Diagnose Your Ills

Asian Wisdom

Ayurvedic holiday in India!

Ayurvedic Holiday in India
Durian the King of Fruits

Durian the King of Fruits
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Home Feng Shui
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Indian Palmistry

Chinese Medicine

Chinese pulse reading for the home

Chinese Face Reading
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Ginkgo Biloba
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Ginseng Korean Wonder Drug
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The Yin and the Yang of Chinese Food

Yin Yang of Foods

p u l s e - r e a d i n g


SINCE I STARTED HAVING MY FIRST PANIC ATTACKS IN OCTOBER 2008, I HAVE BECOME VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE FEEL OF MY OWN PULSE. I HAVE BECOME VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE FEEL OF MY OWN HEARTBEAT, ALL THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF THROBBING. All those different kinds of vibration mean something, and if you are sensitive enough, you can learn what. Pulse reading or pulse diagnosis is the ancient Chinese science of determining your entire health, just from your pulse.

As Carol Greenhouse at AlterNet wrote: "Two thousand years ago, during the Han Dynasty, everyone from rulers to peasants paid doctors to keep them healthy with the pulse diagnosis and treatments first described in the Nei Jing ("Inner Classic") circa 100 BCE. Eastern medicine, like Eastern philosophy, has always subscribed to the idea that the whole is found in its parts. In China, this is the basis of therapies like foot reflexology, tongue reading (in which the tongue's colour, texture and markings are attributed to conditions in the body) and pulse diagnosis. Acupuncturists trained in this subtle method say you can tell the condition of every body function by feeling the rhythm and qualities of the pulse at different positions on the wrist.
"The spot on your right wrist at the base of your thumb, for example, reveals something -- though not everything -- about your lungs, especially their condition in the past. If a student of Chinese medicine feels a narrowing there, your lungs aren't expanding enough. If it feels slippery -- like pebbles rolling on a plate -- it may indicate evidence of a bacterial infection, past or present. And if it feels choppy -- like scraping bamboo with a knife -- there's probably some toxicity.
"Typically, a doctor of Chinese medicine uses other tools of the trade, like tongue diagnosis, alongside pulse readings. Treatment involves regular stints on a massage table, with needles inserted anywhere from your eyebrows to the balls of your feet, and tonics brewed from herbs to strengthen the body's healing process. Western medicines and medical techniques are also suggested when appropriate..."
Subhuti Dharmananda (Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon) writes: "The Chinese term indicating a blood vessel or a meridian (which are two interlinked concepts; see Drawing a concept: jingluo) is mai, and the same term is used to describe the pulse. Pulse feeling is called qiemai, which is part of the general diagnostic method of palpating or feeling the body: qiezhen [feeling method].
"Pulse diagnosis is mentioned in ancient texts, such as the Huangdi Neijing and the Huangdi Neijing of the Han Dynasty period, but with only sporadic mention of various pulse forms and their meaning. In the Huangdi Neijing, pulse is depicted primarily as a means of prognosis for impending death. As an example, in the section of the book on yin and yang it is said that (2):
"A yin pulse that shows no stomach qi is called the pulse of zhenzang [decaying pulse] and the prognosis is usually death. Why? Because a yin pulse reflects absence of yang and thus absence of life activity. If you can distinguish the presence or absence of the stomach pulse, you can know where the disease is located and give the prognosis for life or death, and even know when death might occur....When yang pulses are absent in a patient, the yin or the decaying pulse of the liver is like a thin thread on the verge of breaking, or like a tightly wound wire about to snap. The patient will die within eighteen days. If the decaying pulse of the heart is like a thin fragile thread, the patient will surely die within nine days. If this pulse is found in the lung pulse, the patient will not survive longer than twelve days. If it is found in the kidney pulse, the patient will die in seven days. If it is found in the spleen pulse, the patient will die in four days...


A KNOWLEDGE OF THE YIN/YANG DICHOTOMY IS ESSENTIAL TO UNDERSTANDING TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM) GENERALLY, AND PULSE READING IN PARTICULAR. As the Pulse Academy points out on its website: "Yin-Yang is essence of dualism, plus and minus, up and down, duality, being immemorial dynamics of processes and objects. Example of these Yin-Yang in physics is potential and kinetic energy, Motion and Rest, Beginning and End. The main thing therewith is: everything moves, motion is the result of opposition, cooperation and at last existence (fact of realization).
"It may also be interpreted as follows: dualism (duality) is basis and result of existence of some rules, laws etc. That is why distinguishing of Yin and Yang is properly situation (analysis) beginning, display of the main rule or law. Domination of Yin or Yang somewhere definitely leads to such notions as excess and lack, which inform about availability of any tendency (motion, dynamics, realization).
"For us it is very important to understand Yin potentiality (failure to realize) and Yang dynamism (realization), their capability to create. All this leads to necessity to understand where all this takes place."
In May 2019 I developed a case of stomach flu, which led to a quickening of my pulse by some 20-30 beats per minute. While a rapid heartbeat is a normal symptom of stomach flu, it created a crisis for me because it is also a trigger for anxiety and panic. You could say it was a surging pulse, or even a Hong Mai, which is associated with diarrhea. After a weak or so, I noticed that my pulse change: while being just as rapid as before, it didn't feel as strong. I felt healthier too, but evidently I was still sick... perhaps my pulse was now Shou Mai.


