The Pulse Test by Dr. Arthur Coca

Arthur F Coca, M.D.: The Pulse Test (Lyle Stuart, New York 1956)

Before I provide a short review of the principles in this book, I would like to provide the link to download the full book for free as a pdf: The Pulse Test at the Soil and Health Library. This book is public domain material.

I will keep this review brief as the book itself is an easy and quick read. Please keep in mind that the book is quite old by now (written in 1956) and the language can be a little old-fashioned at points.

"...about 90 percent of the population are victims of food allergy."
- Dr. Arthur Coca, the Pulse Test, p. 57

On the topic of food intolerance, look out also for my review of: The Food Intolerance Bible (will link to it here), a book which discusses food intolerance in more detail, and how it is different from allergies. The pulse test is also mentioned in this book.

Please note that in 'the Pulse Test' Dr. Arthur F Coca speaks of 'allergies', although these are currently considered by health professionals to be quite different from food sensitivities.

"If you can count to 100 and are determined to be well, you can go a long way toward eliminating your allergic troubles if you are a usual case. By "usual case" I mean chiefly the so-called neurotic people who suffer constantly recurring or persistent headache, 'indigestion', constipation, tiredness, occasional dimness, stuffy nose, who have consulted one or more physicians, among them perhaps a 'specialist', and have been told that their health is excellent, but that they are 'nervous', and since they are incurable they should help themselves by keeping their minds off their symptoms-- 'forget them'. Such persons can almost always be permanently relieved of their miseries through the pulse-dietary tests described in this book."
- Arthur F Coca, the Pulse Test, p. 10

free home allergy cure, home cure for allergies, the pulse test

"The diagnostic method outlined in this volume is fundamentally simple. It is based on the fact that allergens speed up the pulse. It consists essentially of testing isolated foods in order to tell which ones accelerate the pulse." (p. 11)

The method consists of:

  • Stopping smoking for the period of testing the pulse.
  • Measuring the pulse from anywhere in the body where it can be felt, usually the wrist (counting beats for 60 seconds > bpm)
  • Measuring the pulse when lying in bed in the morning, before each meal, and at half an hour intervals three times after the meal.
  • Recording all the foods and times eaten, measuring the pulse before each meal and three times after each meal.
  • Measuring the pulse once at bedtime.
  • Reducing food items eaten until a steady pulse not much above the morning pulse can be established. Eating this restricted diet for three days before starting to reintroduce foods.
  • Reintroducing foods one at a time and recording the pulse as before.

My additional tips to succeed:

  • Always sit down for 5 minutes minimum before measuring the pulse (even slight exercise can raise it).
  • Digestive enzymes seem to lessen or eliminate food intolerance symptoms, depending on the symptom. So if you are pulse testing for intolerances, don't take digestive enzymes before or during testing, because your pulse may not rise even with offending foods.
  • I have also noticed that hot bath and possibly being in the hot sunshine raise your pulse, so cool down properly before counting!
  • For best results it is important to note down all the details of the offending food, e.g. if the bread is long-life or fresh bread, which brand the food is, whether canned, frozen or not, and even if it was prepared at a specific restaurant. For example, I tested intolerant of some tuna but not all, and some tomatoes but not all.

The book includes many case histories of Dr. Coca's patients and how they were cured by using the pulse test method.

Interpreting the Pulse Test

Interpreting the pulse test:

  • "The pulse-rate in the normal person is not affected at all by digestion" (p. 11)
  • "If a person is not suffering sunburn or an infection such as common cold, any variation from his normal pulse-rate [...] is probably due to an allergic reaction." (p. 11)
  • "If the highest count is the same each day, and if it is not over 84 [beats per minute - bpm], you are most certainly not allergic, and the range of your pulse from the lowest count (usually before rising) to the highest will be not more than 16 beats-- probably much less." (p. 17)
  • "A count greater than 84, points to 'food-allergy'" (p. 11)
  • "More often the normal low [pulse] is never reached in the early days of the tests" (p. 19)
  • "Usually the major food-allergens reveal themselves in the unmistakable speeding-up of the pulse shortly after they are eaten; and as they are eliminated from the diet the general level of the pulse tends to drop, and with it the lowest count."
  • "If at least 14 pulse-counts are being made each day, and if your normal daily maximal pulse-rate is constant (within one or two beats) for three days in succession, this indicates that all 'food-allergens' have been avoided on those days." (p. 61)
  • "If the ingestion of a frequently eaten food causes no acceleration of your pulse (at least 6 points above your estimated normal maximum), that food can be tentatively considered non-allergenic for you." (p. 61)
  • If your pulse is higher in the morning than during the day, this is an indication of sleeping with an allergen. usually 'house-dust' in the mattresses or pillows.
  • "...if the pulse is markedly quickened following a furniture-dusting operation, or after 'making' the beds; or if the pulse-rate is even slightly higher on waking in the morning than on retiring, this can throw strong suspicion upon dust as an allergic trouble maker." (p. 71)

