Pulse by the Hanging Threads

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By Ioannis Solos and Yuan Liang

One of the most spectacular techniques of pulse taking in ancient China is undoubtedly the xuan si zhen mai, which is often translated as “pulse taking by hanging silk threads”1.  This technique was adopted because contact with the imperial women was forbidden, and therefore silk threads were attached to their wrists, strung into an adjoining chamber, and the pulse “taken” on the threads themselves.

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