Like the autonomic responses in the human body, autonomic computing systems recognize their own health problems and, where possible, respond to correct them. Failing that, external help is required. The purpose of this paper is to consider how autonomic systems might be structured to facilitate health monitoring. The approach uses a ‘pulse’ monitor for each autonomic element, which provides a reflex reaction facility and basic information on the current state (health) of that element. The pulse mechanism extends the NASA beacon monitor concept. The different ways that pulse information might be communicated and used are examined. The discussion is illustrated with a personal computing example.