Diagnosis by palpation (Setsu-shin)
With Setsu-shin, the practitioner takes pulses on each of your wrists and may also palpate your abdomen and specific points along the meridian channels (channels of vital energy in the body. As in traditional Chinese medicine, Japanese medicine recognizes six pulses on each wrist, corresponding mainly to each of the major organs of the body.
In Japanese medicine, pulse taking has a slightly lighter touch than in Chinese medicine and the practitioner generally takes the pulses on both of your wrists at the same time, comparing the left and right sides of each pulse position with each other.
Abdominal palpation may also be used to determine the relative kyo and jitsu of all your internal organs. Master practitioner Shizuto Masunaga employed a unique form of hara (abdominal) diagnosis. This same form is used by many shiatsu practitioners and some acupuncturists today.
The practitioner palpates each area feeling for fullness (jitsu) or emptiness (kyo). A diagnosis for fullness occurs when the abdomen feels hard and often tender when pressed. In an emptiness diagnosis, the abdomen feels soft and fingers sink in without resistance.
Practitioners also often palpate along meridian lines. Again they are feeling for areas that are soft and sunken and that welcome pressure (kyo) or those that are hard and resistant and painful on pressure (jitsu). These points will form the basis of treatment in both Japanese acupuncture and massage, including shiatsu.