Listed in Issue 186


O'BRIEN and COLLEAGUES,  Victoria University , Melbourne, Australia. conducted to study to assess the level of agreement between two Toyohari meridian therapy (TMT) practitioners on pulse diagnosis, abdominal diagnosis, and diagnosis of the primary and secondary sho.


Toyohari meridian therapy (TMT) is a Japanese system of acupuncture. Acupoint selection follows diagnosis of the primary and secondary patterns of disharmony (sho) and disturbances in the yang channels. Pulse diagnosis and abdominal palpation diagnosis are the two main diagnostic methods used. Little is known about the reliability of pulse, abdominal, and pattern diagnosis in TMT. This is important since diagnosis of the sho determines acupoint treatment. If diagnosis is unreliable, there can be less confidence that the patient will receive optimal treatment. Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the level of agreement between two TMT practitioners on pulse diagnosis, abdominal diagnosis, and diagnosis of the primary and secondary sho.


An inter-rater reliability study was conducted. Two (2) TMT practitioners separately conducted a TMT examination and completed an assessment form, choosing from a range of possible responses relating to pulse characteristics, abdominal diagnosis, and diagnosis of primary sho and secondary sho. The kappa coefficient was used as a measure of inter-rater reliability of the outcome variables.


Sixty-two (62) Australians (22 males, 40 females) aged 20-65 years participated (mean age 49.2 +/- 12.2 years). Level of agreement for pulse diagnosis was 57%, 61%, and 77% for pulse depth, speed, and strength, respectively. For abdominal diagnosis, the level of agreement for involvement of the Lung, Kidney, Spleen, and Liver abdominal regions was 58%, 53%, 35%, and 10%, respectively. The overall level of agreement on primary sho diagnosis was 48% and for secondary sho diagnosis, 44%.


Overall, there was a reasonable level of agreement on basic pulse characteristics and on abdominal diagnosis for two of the abdominal regions. Level of agreement on primary and secondary sho diagnosis suggests room for improvement. Further studies are required in order to gain a greater understanding of the reliability of diagnosis in TMT.


O'Brien KA, Abbas E, Movsessian P, Hook M, Komesaroff PA and Birch S. Investigating the reliability of Japanese toyohari meridian therapy diagnosis. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. 15(10):1099-105. Oct 2009.

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