An ancient non-invasive tool of medical diagnosis

Want to know something really interesting and useful? When someone with a health issue is advised to go to a “lab” and undergo multiple diagnostic tests – expensive, time-consuming and sometimes anxiety-ridden, the ancient  Ayurvedic diagnostic tool of Nadi Pariksha can be a huge relief. And what is the tool of this diagnostic technique? Not wired-up intimidating-looking machines, but something ancient and basic – the human pulse.

“Nadi” is a channel through which the prana (subtle life-force energy) flows. There are 72,000 nadis in the human body. “Pariksha” means inspection, test, or diagnosis. Thousands of years old, Nadi Pariksha is a pulse-based, non-invasive diagnostic and prognostic science of investigation and Ayurveda’s great contribution to health and well-being. It was almost slipping into oblivion, practiced by just a few Ayurvedics, when Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar took steps to revive it. Based on deep knowledge and understanding of both body and mind, it uses the observation of the pulse to diagnose the human body, mind and the sub- conscious.

Now, there are pulses at several places in the body, but for Nadi Pariksha, the Ayurvaid places his or her fingers – the index, middle and ring fingers – on the radial artery at the patient’s Angushtamula (base of the thumb). The pulse here is significant as it is the evidence of life. For men this pulse-point on the right wrist is examined, and for women, the left. Nadi Pariksha should be done on an empty stomach, and preferably early in the morning.

This technique has been mentioned in several ancient Ayurvedic texts in sloka form. Gati (pulse movement), Vega (speed of the pulse, Sthiratva (stability of the pulse), and Kathinya (hardness of the artery) are the properties of the pulse used to arrive at a diagnosis/prognosis. The Ayurvaid (practitioner of Ayurveda) aims to analyse the quantity of Tridosha (“dosha” indicates “life-force”) i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the patient’s body. Ayurveda states that when the Tridoshas are balanced (that is, in Prakrithi) , it represents sound health, while Vikrithi indicates imbalance or ill-health in the three doshas. Physiological as well as psychological states of the patient can be assessed. Nadi Pariksha thus is useful in diagnosing
diseases as well as imbalances.

Gurudev says, “Nadi Pariksha forewarns potential health risks and gives an insight on how to optimize your health in accordance with your body constitution. Even subtler factors like emotional issues or specific thought patterns that manifest
into physical ailments are understood. It gives you a detailed and accurate personalized and individual prognosis.” The Ayurvaid gets to the root cause of the disease, instead of just going by the symptoms.

What is the next step once the Ayurvaid has arrived at a diagnosis? She may recommend a detailed personalized treatment and therapy, As Ayurveda is based on a holistic approach, you could choose a holistic plan that would include detailed diet and lifestyle recommendations, therapeutic massages,detoxification, and specific asanas and pranayamas, in accordance with not just the disease per se, but also with your body constitution.

The most fascinating aspect of Nadi Pariksha is it can give you advance warning of potential health risks, as well as subtler indicators of emotional issues or specific thought patterns that may get transformed into physical illnesses. Moreover,
many Nadi practitioners meditate regularly to enhance their intuitive abilities, and an experienced Vaidya can detect imprints in the patient’s system that indicate health issues s/he might have undergone many years ago! The wealth of information the pulse holds is a treasure accessible to a competent Nadi Pariksha practitioner with the requisite learning, training and experience.

Next time you or your family or friends need an in-depth medical diagnosis, you could go for Nadi Pariksha, and relax while undergoing it!

Caution: Take the guidance and advice of a certified Ayurvedic medical practitioner in obtaining a Nadi Pariksha diagnosis and further treatment depending on its outcome. Follow expert medical advice, treatment and prescribed regimen. Provide the Ayurvaid with your detailed medical history and current medication programs.


– Padma Koty

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