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The reliable measurement of radial pulse: gender differences in pulse profiles
  1. Emma King, Clinical Tutor1,
  2. Deirdre Cobbin, Senior Lecturer1,
  3. Damien Ryan, Senior Lecturer2
  1. 1
    College of Traditional, Chinese Medicine, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2
    Department of Complementary Therapies, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. d.cobbin{at}


This study was undertaken to determine whether healthy adults exhibited characteristic pulse profiles. Pulse characteristics measured for 83 women and 65 men included presence at the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) locations (Cun, Guan, Chi); and depth (superficial, middle, deep), overall pulse force, relative pulse force, pulse width and pulse rhythm. Most subjects had similar values for many of the characteristics investigated including relative pulse force at the three traditional palpation locations (Cun, Guan and Chi), pulse width and pulse rhythm. There were some significant gender differences. The pulse was present beyond Chi in 90% of males compared with 56% of females. Female pulses tended to be less forceful compared with males. However, with the exception of overall force, there was little support for TCM assumptions of gender differences in pulse such as in left/right balance. There was some support for the use of the TCM palpation locations Cun, Guan and Chi to discriminate between pulses since there was significant differences in manifestations of some pulse characteristics among these locations.

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