MORE THAN 30 TYPES OF PULSES HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED, ACCORDING TO ONE CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE SUBJECT. They all bear the name mai, which means "channel" in Chinese. Pulses are rated according to position (sunken or deep), frequency (rapid or slow), morphology, strength and rhythm (regular or irregular). may be slow or rapid, floating The more rapid the pulse, the more Yang it is (full of life, you could say, but also reflecting heat inside the body.) Anxiety is a modern term which does not have an exact equivalent in Chinese medicine, according to Giovanni Maciocia. Giovanni continues: "There is no Chinese medicine term that corresponds exactly to what we call "anxiety" but several ancient Chinese disease entities closely resemble anxiety. The two main disease entities that correspond to Anxiety are:
"Fear and Palpitations" (Jing Ji)

"Panic Throbbing" (Zheng Chong)

"Both these conditions involve a state of fear, worry and anxiety, the first with palpitations and the second with a throbbing sensation in the chest and below the umbilicus. "Fear and Palpitations" is usually caused by external events such as a fright or shock and it comes and goes: it is more frequently of a Full nature, "Panic Throbbing" is not caused by external events and it is continuous: this condition is usually of an Empty nature and is more serious than the first. In chronic cases, "Fear and Palpitations" may turn into "Panic Throbbing". In severe cases, "Panic Throbbing" may correspond to panic attacks. Despite the name "Fear and Palpitations", such states of fear and anxiety may occur without palpitations..."
i n d i a n : p u l s e : r e a d i n gJust like astrology and palm reading, there is a Chinese/Indian divide when it comes to pulse reading. According to this Australian website I recently stumbled upon: "A wide forehead expresses your cleverness and practicality - being someone capable of executing duty diligently. This gives you high idealism and a wealth of ideas. A high rounded and deep forehead depicts your idealism, but with a focus on strong friendship. A narrow forehead is considered an obstacle to fulfilment,especially in social situations. Constraints in family life. Need to think things through." Meanwhile, a shallow forehead with a low hairline may cause career obstacles between the ages of 15 to 30, a flat forehead denotes a pragmatic nature and a receding or "flying" forehead betrays an impatient and spontaneous manner. Possessing an "indented forehead" is said to be bad luck for employment and business, and people with indented foreheads plus powerful eyebrow ridges are "quick tempered, impulsive and ambitious". For an exhaustive description of how each part of the face indicates inner personality, go to the aforementioned The Face site.
f o r e h e a d : c r e a s e sWhat do the creases on an individual's forehead tell us, apart from the fact they are old or they worry too much? As one web source has pointed out: "The FOREHEAD re
t h e : w o o d : f a c eThe Wood Type has a long face and long nose, a broad and high forehead and narrow cheeks. The eyes should have a kindly look, and the hair and eyebrows should not be thick or wiry. The forehead should be high and wide in wood as mental direction is important for this elemental type. Wood has the energy of growth, seeing the overall picture and a vision of the future, planning and seeing through projects. Wood types with balanced faces are leaders, administrators and organisers with strong ideals. They need to grow and achieve, as this is the way they learn about themselves and their path in life. One of the challenges of the wood element is to be able to "see the wood for the trees" and not get enmeshed in structures. The Chinese say that a balanced wood face is a pre-requisite for Government.

The emotion that relates to wood is anger which is also the energy used for growth, development and reaching maturity. It is the desire to assert who we are and to fulfil our vision. When this desire is frustrated and blocked it can become explosive anger (the yang aspect) or implode into depression (yin aspect). If the wood type cannot put out "new twigs" every year the "tree" gets very stunted and this can translate into irritability, frustration and indecisiveness instead of good judgement, Blockages in the free and easy flow of wood energy makes the liver and gall bladder susceptible to disease as well as causing headaches, PMT, digestive problems, gallstones, and ulcers. For photos of a typical wood face, click here.
t h e : f i r e :f a c eThe fire type also has a long face with narrow, prominent cheekbones, pointed chin and a more pointed forehead than the wood type. They may have freckles, red, curly or wiry hair, rapid speech and quick body movements. The fire element brings warmth and enthusiasm to the personality with a capacity to inspire and get people fired up. They are active and outdoorsy, goal centred, fast paced and adventurous. They can sometimes take crazy risks, and constantly seek stimulation and excitement.

If the fire goes out, the fire type becomes a rather withdrawn and timid character, lacking in joy and motivation. The challenges of the fire element are to find that warmth and positive joy inside. Excess fire can make you prone to heart problems, anxiety and insomnia or skin rashes. Fire types need to include some bitter foods into their diet from time to time such as chicory, dandelion, and burdock. Blood nourishing foods and herbs are an important consideration for them. Some do very well on ginseng. For photos of a typical fire face in reallife action, click here.
t h e : e a r t h : f a c eEarth personalities are characterised by short square faces with distinct jawlines, sallow complexions, thickset bodies and deep voices. The features can be large, especially the mouth which relates to the stomach and intestines. Earth has the ability to be still and to build a solid base in life.

