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動脈 Dong mai, Stirred, Throbbing


“Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Reivised Edition” – Cheng



A stirred pulse refers to a pulse that beats like a bean rolling. It is slippery, rapid and has force and is
most clear in the bar position. The Shang Han Lun: Bian Mai Fa states: 'If a rapid pulse is seen at the bar
position, with neither a head above or a tail below, like a bean turning, this is called a stirring pulse.'

“Practical Diagnosis of Traditional Chinese Medicine” – Deng



The Moving pulse is short. Slippery. rapid and it gives the impression of 'shaking' or 'vibrating' instead of
pulsating. It is shaped like a bean without head or tail. The Moving pulse is felt more frequently on the
Front and Middle positions.

“Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine” – Maciocia


The moving pulse is rapid with a strong, firm beat which feels Like a bean under the finger. It is felt
mainly at the guan position.

“Pulse Diagnosis by Li Shi Zhen” – Huynh


The stirred pulse is a combination of the rapid, short, slippery pulses. It is a rapid, smooth-flowing, short,
fine pulse

“Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine” – Ellis & Wiseman


Throbbing Pulse (Yang)

Bean-shaped, shaking, slippery, rapid and forceful.

“Li Shi Zhen’s Pulse Studies, An Illustrated Guide” – Li & Morris


A spinning bean or moving pulse (dong mai) is a combination of the short, tight, slippery, and rapid
pulses. It is felt in only one position and is said to be "incomplete, without a head and tail, like a bean."

“The Web has no Weaver, Understanding Chinese Medicine” – Kaptchuk

Moving (Throbbing) Dong Mai

They are characterized by rapid, strong and bean-like, throbbing abruptly.

“Fundamentals of Acupuncture & Moxibustion” – Liu


The stirred pulse (動脈 dong mai) is a forceful rapid slippery pulse, like a bean that is bobbing..

“Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine” – Wiseman



DESCRIPTION: The pulse is rapid and slippery. At the middle portion, the pulsation is forceful.

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION: like a bean bouncing in the vessel, with well-defined peaks, but without
head or tail

KEY POINTS: shape is short and round, slippery and rapid, forceful in the middle position

OTHER TRANSLATIONS: stirred, spinning bean, bouncing

“Traditional Chinese Medicine, Diagnosis Study Guide” – Yi & Stone


The classical description of 動脈 [dong mai] is "a rapid pulse occurs at the bar (guan) section,
imperceptible at the proximal and distal sections, and throbbing like a bean at the fixed position'" There
are disparities in the English expression: "moving pulse", "stirred pulse", "stirring pulse", "tremulous
pulse", "shaking pulse", "strong and rapid pulse", "throbbing pulse", etc. It is difficult to select the most
appropriate one because the character 動 [dong] used in this term does not simply mean "moving". The
word "shaking" or "tremulous" may refer to too high a frequency. The characteristic features of this
pulse are rapid, short (limited to the bar (guan) section) and slippery like a bouncing bean. The word
"throbbing" probably describes all the features.

“On the Standard of Nomenclature of Traditional Chinese Medicine” – Xie


The stirring pulse is a pulse that appears merely in the guan, a pulse with no ends, as large as a bean
stirring and rotating in a small way. A rapid pulse that is perceptible only in the guan with no ends in the
upper or lower position (i.e., the cun or chi) and which is as large as a bean stirring and rotating in a
small way is called a stirring pulse.".

“The Pulse Classic” – Wang


The Mobile Pulse (pulsus mobilis. Dong mo)


The mobile pulse is a pulsus triplex; (threefold-a pulse with an iconogram combining three distinct
qualities) it combines the qualities of slipperiness. acceleration and repletion. In Chinese pulse literature
it is compared to "a bean moving back and forth upon its stem.".

“Chinese Medical Diagnostics, Comprehensive Textbook” – Porkert


Dong mai, stirring pulse:

Slippery, rapid, forceful; feels like a bean.

There are definite differences of opinion about the stirring pulse in the Chinese literature. What is
agreed upon by all Chinese sources is that the stirring pulse is a slippery, rapid, forceful pulse. The issue
concerns the interpretation of the traditional metaphor that this pulse is "like a bean."

Some Chinese sources, say that this simply means that this pulse is felt only in the bar position. Qin Bo-
wei says that it "has no head and no tail." This means it has no inch or cubit positions. Therefore, I
categorize it as also a subspecies of short pulse. Other Chinese sources say that the stirring pulse is like a
"spinning bean" and for that reason the pulse is called stirred or stirring. For instance, the authors of the
Yi Zang Jin Jian (Golden Mirror of Ancestral Medicine) translated below in Chapter 11 , say,

[A stirring pulse] is like a bean chaotically stirring. It shakes without moving [its place] .

While I have felt pulses that are mainly only palpable in the bar position, I have not felt one that felt "like
a bean chaotically stirring." Perhaps this is because this pulse is not commonly felt in an ambulatory, out-
patient setting.

Definition to memorize:

1. Located in the bar

2. Rapid

3. Forceful

“The Secret of Chinese Pulse Diagnosis” – Flaws



“Chinese Medicine Study Guide” – Chen


Stirred pulse 動脈 a quick, jerky pulse, like a bouncing pea, slippery, rapid and forceful