In 1986, I went to India for a 2-week vacation and ended up staying for a year and a half. I was invited to stay and study Ayurveda, and the man who became my teacher was an expert in a long lineage of pulse readers.
When I returned from India to co-direct Deepak Chopra’s Ayurvedic center in Massachusetts, I traveled with him teaching this pulse knowledge to lay people all around the world. Today, I continue to teach it in two Ayurvedic colleges here in the US.
Most of us may think that reading the pulse is a form of diagnosis that takes thirty years of living in a cave to master. In reality, all the parts of the technique I teach can be learned in the ten weeks of the Ayurvedic Pulse Reading eCourse, and deepened with practice over time.
Join me this week as I unravel the magic and mystery of a technique I have relied on for almost three decades for diagnosis, healing, and self-discovery, all in one.
Diagnosis, Therapy, and Spiritual Practice All In One
Pulse Reading is known in the west primarily as a diagnostic technique. The little known fact is that reading a pulse extends far beyond detecting imbalances and maladies, and is a profound route to enhancing self-awareness, both for the patient and the doctor. In fact, in India it is said to be better for the doctor than for the patient. My teacher, Dr. Raju described pulse reading this way: “When we take the pulse, it is the soul of the doctor talking to the soul of the patient.”
Yes, of course the pulse will determine and treat the Ayurvedic state of balance or imbalance of vata, pitta and kapha and all their sub components, but the magic of the pulse lies beneath the surface. It is said that the act of taking ones pulse or your own pulse is a diagnosis, a therapy and a spiritual practice all in one.
According to Ayurveda, the cause of disease is when the mind become separated from its source, or pure consciousness. This pure consciousness is said to reside in the heart. When we place our fingers to feel the beat and rhythm of the pulse, we are making ourselves available to listen deeply to the heart. This connection to the seat of consciousness has been a coveted spiritual and healing technique in ancient India, China and Egypt for thousands of years.
My First Pulse Reading Miracle
Many years ago in the late eighties I was teaching a self pulse reading course in Los Angeles to about 40 or 50 people. During one of the techniques, one of the students fainted and fell off his chair and lay flat and what appeared to be lifeless on the floor.
I thought to myself, “Oh my God, I killed a man in a pulse reading course.” Fortunately, he woke up shortly and after a few minutes he was back to normal and insisted on continuing the course. After the course, he seemed fine and I took his number and asked if I could call him in a few days to see if he was okay.
A week later, I called him and he told me an amazing story. He said that while he was taking his pulse during my course he started to feel faint, nauseous, clammy and dizzy and just blacked out. When I asked if that had ever happened to him before, he said he only fainted once before in his life in Mexico about 10 years prior. Back then he recalled feeling the exact same sensations of faint, clammy nausea that he felt during the pulse course.
After he fainted in Mexico, he said he woke up with a severe unrelenting sense of discomfort in his mid back wrapping around to the area over his liver on the right side of his body. This chronic back discomfort had followed him for 10 years, and he had been to countless doctors and healers trying to rid himself of it with absolutely no success. Then, his miracle! He told me that ever since he woke up from fainting in my pulse class, his 10 year back and liver discomfort was totally gone. It was never to return.
For this man, somehow taking his own pulse allowed his body to become more deeply and precisely aware of the problem at a deep causative level. Once the body becomes more self-aware, it can recognize the problem as a problem and the body’s natural healing system can engage. Remember, the body’s healing system is involuntary! When you cut your finger, you don’t think, “scab, scab, scab.” The healing just happens. We all have a healing system that will “just happen,” but, according to Ayurveda, we sometimes lack the self-awareness to recognize the problem as a problem, so the body’s healing system often lies dormant with regard to some of these chronic concerns.
When I went back to India and told this story to my teachers, they told me that this is the magic and mystery of the pulse. Ayurvedic and Tibetan pulse readers to this day will still hold the pulse of their patients as a technique to increase the self-awareness of the patient so that their body can be more aware of the health concern as a problem and spontaneously elicit a natural healing response.
