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Pulse diagnosis techniques: Fuzhen and yangzhen

Zhang Shixian (Ming period, 1368-1644)
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Credit: Pulse diagnosis techniques: Fuzhen and yangzhen. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Woodcut illustration from an edition of 1554 (33rd year of the Jiajing reign period of the Ming dynasty). The images show the distinct techniques to be used for taking another person's pulse and taking one's own pulse. In taking someone else's pulse, the hand used to take the pulse is held palm downward so that the index finger, middle finger and ring finger are positioned on the cun (Inch), guan (Pass) and chi (Foot) pulse sectors of the wrist respectively. This is called fuzhen ('downturned diagnosis'). In taking one's own pulse, the same relationship between the fingers and the three pulse sectors is preserved by holding the hand palm upwards. This is called yangzhen ('upturned diagnosis').


PICTURE TITLE: Illustration of fuzhen ('downturned diagnosis') and yangzhen ('upturned diagnosis'). OTHER LETTERING: Taking another person's pulse, taking one's own pulse, cun guan chi, cun guan chi


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