Palpating blood vessels, pulses and body rhythms

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Palpation of blood vessels

Blood vessels may be palpated in the superficial connective tissue. Blood vessels should feel like soft tubes. Feeling for pulses helps to identify blood vessels.

Bulging, mushiness or constriction of the blood vessels may indicate pathological changes, and the client should be referred to a doctor.

Palpation of respiration

Palpation of respiration is done by placing the hands over the ribs and the upper abdomen allowing the body to go through three or more cycles as the practitioner evaluates the evenness and fullness of the breath. Relaxed breathing should result in a slight rounding of the upper abdomen and lateral movement of the lower ribs during inhale. The upper abdomen should also fill up like a small balloon as the client inhales.

Excessive movement in the shoulders or upper chest, or lack of movement in the upper abdomen indicates potential difficulties with the breathing mechanism. Breath retraining may be advisable.

Palpation of circulation

Palpation of circulation is felt at the major pulse points. The pulses should be balanced at both sides of the body.

Differences in bilateral pulses may also indicate pathological changes, and the client should be referred to a doctor.

Palpation of the cranio-sacral rhythm

The craniosacral rhythm is a palpable, but subtle movement which occurs between cranial bones. Movement of the sacrum which occurs in sync with the cranial movement may also be palpated.

Body rhythms and co-ordination

In the body these three body-rhythms naturally entrain. Through this entrainment process the three rhythms should operate in a co-ordinated manner. When a person feels “out-of-sync”, their body-rhythms have often moved out of this co-ordination. A sensitive therapist may be able to feel this lack of co-ordination.