Earth types are practical, persevering, reliable, stoical and careful with money and make good treasurers. They are not so dreamy or idealistic as wood types and not as swayed by emotion as water types. They tend towards the traditional ways of doing things and can have problems with worry, food issues, stomach and spleen disorders, and assimilating food (and life) and transforming these into Qi energy. The stomach channel runs along the jaw line and a weak earth can mean no jaw line. Conversely, too much earth can signify a tendency to stubbornness, selfishness and a reluctance to change.

The emotion of sympathy is associated with the earth element -- this can manifest as over-caring and nurturing, or a lack of sympathy and inability to nurture oneself. Nutritional advice, supplementation and digestive enzymes are often suitable for earth types. A diet which avoids sugar and dairy is suitable as these foods tend to "blow out" the digestion and create what the Chinese call "damp" -- a form of internal mucus which gets trapped in the connective tissue and causes symptoms such as heavy legs, bloating, excess catarrh, muzzy heads and lethargy. The challenges for earth personalities are to be in the material world and to experience fruition, harvest, nurturing of self and others, rhythms, stillness and a sense of being centred and grounded. For photos of a typical earth face, click here.
t h e : m e t a l : f a c eThe metal face is oval with widely set, chevron cheekbones and a pale complexion. Usually good looking, they have clear, shining eyes with a lot of energy coming out of them. The eyebrows are pale, the speech is clipped and the hair is usually straight. They are good advisers, lawyers and counsellors. Metal is the element of the mind and so they are strong willed and solve their own problems. A good sense of humour, lively outlook and hardworking attitudes are all facets of metal at its best. At its worst, it can become toxic with negative thoughts, cut off and caustic, with a "why is this happening to me?" mentality. Metal types also make good teachers and healers. When depressed, they suffer with diseases of the respiratory system and lower intestines. It is important for them to breathe deeply to let in the heavenly Qi and to make sure that they eat good quality food with lots of minerals, and stay away from junk food which can be difficult for them to eliminate. They tend to respond well to psychotherapy, homoeopathy, Bach flower remedies and treatment protocols which are rational and well thought out. To feel happy, they need to express their creativity or the bright shining metal gets dull and rusty. For photos of a typical fire face, click here.
t h e : w a t e r : f a c eWater personalities can be recognised by their round, chubby, soft faces and sometimes, rotund bodies. Large soft eyes are a water feature as is dark hair and colouring. Water people are quiet and gentle, much ruled by sensation and susceptible to any appeal to the emotions. They are good communicators and storytellers and are sensitive, and aware of trends either at work or society. They can be psychic and make good listeners, carers and counsellors. There is an aliveness and vitality about clear water which can attract what it needs like a magnet, unlike wood types, for example, who decide what they want and then make a plan about how to get it. If the water is clear, they have strong reserves and the ability to flow freely in any situation. If it gets stagnant through unexpressed emotions, the skin can develop a blue tinge with dark rings under the eyes. Like pure fire faces, the classic water face is quite rare. Most people are mixtures, and some have a lot of water in their face, although the basic shape may be wood, earth or metal. Excess soft tissue means held in anxieties and deep emotions which may be affecting the kidney energy. Although the water type is often very ambitious, too much yin can mean that they get bogged down and lethargic. The water element rules the kidneys which hold the essence of life and are the foundation of yin and yang. Long term stress, particularly mental stress and overwork, deplete kidney yin which can no longer cool the body, giving rise to inflammatory conditions and inner heat. For photos of a typical water face, click here.
As well as indicating the basic personality, Chinese face reading can also be used to yield further information about the owner of the particular specimen being studied. For example, parts of the face correspond directly to different parts of the body (internal organs), as shown in this face map.
Colors shown in the face can also be read and interpreted -- subtle shades of blue, yellow and green tell a lot about what is going on, especially mineral deficiencies. And lines on your face aren't necessarily an indicator of your age but what the problems are in your body.

For instance, the dark blue under the eyes relates to overwork and imbalance in the kidneys and adrenals. This could be caused by simply not drinking enough water or feeling very stressed. If there is a yellow tinge to the skin, you have a weak digestive system and redness can mean poor circulation or too much hot, spicy food.

A lined, puffy or red forehead could mean you are eating too much rich, oily food such as meat, take-aways, fried food, cream and butter which affect the gallbladder. A puffy face is what the Chinese say results from damp. It relates to allergic reactions to food, which affect the stomach and spleen and lead to the body being unable to digest food efficiently.

Finally, we move to the possibility that, like the lines on your hand, the face can be read as your entire life story. That is right, the events of your life are written all over your face, including events that have yet to occur.

Contact the author Rob Sullivan at coderot@gmail.com. Anticopyright November 2012.