Ayurveda: How to Check Your Pulse?

To check your own pulse, keep your right arm and wrist slightly flexed. Then see for radial stylus, the bump located outside your wrist bone just under the thumb. Approach with your left hand from underneath the right hand and move your index finger just below this bump. You will find the radial artery. Now line up the first three fingers and press down until you feel throbbing by all the three fingers distinctly. Then decrease the pressure of your fingers slightly to sense varying movements of the pulse.

These deep and superficial impulses indicate the condition of the tridoshas (three basic metabolic principles which govern the physico-chemical and physiological activities of the body in a balanced state and diseases in a disturbed state), both in constitutional and present state. In the index finger they denote vaata (which controls movement), in the middle finger pitta (responsible for metabolism) and in the ring finger kapha (responsible for body structure). Whichever finger you get a forcible movement, the corresponding dosha is said to be predominant. This examination is better done thrice with few seconds of interval.

The various factors to be noted during pulse examination are:

pulse rate (spandana sankhya), Character (gati) and Qualities (gunas).

As we know, the doshas change all the time; you must be sensitive to many kinds of variations—your age, season and time of day—all make a difference in your pulse along with all the possible variations in your health. For example, the pulse in the morning is called kapha naadi, which is slow, soft and steady. In the afternoon, it is called pitta naadi, which is warm and unsteady. In the evening, it is the vaata naadi, which is rapid, feeble in nature. In the same way, during nights the naadi is called as sama naadi which will be slow, steady and feeble.

Coming to the seasons, during Varsha (Rainy season; July to September) and Sisira (Late winter; January to March) ritus it is vaata naadi, in Sarad (Autumn season; September to November) and Grishma (Summer season; May to July) it is pitta naadi and kapha naadi during Hemanta (Early winter; November to January) and Vasanta (Spring season: March to May) ritus. There will be pulse variation with the tastes also. After astringent foods, it is hard and feeble and after salty foods, rapid. After exercise, sexual intercourse and fasting, it is rapid and weak. An ideal healthy pulse should be clearly perceptible (suvyakta), unmixed (nirmala), not very rapid amanda) and regular (achanchala).

When vaata is predominant in the constitution, the index finger will feel the pulse strongly. It will be irregular, unsteady, neither hot nor cold and thin, moving in waves like the motion of a serpent.

When pitta is predominant in the constitution, the pulse will be stronger under the middle finger. It will feel active, soft and excited and will move like the frog’s hop.

When kapha is predominant the throbbing of the pulse under the ring finger is most noticeable. The pulse feels strong, steady, cold, and full and its movement resembles the floating of a swan.

As it happens, all three of these different pulses are present in everyone, but most p rominent one signals the particular body type. At times, there might be a combination of two or all the three doshas which gives a mixed picture.

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