The Experience of Pulse

“To approach the inner wrist, to hold the hands, to feel the temperature and texture of the skin is to enter an inner world where the body and spirit start to speak in an immediate way about the past and present. Asking permission to touch is the overture. Then holding both hands calms the body and encourages deeper questions or observation to rise to the surface. Approaching by first looking at the color of the nails, inner coloring of the palm noting how the hands functions in their daily life. Engaging the client lightly while your ears widen to start listening deeper.

Approaching lung (right), heart (left), feeling both at the same time, getting a sense of the seat of blood and oxygen, the first burner. The same then with liver (left), stomach (right), a sense of how all is received into the body and cleared in the second burner. Finally, kidney (left) and Thyroid/Endocrine (right), where lower back speaks and body gives a sense of how all the systems are working together.

Of special interest is always the back body, the spine, the nerves that feed the organs and the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. The pulses have a voice of their own. They speak of the physical body, the energetic body and sometimes the light touch of finger to pulse will bring up a question which is neither physical or energetic, but pertinent to the person’s tender understanding of where they are in life.

My usual manner is to look at the tongue first with the client; to gaze upon it has a humor about it that is disarming to both client and practitioner. Then we approach the face and finally the pulse. I find the pulses the most intimate and I intrude on them with a slow, deliberate cadence showing respect for their boundaries. Most times the organs through the pulses convey their wisdom easily and are delighted to be heard, but if they are silent and deep and don’t wish to speak, we stop and honor the reticence and silence.

Using Matthew Wood’s pulse testing for herbs offers client, practitioner and herb an adventurous, collaborative way of working together. It allows the herbs to speak directly with the body and verify or negate what we have intuited or thought. A humbling moment!

All in all, my journey with pulses is the privilege of hearing the whisperings of the spirit and the nudging of the body.”

Kay Parent, herbalist/mentor, AHG

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