
3. Insufficient when pressing down
4. Regains strength when released
Meaning: Yang on the surface, exterior factors(Greater Yang) associated with wind invasion, +forceless is a vacuity pattern; +rapid is wind heat; +slow is wind-cold; +relaxed is wind-damp; + choppy is Blood damage; +short is Qi disease; +bowstring is rheumatic condition; +slippery
Vacuous (Empty)
(Xu mai)
1. Floating (but not as much as in exterior conditions)
2. Wide (large)
3. Forceless
4. Possibly slow
Meaning: Interior Blood and/or Yin vacuity pattern, summerheat evil. It reflects an advanced case of Yin deficiency with floating Yang and empty heat.
Vacuous (Empty)
(Xu mai)
Picture a tired swimmer with a long way to go to reach shore, taking wider and slower strokes.
Drumskin
(Leather)
(Ge Mai)
1.floating
2. Wide
3. Tense or hard
4. Empty
Meaning: severe hemorrhage, loss of fluids, large or wide means excess yin-fluid or qi
deficiency. It can also indicate vacuity cold. If it is also rapid it can mean forthcoming
hemorrhage. In females miscarriage, flooding;
in males it can mean essence deficiency.
Drumskin
(Leather)
(Ge Mai)
Picture someone playing a flat drum that only makes a dull "thud"
Scallion Stalk
(Hollow)
(Kou Mai
1. Floating
2. Wide or large
3. Light pressure it becomes irregular
4. Heavy pressure is disappears.
Meaning: Qi and Blood deficiency, severe
Kidney Qi deficiency, Deficiency of original Qi. +slow is Qi and Yang deficiency; +rapid is
severe blood deficiency with Empty Heat; +floating is Deficient Original Qi with floating yang or with Yin Fire.
Scallion Stalk
(Hollow)
(Kou Mai
Picture touching an onion stalk and how it so easily caves in to your touch.
Scattered
(San Mai)
1. Floating
2. Wide or large, vague edges
3. Light pressure it becomes irregular
4. Heavy pressure is disappears.
Meaning: Qi and Blood deficiency, severe
Kidney Qi deficiency, Deficiency of original Qi. +slow is Qi and Yang deficiency; +rapid is
severe blood deficiency with Empty Heat; +floating is Deficient Original Qi with floating yang or with Yin Fire.
Scattered
(San Mai)
Picture touching a dead non-stinging jelly fish beginning to fragment, floating on the top of the ocean.
Soggy
(Weak-Floating)
(Ru Mai)
“Like a silk thread floating on water”
1. Floating
2. Fine
3. Forceless
4. Felt only with slight pressure
Meaning: Chronic Qi deficiency with dampness. Common with chronic conditions with Dampness such as post-viral conditions. It also indicates
Stomach Qi deficiency. Commonly felt with
digestive disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, nocturnal emissions and diarrhea.
Soggy
(Weak-Floating)
(Ru Mai)
a silk thread upon the water
Surging
(Hong Mai)
“Like a wave or rive overflowing its banks”
1. Floating
2. Wide
3. Forceful, comes on strong
4. Peters out
5. Slippery
Meaning: With strength it indicates Full-heat affecting Liver, Heart, Lungs or Stomach and may also be rapid. Without strength it indicates Yin deficiency, empty heat. Indicates Heat or emotional conditions in relation to particular locations such as heart, liver, lungs.
Surging
(Hong Mai)
A large wave crashing on the shore and slowing receding.
Sunken (Deep)
(Chen Mai)
“A stone in water”
Deep, sunken
Fine
Forceless
Meaning: 1. Yang qi is insufficient to rise 2. Yang Qi is blocked, can’t rise up. Interior condition, could be cold, heat, food retention, stagnant Qi, Blood, water accumulation depending on the other pulses. Deep and bowstring is massive pain
One should differentiate between Deep-Full and Deep-Weak
Sunken (Deep)
(Chen Mai)
a stone sunk to the bottom of a lake
Hidden
(Firm, Prison)
(Fu Mai)
Very deep, deeper than a deep pulse
This pulse can only be felt with strong pressure at a very deep level, close to the bone.
Meaning: Similar to the Deep pulse but more extreme. If it is Hidden and full it indicates blockage. Hidden and empty it indicates Yang deficiency.
Hidden
(Firm, Prison)
(Fu Mai)
A stone sunk into a deeper lake
Weak
(Ruo Mai)
This is a distinct pulse from other ‘weak’ pulses.
Deep
Soft
Forceless
Meaning: Common in chronic conditions, more than an empty pulse. It may indicate Blood or original Qi deficiency. Weak at the superficial level can mean Yang deficiency due to overwork, lack of sleep, deep at the deep level indicates Yin deficiency. Symptoms cab be digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, profuse sweating, nocturnal emissions, hemorrhages
Weak
(Ruo Mai)
a lifeless soft-bodied cadaver resting at the bottom of the lake
Prison
(Confined or firm)
(Lao Mai)
1. Very deep, 2. Hard, wiry, 3. forceful
Meaning: internal patterns, chronic pain, internal Cold, Qi stagnation, Blood stagnation, abdominal masses, abdominal pains, Blood stasis caused by Cold
Prison
(Confined or firm)
(Lao Mai)
a dragon in a cave deep in mountain
Slow
(Chi Mai)
Formerly defined in relation to the breathing rate of the doctor. It was slow if there were less than three breathes during a full in-out respiration of the doctor.
On average it is Less than 60 BPM however an infant has a pulse of 120/140, while a senior may have a normal pulse of 68BPM. (see pulse rate chart)
Meaning: indicates a Cold pattern and a problem in the Yin organs while a Rapid pulse indicates a problem in the Yang organs. A very slow pulse beating twice for each breath cycle is called a Harmful Pulse.
Slow and Heat can occur if there is Kidney yang with damp heat, deficiency of both kidney yin and yang. Also a condition of “true cold and false heat”.
Slow
(Chi Mai)
Walking slowly with snowshoes in the arctic
Rapid
(Shu Mai)
Faster than 90 BPM
This pulse indicates Heat which may be full or empty based on whether the pulse is full or empty.

