Commonly Seen Pulses Found on the Left Chi Position

Author: 
Jimmy Chang, L.Ac., O.M.D.

Traditionally taught in school, the left sides cun, guan, and chi reflect the Heart, Liver, and Kidney yin, respectively; whereas, the right sides cun, guan, and chi are the Lung, Spleen, and Kidney yang. In Changs Pulse Diagnosis, the organs are slightly different. When the fingers are placed on the correct locations, the underlying organs to reflect the corresponding radial pulse are as described below.

Left
Right
cun
Heart/Small Intestine Lung/Large Intestine
guan
Liver/Gallbladder Spleen/Stomach
chi
Kidney
  • Reproductive functions
  • Low back and lower body
Kidney
  • Urinary functions
  • Neck, shoulder, upper back

Understanding this pulse position-organ relationship and also knowing the definitions of the various pulse signs, one can easily detect the cause of disorders. With this in mind, below are the most commonly seen pulses that are found on the left chi position.

Deep and Small Pulse
A small pulse is a deficiency pulse and as mentioned above, the left chi represents the reproductive functions of the Kidneys; therefore, when this pulse is found on this position, it is an indication of weak reproductive functions, such as infertility, low libido, or impotence. In this type of condition, salty and warm herbs should be used to address the reproductive function deficiencies.

Birds Beak Pulse
The birds beak pulse, also known as the pen tip pulse, is an indication of stones. Found on the left chi, the birds beak pulse is an indication of kidney stones in the left ureter (not kidney). Stones in the kidneys cannot be felt through pulse taking. The formula to use for this condition is Dissolve (KS)™.

Turtle Pulse
There are two types of turtle pulse: 1) Turtle pulse with no tail and 2) Turtle pulse with a tail. In general, a turtle pulse indicates swelling from inflammation with the tail of the pulse indicating disk problems and neuralgia. Since the left chi position reflects the low back and lower parts of the body (hips, knees, ankles), a turtle pulse felt on this position indicates swelling and inflammation of the low back / lower body.

A turtle pulse with no tail found on the left chi position is an indication of back and lower body pain and stiffness, and soft tissue injury, which can be attributed to overuse and repetitive movements. Since there is swelling and inflammation, the treatment principle would be to astringe. The herbal formulation to prescribe is a combination of Astringent Complex™, Zhen Ren Huo Ming Yin (True Man's Decoction to Revitalize Life), and Dang Gui Nian Tong Tang (Tangkuei Decoction to Lift the Pain).

A turtle pulse with a tail found on the left chi position is an indication of bone spurs or disk problems of the lower back. A must-use herb for bone spurs is Po Bu Zi Ye (Folium Cordia Dichotoma), which is the key ingredient in my formulation, Flex (Spur)™, for bone spurs.

When the turtle pulse is found on both chi positions, then it denotes prostate enlargement and/or varicocele.

Dispersing Pulse
A dispersing pulse, which is a thick, soft, weak, and deep pulse with no border (or the border is difficult to perceive), indicates 1) blood stasis from old injuries resulting in low back pain or 2) history of lower abdominal surgery, C-section, anesthesia, hysterectomy, etc. where there might be residual blood stasis. The herbal treatment for this condition is to move blood; therefore, the herbal prescription consists of Circulation SJ™ with Resolve (Lower)™ for 1 month, and then only Resolve (Lower)™ until the condition is resolved.

Taiyang Pulse
Taiyang pulse found on the left chi position is an indication of reproductive dysfunctions and/or inflammation in the lower abdomen. If taiyang pulse is found on both chi positions in women, it is important to then check the temperature of their palms; if their palms are hot, and if they are also on hormone replacement therapy, these women are possibly at a higher risk of breast cancer. Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae) is an essential herb for hormonal conditions and should be included in any formulations addressing these conditions.

Du Pulse
Like the taiyang pulse, the Du pulse extends proximally beyond the chi positions. When the Du pulse is found on the left chi position, it is an indication of back pain, stiffness, strain, or sprain. The herbal formulation that should be used in this case is a combination of Gardenia Complex™, Astringent Complex™, and Dang Gui Nian Tong Tang (Tangkuei Decoction to Lift the Pain).

Guitar String Pulse and Yinqiao Pulse
Both the guitar string pulse and the yinqiao pulse are thin, straight, wiry pulses on or proximal to the chi positions. The indications of these two pulses are similar when found on the left chi position; the indications include 1) hemorrhoids, 2) skin allergy, and 3) poor peripheral circulation from constriction.

The herbal treatments for the different indications are as follows:

    For hemorrhoids:
    • Hot Breaker [which contains Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae), Xuan Shen (Radix Scrophulariae), Huai Hua (Flos Sophorae), Zhe Bei Mu (Bulbus Fritillariae Thunbergii)]
    • Zhen Ren Huo Ming Yin (True Man's Decoction to Revitalize Life)
    • Astringent Complex™
    • Shao Yao Tang (Peony Decoction)
    For skin allergy:
    • Wen Qing Yin (Warming and Clearing Decoction)
    • Yi Yi Ren (Semen Coicis)
    • Liver DTX™
    • If dry type: add Gardenia Complex™ and Astringent Complex™
    • If wet type: add Jing Fang Bai Du San (Schizonepeta and Saposhnikovia Powder to Overcome Pathogenic Influences) and Astringent Complex™ or Gardenia Complex™
    For poor peripheral circulation:
    • Openers [which are Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) and Sheng Ma (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) or Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) and Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong)]
    • Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang (Relax the Channels and Invigorate the Blood Decoction)

Ren Pulse
The ren pulse also extends proximally beyond the chi positions and on the left chi, it is an indication of gynecological problems, such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, small fibroids, and uterine prolapse.

In summary, knowing the general indications of pulse signs and then combining it with the pulse position-organ relationship are what is needed in order to reach a diagnosis.

About the Author
Master Jimmy Wei-Yen Chang has over 25 years of concentrated clinical experience applying his expertise in differential diagnosis and herbal prescription. The author of a pulse diagnosis manual, Pulsynergy, Master Chang currently pursues his specialties in private practice in Hacienda Heights, California, and is widely recognized for his skills in correlating expert pulse taking and herbal prescription.

To learn more about pulse diagnosis and herbs, click here to view a complete list of courses by Jimmy Chang.