The theme of our late spring camping retreat this year was the medical practices of the Aro tradition. This includes pulse diagnosis and elemental balancing, plus we also worked on creating elemental amulets. Pulses are heard in the brachial artery of each arm using a sphygmomameter and a stethoscope. This process identifies the solar and lunar pulses. Originally a tourniqué and yak horn would have been used. The sounds of the five elemental pulses—earth, water, fire, air and space—are both subtle and obvious. The difference in sounds are subtle, but clear once one is able to discern them. As well as listening to pulses, the primary element to treat can be ascertained by placing a ringing tuning fork on the subject’s head and asking them to identify the sound’s location.
Once the elemental diagnosis has been found treatment takes the form of dietary and lifestyle advice, and the therapies of massage, moxibustion and pressure points.