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Chinese Pulse Diagnosis: A Contemporary Approach

812 pages, 8-1/2" x 11"
111 tables & illustrations
ISBN:  0-939616-25-4


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Chinese Pulse Diagnosis: A Contemporary Approach

Leon I. Hammer

Pulse diagnosis, one of the jewels of traditional Chinese medicine, is a profoundly subtle instrument for the early diagnosis and prevention of disease. Yet far too often, in the haste of modern education and practice, it has become a neglected art. Chinese Pulse Diagnosis offers a clear and practical path toward a much deeper understanding of this traditional diagnostic method, while recasting its interpretation in the context of our own times.

The book is organized in seventeen chapters, which are presented in an advancing hierarchy of complexity. The early chapters consider such general issues as terminology, classification of pulse qualities, historical comparisons of positions and depths, the effects of age and gender, and a methodology for taking the pulse. The middle chapters provide an in-depth look at each of the individual pulse qualities, identified by felt sensation based on such characteristics as rate and rhythm, stability, volume, depth, size, and shape. The types of pathology associated with each of the qualities are also discussed.

Later chapters examine the significance of the qualities when found across the entire pulse, or large segments of the pulse (left or right side, across the burners), and at different depths. The relationship of the various pulse qualities to psychology and prognosis are addressed in separate chapters. A final summary chapter on interpretation, supported with case histories, draws everything together to show how this information can be formulated into a rational diagnosis.

Key information in the book is organized and richly illustrated in over one hundred tables and graphic drawings. Individual chapter tables of contents and extensive indexes provide convenient access to every aspect of this important subject.


"It is the intention of this book to reawaken an awareness of the importance of pulse diagnosis in the practice of Chinese medicine."
from the Introduction

"'Chinese Pulse Diagnosis does not just blindly follow the dogmas of pulse diagnosis as it has been passed down, but presents a refreshing willingness to reexamine that which has not been previously questioned.'

 'What makes this book so unique is the fact that Dr. Hammer has taken the time to fully reveal and explain the subtleties found within the pulse. He has brought the mind and spirit of a skeptical researcher [to this work], demanding that sensation, meaning, and interpretation of every pulse be both proven and repeatable.'"
The Journal of Chinese Medicine  

"This book well deserves to become an invaluable part of the library of all practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine. Even a short perusal of the book can take one's breath away."
The Meridian Times


  • Preliminary Reflections
  • Pulse Positions Through History
  • Basic Axioms and Other Considerations
  • Taking the Pulse: Methodology
  • Classification and Nomenclature of Pulse Qualities
  • Rhythm and Stability
  • Rate
  • Volume
  • Depth
  • Size: Width and Length
  • Shape
  • Individual Positions
  • The Three Depths and Common Qualities Found Uniformly over the Entire Pulse
  • Uniform Qualities in Other Large Segments of the Pulse
  • Qualities as Signs of Psychological Disharmony
  • Prognosis and Prevention
  • Interpretation (Appendix: Case Illustrations)
  • Epilogue
  • Endnotes
  • Appendix 1 Pulse Qualities: Sensation and Interpretation
  • Appendix 2 Glossary
  • Appendix 3 Bibliography
  • Pulse Index
  • General Index

    Other titles by: Leon I. Hammer
    Dragon Rises, Red Bird Flies: Psychology & Chinese Medicine (Revised Edition)
    Handbook of Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis


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