This technique to elicit self-awareness for healing and spiritual self-discovery is what I teach in my new e-Course on the pulse. Along with all the techniques of Ayurvedic self-diagnosis and herbal treatment that go with pulse reading, you’ll come to understand the underlying values of regularly touching your own pulse, the pulse of your kids, and the pulse of your clients as a rare opportunity to speak soul to soul.
Pulse – the Language of the Heart
Learning the language of the pulse is learning how to feel rather than just “think” and “analyze” and “intellectualize” every detail. Traditional cultures did more feeling and less thinking. They were more connected to the rhythms of the earth and seasons, which are also felt in the changing rhythms of the pulse.
Traditional people were known to speak heart to heart or soul to soul in a telepathic way. Words were cheap and could never express the truth and sentiment of their true self. Among Ayurvedic practitioners, listening to the pulse is considered the highest technique of self-discovery and self-healing, because we learn to bypass words and listen to the heart directly.
Start by Reading Your Own Pulse
I was fortunate to learn the principles of Ayurveda through the practice of feeling my own pulse. I first really understood vata by feeling its qualities in my own pulse. I felt the cycles of the day and season changing in my own pulse. If those cycles were obscured, I was out of balance and unable to perceive my innate connection to nature.
The tradition I was educated in used feeling your own pulse as the first step to learning the art of pulse reading. This style of learning offers many gifts, the biggest of which is a direct channel to understanding yourself on a deep level. Once you learn how to listen to the messages of your own heart, you can begin to decode that of others. That said, you may want to stick with just listening to your own pulse, forever! And that is totally okay.
Men measure the pulse on their right hand, while women measure the pulse on their left hand. Men: reach with your left hand under the right wrist and take your pulse with your index finger closest to the fingers of the right hand. Women: do the opposite. It helps to keep the elbows in, so that your pulse can line up over the radial artery, which runs in a straight line up the thumb side of the arm.
Fingers should be touching each other, but not squished together. You may then press into the radial artery to feel the pulse with the tips or pads of your fingers.
Push down with all three fingers until you can feel a pulse under each one. The first thing you may notice is that each pulse is different. Each pulse corresponds to a different dosha, or element, in your body.
Now, try tasting or smelling an herb or essential oil while feeling your pulse (you may need another person to help you accomplish this). Do any of them make your pulse jump, shift or change? You can listen to beautiful music while taking your pulse and you will likely see and feel the pulse changing under your fingers. In my early research with my pulse reading computer, I noticed that when the pulse would change when smelling an aroma or tasting an herb, the person got well. There was a therapeutic relationship between the pulse changing when exposed to the correct therapy. When the pulse jumped, I was able to track a reliable therapeutic effect. Try it! It is so easy to feel the pulse change when you introduce the right therapy. I found it to be better than a muscle test!
The Future of Pulse Reading
This technique was once a part of western medicine as well as most traditional systems and now sadly is being replaced by machines. The risk is that the computer cannot connect on the level of the soul, it cannot replace the power of a human sense of touch. As we drift further away from an appreciation and practice of silencing the mind with techniques like pulse reading, we continue to seek satisfaction through stimulating the senses rather than honing our senses to see, feel and use the power of our inner silence.
I have felt so blessed and honored to have been able to learn and teach this course for so many years. Now for the first time I am presenting this course in its full glory. With each of the 10 lessons, you will receive written, audio, and video instructions along with downloadable PDFs, comprehensive graphs and assignments to guide you effortlessly through these weekly pulse lessons.
Join me in this incredible journey of pulse reading for you, your family and clients as a technique to diagnose, heal and enhance the self-awareness we need to find the joy, contentment and optimal health we all seek.
Your heart is talking – start listening!
Ultimately, this course will teach you how to determine an imbalance in your pulse, as well as how to identify the systems and tissues of the body that may be affected by the imbalance.
Along the way, you will learn how to feel for pulse changes based on the seasons, times of day, activities throughout the day, and what these changes are telling you about how your body responds to these changes.