If wiry it indicates liver-fire, if slippery it indicates Phlegm-fire. Rapid-fine indicates yin deficiency with empty Heat. Rapid, floating and empty also indicates yin deficiency with empty Heat. According to Maciocia it is important to recognize that a rapid pulse indicates empty-heat rather than yin-deficiency. He compares this to a red tongue indicates empty-heat rather than yin deficiency itself. It is a tongue that lacks a coat that indicates yin deficiency.
Rapid
(Shu Mai)
walking or driving to beat the traffic and get to work in the morning.
Moderate
(leisure also known as the slowed-down pulse)
(Huan Mai)
This is a relaxed, almost slow pulse. It is normal at the right bar, being characteristic of a normal Spleen pulse. It can be a healthy pulse if it is not Floating, nor Deep, nor Full nor Empty. Slowed-Down-Soggy indicates Dampness with Spleen-Qi deficiency. Slowed-Down-Slippery indicates Cold Phlegm Dampness. Slowed-down-fine indicates Qi and Blood Deficiency. Slowed-down-floating indicates weakness of Defensive Qi. Slowed-down-deep indicates weakness of Nutritive Qi. Slowed-down-choppy indicates blood deficiency. Slowed-down-big without force indicates Yin deficiency.
Moderate
(leisure also known as the slowed-down pulse)
(Huan Mai)
Laying on a sunny Hawaiian beach ,gently but good surf, reading a favorite book. Nowhere special to be
Racing
(rapid, urgent)
(Ji Mai)
“It feels hurried, anxious, agitated and urgent.” Faster than 120 BPM. It indicates Heat, possible Heart palpitations, Yin deficiency with Empty-Heat, rebellious Qi of the Penetrating Vessel.
Racing-floating indicates severe empty-Heat from Yin deficiency. Racing-deep indicates rebellious qi in the Penetrating vessel. Racing-floating-empty indicates severe Yin deficiency. Racy-slippery indicates empty-Heat from Yin deficiency with Phlegm. Racy-surging or overflowing indicates Empty heat from Yin deficiency.
Racing
(rapid, urgent)
(Ji Mai)
an ambulance, sirens blazing, speeding through stop signs, carrying someone who has had a heart attack to the ER of a local hospital.
Replete (full, solid)
(Shi Mai)
Long, Wide, Tense, Forceful — it is easily felt at all levels and has a springy quality.

The Replete or Full pulse must be differentiated from other full pulses such as Bowstring, Slippery, Tight, Big, Surging. Full can mean Heart, Stomach or Liver-fire depending on the location, retention of food, Phlegm, Full cold, Stagnant Qi/Blood.
Full-rapid=Full-Heat; Full-Slow=Full-Cold; Full-Tight=Full-Cold; Full-Long=Heat; Full-Bowstring=Full Liver pattern.
Replete (full, solid)
(Shi Mai)
An overbearing large person making their way to a) for a Big Mac or B) for a large, slurpy fruit smoothy.
Bowstring (Wiry)
(Zian Mai)
“Like a taut string of a musical instrument”
Large
Forceful
Wiry
Indicates Liver disharmony i.e. Liver-Qi stagnation, Liver-Blood stasis, Liver-Yang rising, Liver-Fire, Liver-Wind. Commonly indicates menstrual pain, PMS, Depression, anxiety, mental illness. Chronic phlegm, chronic pain. It can also indicate chronic phlegm as seen in the aged as well as pain.
Wiry and fine on the left -can indicate Liver Blood deficiency, Liver Yang rising. Wiry on the right, weak on the left can indicate Stomach and Spleen deficiency, liver Qi invading the Spleen
Bowstring (Wiry)
(Zian Mai)
Force tuning a one-string instrument to the point of tension.
Tight
(Jin Mai)
“Like a rope”
Very deep
Forceful
Like a rope

