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In Allergy Season Your Pulses Have Phlegm Too.

Along my bike route here in Olympia, this flag has been on prominent display. And in my office, the people sitting across from me are stuffy, watery-eyed, fatigued, and mildly miserable with pulses that are decidedly "slippery." That is, your pulses are telling anyone who checks that the body has too much phlegm. While you might be thinking, "I could have told you that by the number of tissues I've used" there are times when the presence of phlegm is not as apparent. It can be quite useful to get information about internal states from pulses and tongues. These are non-invasive, pretty much free ways to collect useful, objective input about a person's current health picture.

For those of us accustomed to pulses being taken to determine heart rate, hearing words like "slippery" or "thready" or "green onion" to describe them can be a little, well, odd. For those of us in the West, some of the descriptors are cultural references that don't quite make sense. "Pearls on a plate" is one such for me. While I can imagine that scene in my mind's eye, what that would feel like and mean is another story. The difference between thready and wiry makes sense to me without any further translation and probably does to most readers as well. Many of us who have cooked can understand how it would feel to press down on green onions that are hollow. In the days before MRIs, x-rays, CT scans, and more, it was pretty ingenious to recognize these sources of data about a human's interior and standardize them.

And now, see your acupuncturist for immediate relief in draining the excess phlegm. Then see them again in early fall to support your respiratory system to better withstand the onslaught of pollen in the spring and maybe respond with a little less phlegm-output.


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