Symptoms Cured by the Pulse Test According to Dr. Coca

The symptoms Dr. Arthur Coca claims have been cured by using the pulse test to eliminate allergies (food sensitivities) are:

Some of the Typical Allergens/ Foods Causing Sensitivities

"More commonly 'food-allergens' are common foods that are eaten at every meal. These keep the pulse above normal or make it erratic. In such case it is necessary to test the different foods singly. To do this you eat the single foods in small quantity at about one hour intervals. You may prepare for these serial tests by eating no supper on the previous day, thus minimising the effect of any allergenic foods eaten on that day." (p. 18)

Some of the typical allergens (detected by the pulse-test):

  • wheat
  • cane-sugar
  • coffee
  • orange, pineapple
  • tobacco smoke
  • cow's milk
  • egg
  • banana
  • white potato
  • pea, bean
  • cabbage
  • beef
  • fish
  • plum
  • fowl
  • asparagus
  • pork
  • lamb
  • apple
  • tomato
  • onion
  • chocolate

"in some people tobacco causes indigestion and diarrhea, abnormal tiredness and painful menstruation, and many other symptoms. A large part of the population are allergic to the fabric-dust ('house dust') in rugs, mattresses, upholstery, etc. Some persons have been found allergic to lip-stick, perfumes, mentholated nose-drops, headache medicines, laxatives, soap-powder, coal-gas, fumes of paint and cement, and wood-smoke." (p. 25)

The Difference Between Normal and Abnormal Tiredness

"By normal tiredness I mean the physically perceptible consequences of prolonged but not necessarily excessive physical exertion. It is not unpleasant and indeed it arouses anticipations of the pleasures of relaxation and of 'gentle sleep'. On the other hand, all of us are acquianted with the difference between the tiredness of physical exertion, and that resulting for example from muscular disuse. Many are familiar with the physical refreshment that vigorous sport can bring to replace the weariness of a day's confinement in a sedentary occupation.

"A prominent feature of the function of motion is the pleasure in its normal exercise, the urge to use the muscular system is seen in the act of 'stretching' in both man and animal. And so the normal man, after a day of the healthful use of his active functions and healthful interval of rest and motionless sleep, wakes in the morning, obeys the urge to [strech] his muscles and sinews from fingers to toes and springs out of bed, filled with the pleasant anticipation of the exercise of his refreshed and recharged body.

"He is irked by inactivity; may welcome an excuse to run; prefers walking reasonable distances rather than riding; climbs stairs rather than wait for the elevator; and spends his vacations in unaccustomed, sometimes exhausting physical activity, deliberately depriving himself of the comforts and conveniences of his regular way of living. It is seen that normal tiredness is the natural result of the use of the function of motion. A proper synonym of tiredness of this kind is 'fatigue'.

"'Abnormal tiredness' on the contrary is not a result of the use of any bodily function; it does not express a need for rest; there is no pleasure in it-- indeed it is characteristically an unpleasant, often painful phenomenon; it is frequently most marked upon waking from a long sleep--not a consequence of sleep but present in spite of the rest." (p. 40)

Psychological Problems and the Pulse Test

"The use of the procedure of psychoanalysis would seem to represent a modern refinement of our old acquaintance-- symptomatic treatment. Morevoer, it is reasonable to assume that nearly all of those patients who are now being treated with that method are in need of the new antiallergic treatment with which their chances of permanent recover seem excellent.

"My purpose is not to condemn the practice of psychoanalysis, but to call attention to what may be the primary physical causes of mental effects which the psychiatrist treats on the mental plane. If the primary cause is physical its treatment should be physical, and in such a case psychiatric treatment can be harmful as a primary measure.[...]

"Many a victim of allergic psychoneurosis wakes on the morning after heavy indulgence in one or more of his food allergens with a sensation of anxiety or even fright, or in a state of angry irritability accompanied with fatigue.

"In either case he usually does not recall what he ate the night before, but tries, often with success, to remember anything he could be anxious of frightened about, or anybody who had offended him. But our associates and their acts do not make us angry. It is our food-allergy that upsets our equanimity and arouses our anger, and we take it out on our associates.

"After the allergy is eliminated we find ourselves simply incapable of anger, even under heavy provocation.

"Experience with the pulse-dietary means of disease prevention has brought out the important conclusion that irritability is not a normal human quality, but a preventable manifestation of idioblaptic allergy."
(p 84)

So also consider any drugs you might be taking as a possible cause of anger and other psychological problems, for example: "Are antidepressants accomplices to school shootings?" on

Jump to top of page

Continue reading....

Dr. William Philpott: Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections (book)

Alexander Schauss: Diet, Crime and Delinquency (book)

Food Intolerance - My Experience

Natural Health Remedy Library: Food Intolerance


Get in Touch:

Contact Us Instagram: "Good Life Meals"

About CHR:

Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions. Read more about Ulla and this website here: "About CHR"


"Your body's ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe." - Unknown