It mainly indicates cold evils, all kinds of pain. Floating and tight is exterior, Floating and Deep is interior.
Similar to bowstring pulse but the tight pulse is thicker
Tight
(Jin Mai)
A strong, tightly wound rope.
Long
(Chang Mai)
Longer than normal - determine by rolling the finger back and forth distil and proximal.
Meaning: Heat, rebellious Qi, phlegm. Long-rapid = internal heat; long-slow=qi stagnation; long-floating = invasion of wind-heat; long-deep = internal Heat; long-wiry = liver disharmony of the full type; long -slippery = Phlegm-Heat; Long-surging = excess Yang and Heat; Long-firm = internal accumulation; long-overflowing-hollow = may indicate hypertension or diabetes.
Long
(Chang Mai)
Picture the pulse starting higher and more proximal on the arm.
Short
(duan Mai)
Shorter than normal
This has two distinct descriptions: 1. only felt in the middle bar pulse or 2. that it can only be felt in the center of each position and has no head nor a tail.
Meaning: severe Qi and Blood deficiency.
Short
(duan Mai)
Two images:

1. Three mountain peaks with the one in the center being the tallest with the others being small hills or cinder cones next to it.

2. A very tiny jumping frog.
Stirring (Moving)
(Dong Mai)
“Like a spinning bean”
Slippery
Rapid
Forceful
No head nor tail
Meaning: severe emotional problems, shock, fright, severe anxiety. In cases of shock, the pulse can remain this way for years as in post traumatic stress syndrome (PMT).
Stirring (Moving)
(Dong Mai)
A bowling ball knocking all the pins down and one that has fallen spinning in place.
Slippery
(Hua Mai)
“Like pearls rolling on a plate” or “raindrops on a lotus leaf”
Smoothly flowing with a horizontal rolling flow
Uninhibited
Learn by feeling the pulse of a pregnant woman in and advanced state of pregnancy.
Meaning: Phlegm, food retention possible Blood stagnation. It usually indicates damp heat, however it can also indicate cold-phlegm, damp-phlegm, wind-phlegm, etc. This meaning is transferred according the organ position the pulse is found.
Slippery
(Hua Mai)
Pearls rolling on a plate - raindrops on a lotus leaf - ice skating
Choppy (Rough)
(Se Mai)
“Like a knife scrapping bamboo” “raindrops in the sand”
Moderate — almost slow
Fine
Speeds up and slows down and/or beats with uneven strength.
Meaning: Blood deficiency, damaged essence, blood stagnation,. It can indicate heart diseases and palpitations.
Choppy (Rough)
(Se Mai)
a volkswagon bug or small car drivng slowly over unevenly spaced speedbumps
Faint (Minute)
(Wei Mai)
Thin, thready
Meaning : deficient Blood and Qi. It can also indicate Yin deficiency.
Fine with fullness (wiry or tight) indicates dampness.
Fine and weak in very young people indicates constitutional deficiency of Original Qi.
Is often associated with digestive weakness, diarrhea and menstrual disorders.
Faint (Minute)
(Wei Mai)
"withering heights", anorexic woman, Frederic Chopin playing such exquisitely sensitive music the last year of his life, consumptive and emaciated.
Bound (Knotty)
(Jie Mai)
Slow, Irregular
Meaning: Internal cold with stagnation of Qi and Blood. It always indicates a Heart disharmony, Heart palpitations. It can be felt after surgery. In young people it can indicate a constitutional deficiency of Original Qi, or severe yang deficiency caused by overwork or excessive sexual activity during puberty.
Bound with strength means Qi stagnation from Cold; chronic Phlegm in the aged; food retention; Qi stagnation, emotional problems, Blood stagnation, abdominal masses. Bound without strength may indicate Heart disease or constitutional deficiencies.
Bound (Knotty)
(Jie Mai)
An very old person trudging along barely able to take the next step.
Intermittent
(Dai Mai)
Slow with regular intermittent stops
Meaning: Heart disharmony, Shock, deficient yin. Need to count the beats as I may only stop after 50 beats.
Intermittent
(Dai Mai)
Someone who is recovering from a serious illness, beginning to cautiously walk outside taking regular moments to sit and recoup.
Skipping (Hasty)
(Cu Mai)
Rapid and intermittent (irregular stops)
Meaning: Replete Heat and is always related to a Heart disharmony. It can also indicate food retention or Phlegm with internal Heat or stagnant Qi or Blood. It also can be rebellious Qi with anger.
It is associated with mental illness, chronic bronchitis, Phlegm-Heat and heart disease.
Skipping (Hasty)
(Cu Mai)
An angry psychotic walking quickly along the roadside, erratically yelling and shouting at anything or nothing.
Pulse Rates
According To
Age
AGE RATE
0-1 120/140
1-3 110
4-10 84/90
11-15 78-80
16-35 76
36-50 72/70
50+ 68
How many floating pulses are there?
Seven
How many sinking pulses are there?
Four
How many rapid pulses are there?
Four
how many slow pulses
Five
How many damp pulses.
three
What pulse indicates Phlegm-dampness?
Slippery
T/F the choppy pulse indicates deficient qi and blood or stagnation.
true
T/F the floating pulse always indicates an external disease such as a cold or flu
False
T/F The slippery pulse can indicate damp-heat
True
T/F Stirring pulse can occur in post traumatic stress patients
True
T/F moderate or relaxed pulse is classified as slow.
True
What category of pulse indicates metabolic coldness.
Slow
What category of pulses indicate Heat?
Rapid
A racing pulse is faster than 90BPM
true
A faint, rapid pulse is an indication of what possible condition.
Blood, yin deficiency with empty heat.
A large, slow type pulse indicates what possible condition?
Excess cold
A fine, floating pulse over the right Bar (middle) position indicates what TCM condition.
Spleen qi deficiency with dampness.
A fine, bowstring pulse over the right cubit (kidney) position indicates what possible TCM condition?
Possible Kidney yang deficiency with stagnation.
A fine or minute pulse over the left inch (heart) position indicates what TCM condition?
Heart blood and Qi deficiency.
A choppy pulse over the left inch (heart) position indicates what TCM condition?
Heart problems, palpitations.
Name the corresponding organs for the right wrist?
Inch: deep is lungs, superficial possibly large intestine -- mainly lungs.
Bar: Deep is the Spleen, surface is the stomach.
Cubit: generally Kidney yang
Name the corresponding organs for the left wrist?
Inch: mainly the heart
Bar: mainly the liver in the deep position at the surface, the gall bladder
Cubit: mainly Kidney yin
What are possible interpretations of a fuller right cubit pulse and a finer left cubit pulse?
Kidney Yin deficiency.
How do the pulses correspond to the Triple warmer?
Inch pulses are the upper part of the body or upper warmer.
Bar pulses are the middle of the body or middle warmer.
Cubit pulses are the lower part of the body or lower warmer.

