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 Pulse Examination


From times immemorial the practitioners of Ayurveda have correctly diagnosed and treated ailments without the help of any tests except that of the pulse. The radial pulse is usually chosen as the site to examine the pulse. It reveals the characteristics of imbalances, the nature of the disease and expected prognosis.

Characteristics of Pulse

The distinctly different pulse movements (gati) for each dosha type are:

 

VATA PULSE

PITTA PULSE

KAPHA PULSE

Characteristics

Fast, feeble, cold,light, thin, disappears on pressure

Prominent, strong, high amplitude, hot, forceful, lifts up the palpating fingers.

Deep, slow, broad wavy, thick, cool, warm, regular

Location

Best felt under the index finger

Best felt under the middle finger

Best felt under the ring finger

Gati

Moves like a cobra

Moves like a frog

Moves like a swimming swan

1) Fast, Narrow, Feeble, Cool, Irregular
Rate is 80-100 beats per minute The placement of the index finger denotes the pulse of vata. When this pulse predominates, the index finger feels the throbbing more strongly. And the pulse feels like the movement of a snake, quick and slithery.

2) Jumping, Excite, Prominent, Hot, Moderate, Regular Rate is 70-80 beats per minute The placement of the middle finger denotes the pulse of pitta. When this pulse predominates, the middle finger gets a stronger feel, it is active and jumpy like the movement of a frog.

3) Slow, Strong, Steady, Soft, Broad, Regular, Warm
Rate is 60 -70 beats per minute. The placement of the ring finger denotes the pulse of kapha. When this pulse predominates, the ring finger feels the strongest effect. This pulse is slow and resembles the floating of a swan.

Examination of Movement (Gati) and Their Conditions

MOVEMENT LIKE

CONDITION DENOTED

Cobra

Normal vata pulse

Frog

Normal pitta pulse

Swan

Normal kapha pulse

Leech

Arthritis, gout

Worm

Parasites, worms

Ant

Terminal illness

Peacock

Arterial hypertension, high cholesterol

Partridge

Gastric ulcer, enteritis

Quail

Prostatitis, cystitis

Crow

Aortic regurgitation

Pigeon

Bronchial asthma

Clock

Diabetes, albuminuria

Camel

Aortic stenosis, rheumatic valvular heart condition

Elephant

Lymphatic obstruction solid edema, Lymphosarcoma, elephantitis

Mountain

Heart block, bundle branch block

Irregular

Atrial fibrillation

Vibrating drum

Fatal illness, renal failure, shock

Lotus

Perfect health, enlightenment

The point to be remembered here being although early morning is the ideal time for pulse examination specially on an empty stomach, in case of an emergency, it can be examined at any time of the day or night for proper diagnosis.

The Biological Clock and the Pulse : A Symbolic Representation