Shen-Hammer Pulse Diagnosis is the modern interpretation of the Menghe Ding Lineage pulse method. It originated in the Shanghai region and can be traced back to at least the sixteenth century through the Menghe Lineage and perhaps even further to the first century. (Hammer L, 2018) The pulse system was handed down through generations in that lineage from father to son via the oral tradition and is rooted in the ancient or Classical Chinese medical knowledge that existed for centuries.

Before the modernisation efforts of the Communist and Cultural Revolutions in China, this wisdom along with the medicine, was practiced throughout China with lineage variations emerging, specific to the local region. However, much of this common ancient knowledge was lost during the tumultuous period in China of the mid-twentieth century.

The pulse method was handed down in the Menghe lineage to Ding Ganren (of the Wen Bing fame) who died in 1926, then to his grandson Ding Jiwan the last Ding family inheritor. In 1931 Ding Jiwan chose several very wealthy students to whom he taught this pulse system, first in Shanghai and then in Hong Kong to where he escaped when the Japanese invaded Shanghai in 1937. One of these students was Dr Shen who subsequently escaped Hong Kong and the Japanese in 1942 and who, in 1974 began teaching the method to my mentor, Dr. Hammer, in New York City. (Hammer L, 2018)

Dr Hammer apprenticed with Dr Shen for eight years learning the Menghe Ding pulse method. Their further collaboration spanned thirty years, during which they refined and recorded the Menghe pulse method documented in the text “Chinese Pulse Diagnosis, A Contemporary Approach" (Hammer L, 2005). This collaborative effort led to the development of Shen-Hammer pulse diagnosis a method that is believed to be more relevant to our current times and the symptomatology of modern diseases.

My own journey has been greatly influenced by my association with Dr. Hammer. When I first embarked on my quest to comprehend the elusive art of pulse diagnosis, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Hammer in 1996 beginning many years of mentorship under his direct guidance.

Driven by my passion for Chinese medicine and academic excellence, I obtained a Ph.D. through our collaborative effort and pioneering research investigating the reliability of skilled practitioners utilising Shen-Hammer Pulse Diagnosis. Our aim was to delve into the intricacies of intra- and inter-rater agreement and the repeatability of the method in the clinical setting. Through this research, we were able to identify areas within the pulse system where agreement levels among raters fell below acceptable standards. Consequently, we refined the method by making the indicated modifications.

As a further result of this research, I had the further honour of co-editing the Handbook of Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis, which is now recognised as Shen-Hammer Pulse Diagnosis. By sharing our expertise and insights, we aimed to provide a clinical resource that would support learning and educate practitioners in the field.

The collaboration with Dr. Hammer has not only shaped my own path but has also contributed to the broader understanding and practice of pulse diagnosis in Chinese medicine. Our research and the subsequent refinement of the method hold the potential to benefit current and future practitioners, enabling them to hone their diagnostic skills and deliver more effective treatments.