These are broad designation that can be used to posit problems in specific areas, organ problems, injury, trauma, stones, pain, etc.
Why would it be normal for the pulse t have a general bowstring quality in the Spring.
Bowstring corresponds to the liver which is part of the wood element whose season is the Spring.
Why would it be in the range of normal for the pulse to have a more moderate, relaxed, and possibly more slippery quality in the Summer?
The relaxed energy corresponds to Summer and is reflected by the moderate pulse and the yang tends to float more on the surface.
Why would it be in the range of normal for the pulse to be deeper in the Winter?
Winter is darker, colder and the yang tends to settle more deeply.
A choppy pulse is slow, fine and ------.
slows down and seeds up without skipping beats and the beats may have uneven force.
The vacuous pulse is floating, large forceless and _____.
soft
The confined pulse is very deep forceful and ______.
bowstring
The hidden pulse is very deep, very forceless and _______.
Very fine
The Racing pulse beats above _____ BPM.
120
t/f The Tight pulse is the only pulse that can indicate pain.
false
What floating pulses indicate blood loss?
drumskin and scallion
What is the pulse that feels like a thread called?
Fine
What is a pulse where the artery feels wide called?
Large
T/F A large pulse always indicates excess.
Definitely not -- just as a large flabby tongue doesn't necessarily always indicate excess.
A Replete pulse is Long, Wide, hard and ______.
Forceful
Hardness or tenseness on the pulse refers to _____.
the tensile resistant of the artery against the finger palpation.
What are the Chinese names for the three pulse positions?
Inch = Cun pronounced "tsun"
Bar = Guan pronounced "gwan"
Cubit = Chi pronounced "tsche"
Fine
(thready)
Small, like a thread
Indicates all kinds of vacuity and deficiency. Fine and rapid =yin vacuity with internal heat
/ 97
Term:
Definition:
Definition:

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