What is a pulse?

When you feel your own pulse, you’re feeling the direct transmission of your heartbeat down an artery. You can feel a pulse where you can compress an artery against a bone, for example the radial artery at the wrist.

The carotid artery can be felt against the vertebral body but beware – a) press too hard and you can faint, b) press both at the same time and you’ll cut off the blood to your brain and, as a protective mechanism, you’ll definitely faint!