Measuring Your Blood Pressure. Professionals for many years have chosen to use a stethoscope and a manual sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. This attaches to the arm above the elbow through use of a cuff, and then has a bulb to exert pressure and a gauge to read. It stops the flow of blood through the arteries, allowing the pressure to be measured. When it’s released, the blood flow returns giving the diastolic reading. There are also automatic measuring cuffs which attempt to do the same thing.