How Many Pulse Points Are in the Human Body?

Jamie Grill/-/Getty Images

There are eight main pulse points in the human body. These pulse points are in the wrists, at the sides of the lower jaw, at the temples, on the side of the neck, on the inner biceps, behind the knee, in the groin and on the upper part of the foot. All arteries have a pulse, which can be felt where they run close to the skin.

Generally, a person’s pulse is taken at the wrist joint where the radial artery is closest to the skin. Two or more fingers are used to feel and measure the pulse rate, regularity and strength. Thumbs are not used to take a person’s pulse as there is a pulse in the tip of the thumb, and this pulse can interfere with the pulse from the radial artery. It is often possible to see one’s pulse, or rather to see the vibrating of the artery through the skin, in various locations on the body that may or may not be at pulse points.

A pulse occurs when the beating of the heart pushes blood into the aorta; the impact of the blood hitting the elastic arterial wall creates a pressure wave that radiates along the arteries. The impact of the blood hitting the arterial wall is what is felt as a pulse.