Friday, March 6, 2009
Book Review: Pulse Diagnosis
Here's another tribute to the Lakeside Master, Li Shi Zhen.
I've been on a book kick recently, and revisiting the Bin Hu Ma Xue, or Pulse Diagnosis book has been the best pick so far. It's so detailed! Reading this book makes me feel like I don't know anything, which is great. Makes me want to learn more.
For those who love charts, the appendix has charts of 32 different pulses (the 27 classic pulses developed by Li Shi Zhen, plus some variations) that describe the depth, strength, width, meaning behind the pulse, and explanation of the disease process for each of them. It also includes the English, Pin Yin, and Chinese characters for the pulses as well as a list of complicated diseases.
I've been using the book as a reference in clinic for the last month, and it's enriched my practice greatly. Did you know that there are seven different types of floating pulses, and five different types of sinking pulses? Based on that information alone, I've been much more observant of the pulse qualities when determining a diagnosis.
The Bin Hu Mai Xue was originally written in verse and is meant to be succinct. It does not describe in great detail what each of the pulses should feel like. For that, I would suggest referencing Bob Flaws' book, The Secret of Chinese Pulse Diagnosis for the standard TCM definitions, or for an extremely comprehensive exploration of the pulse, read Leon Hammer's Chinese Pulse Diagnosis: A Contemporary Approach.