You might have heard many stories about some Ayurvedic doctors who claim to diagnose illness just by inspecting your wrist & studying pulse for a few minutes. But is it possible? Or is it just a white lie? What do they look for?
What they do is called Nadi Pariksha or pulse diagnosis. It is an ancient & non-invasive Ayurvedic diagnostic technique. It can accurately diagnose the root cause of your illness, severity & duration, thus, helps in choosing the right Ayurvedic treatment for you.
Not only this, but Nadi Pariksha can also tell about your mental and emotional imbalances. It can even tell what you had at dinner!
Lately, Nadi is being compared to pulse, but ancient scholars of Yoga & Ayurveda define Nadi as the channel of ‘Prana’ (vital life force), which forms the basis of our body. So, basically nadi gives knowledge of energies flowing all over the body.
What is Nadi Pariksha?
Nadi pariksha is an in-depth observation of pulse. It is, in fact, the best tool to understand the body. Speaking in Ayurvedic language, nadi or pulse can tell you all about your doshas (bio-energies), dhatu (body tissues), Prakriti (body type), & vikriti (imbalance or abnormality).
It is the beauty of nadi pariksha that it can alert you of a future ailment. Symptoms of that ailment can be read through pulse long before they manifest in your body.
In short, through nadi pariksha, you can read your body like a book. It is such a subtle observation that it can recognize minute differences between your pulse and that of others.
What are those differences?
As we know, everybody has a different profile of doshas & hence, different Prakriti. Nadi pariksha lets you know about the features of doshas in your body at any moment accurately. Like the fingerprint of every person varies, Prakriti also varies.
This helps Ayurvedic doctors to prevent you from disease & choose personalized lifestyle regimes, diet, exercise, treatment, & detoxification program for you.
History of Nadi pariksha
Sharangdhar is considered as the pioneer of nadi pariksha in Ayurveda. The book Sharangdhar Samhita written by him in the 14th century was the first book to introduce this wonderful technique of diagnosis.
Nadi pariksha gained its significance between the 16th to 17th centuries through the commendable work of Bhavaprakasha & Yogaratnakar. Their books highlight the details & offer complete information for a physician on making the diagnosis through the pulse.
Apart from these works, many other physicians & saints have done work to improve this science. Scriptures written by sage Kanada, Maharishi Ravan, Dattatreya, Ramaraja are still referred by Ayurvedic physicians to learn Nadi pariksha.
Understanding Nadi pariksha
In India, doctors who make the diagnosis by pulse are highly revered, even in today’s era of technology. However, learning nadi pariksha is not a cakewalk. It takes years of experience to develop a sharp skill & sensitivity to master the pulse diagnosis.
For checking pulse, there are various considerations to arrive at a correct diagnosis:
When to read pulse?
As pulse keeps changing every time and after every activity, it has been advised to read your pulse early, i.e., right after waking up when you are relaxed. However, it is not possible in today’s scenario.
The best time to get your pulse checked is in the early morning on an empty stomach. If that’s difficult, then during day time, check your pulse after three hours of taking food.
It is essential to keep your stomach empty while Nadi pariksha, as the process of digestion interferes with this examination and may present the wrong diagnosis.
Where to check pulse?
Pulse can be checked at many places in our body, but the most convenient location is at the base of the thumb. The flat surface of our hand serves as a comfortable place to explore the waves of the pulse.
Usually, the physician checks the pulse of a female on the left hand while in males, it is observed on the right hand.
How is pulse examined?
The hand of the patient is held freely, and the physician places his three fingers on the wrist below the base of the thumb. The index finger is placed nearest to the thumb, followed by the middle finger and then the ring finger.
Only fingertips are placed to exert appropriate pressure on pulsations for in-depth study of doshas & dhatus. This helps to gather the correct knowledge about health or illness.
The movement, rhythm, strength, & quality of pulse felt under each finger identify the state of Tridoshas.
The index finger is for vata dosha, the middle finger is for pitta dosha, & the ring finger is for kapha dosha. Moreover, the movement of the pulse, which feels like of snake indicates vata dosha, that of frog shows pitta dosha & pulse movement like a swan is for kapha dosha.
Whichever dosha is dominant in your body can be felt more in a finger than the other two. This process is done at five levels to assess the activity of dosha, its site, its type, Prakriti, & dhatu.
Is pulse reading enough for diagnosis?
Pulse diagnosis can be made precisely if a physician assesses the physical condition of the patient, his facial expression, tongue, appetite, & history of illness. Such information of the patient helps in confirming the diagnosis made through the pulse.
Pulse reading – A time-tested miracle
It is a time-tested & widely accepted fact that pulse tells about the well-being of your body. However, there has been a gradual decline in the use of pulse reading in clinical practice.
Only a handful of Ayurvedic physicians are practicing this ancient science. It is the need of the hour to revive this ancient art. Believe it or not, nadi pariksha could turn down the need for harmful & expensive diagnostic techniques like X-ray, MRI, CAT-Scan.
Nadi pariksha indeed is the cheapest, most convenient, valid, & reliable method to examine your whole body & diagnose as well as determine accurate illness.