Ventricles: Season 1, Episode 2: The Pulse

The body has many rhythms, but the pulse is one that people have paid close attention to. Over the last two millennia, the pulse has been used as a diagnostic tool in both Greek and Chinese medicine. In this episode, Professor Shigehisa Kuriyama discusses the history of the pulse in these two traditions. As he explains, the very conception of what the pulse is, how to sense it and what it can tell us about the body has changed over the course of its history. We also hear from Dr. Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim on how the Silk Road has facilitated historical connections between medical traditions in between Greece and China, and how Galen was known in medieval Tibet! Finally, we hear from physician Dr. Melanie Baskind about her training on the pulse in medical school.

Image courtesy of Professor Kuriyama, from his book, The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine.

Audio credits: Special thanks to The Ottoman History Podcast for use of their episode “Medicine Along the Musk Route,” and The Overseas Ensemble, a collaboration between composer Paed Conca and Sarigama, for use of their music