Pulse Diagnosis: A Prime Ayurvedic Diagnostic

The ancient science of Ayurveda pulse examination is called Nadi Vijnana. This wisdom was brought to the mankind by the ancient seers (Rishis) of India from their Tapobhumika (state of complete awareness). And Pulse diagnosis (Nadi Pareeksha) holds prime position among the modes of Ayurveda diagnostics.

 Various Modes of Ayurveda Diagnostics

Darshana – Visual inspection is performed thoroughly at first.


Sparshana – This indicates noticing the physical changes by means of touch or palpation.

Prashana – Thorough interrogation is undertaken which involves not only the patient but also his close relations.


Nadi Pareeksha – Pulse Reading is authentically supportive in dealing with both the disease as well as the diseased one.

Nidana – Considering of the aetiological factors that reason for development of the ailment.


Poorvaroopa – The prodromal symptoms that appear before the disease shows up fully and manifests are also taken into consideration.

Lakshana – The intricate signs and symptoms that show up are examined.


Upshaya – Therapeutic diagnostic tests that entails medicinal drugs and formulations, Ayurveda diet and lifestyle.

Samprapti – This signifies prognosis of the ailment.


What is Pulse Diagnosis (Nadi Pareeksha)?

Pulse diagnosis or ‘Nadi pareeksha’ is an age old technique to detect the existing dosha imbalance of a person. Although in the modern medical science, pulse reading is mainly considered as a simple method to detect the heart rate of a person in a minute by holding the pulse. Along with the type of rhythm, pulse can also indicate the volume of blood flow, whether full or weak. Whereas in the ancient Ayurvedic diagnosis, pulse examination along with a tongue, eyes and urine examination to identify dosha imbalance. This technique is not mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic text like Charaka, Sushruta and Vagbhata. It was first mentioned in 13th century AD in the book Saarangadhara Samhita. This technique was later elaborated in other works such as Yoga Ratnakara and Basavarajeeyam.

 The Technique of Pulse Diagnosis

The radial pulse should be felt with the first three fingers i.e. the index, middle and ring finger.


-If the index finger pulse feels strong it indicates strong Vata. The pulse will feel irregular and moves in motion like a snake. This type of pulse is known as snake pulse. The pulse may also feel like the movement of a leech or worm.

-The middle finger detects the Pitta dosha. If the person is suffering from Pitta dosha imbalance, the pulse felt at middle finger will be stronger. The pulse may feel like a jumping frog, also known as frog pulse.


-When the ring finger pulse is more noticeable, it indicates Kapha dosha. The pulse may feel like the floating of swan. Hence it is called swan pulse.

It is assumed that in females, the left pulse gives a more accurate reading and in males, the right hand gives a better reading. The rate of pulse is also an indicator of Doshas imbalance (or the balanced state) in Ayurveda. It mentions that if the pulse rate is 80-90 beats per minute, it indicates Vata dosha. If the pulse rate is 70-80, it is Pitta dosha and if it is 60-70, it is Kapha dosha. The type of irregularity in pulse also helps to identify the dosha imbalance and thus makes Pulse diagnosis an excellent methodology in Ayurvedic diagnosis.

Ayurvedic Excellence of Pulse Diagnosis

The nadi examination can reveal information about an individual’s past, present and future. Many of the diseases are related to past karmas and various planetary influences. Proper remedies can be prescribed by knowing the cause of the disease by nadi vijnana. The science of nadi expands of different heights of our being (physical, astral and causal). The very beginning of nadi is at the level of pure awareness. It unfolds as the consciousness evolves into causal, astral and physical levels. The word nadi is a Sanskrit word derived from the roots Nada and Gatou which means the blueprint of evolution of consciousness or the path of evolution of consciousness.

Excerpt from the Book “Nadi Vijnana” by Dr. Talavane Krishna

The Ayurvedic Art of Pulse Diagnosis

Learning pulse diagnosis is a journey in self-discovery as the more one understands the inherent balance and imbalance of the systems in ones physiology; the more one’s awareness can come to a point to bring them into balance ultimately. For any medical and therapeutic practitioners, it is a critical component. Not only does reading the pulse create a heart connection between the practitioner and the patient but if practiced correctly it is an invaluable tool. India has stories of its famous pulse Vaidyas (doctors) who can give past, present and even future illness tendencies from a few moments of touching the radial artery.

How Pulse Diagnosis Assists Tridosha Imbalance

These three doshas or humors of the body are main focus of Ayurveda physician who would probably perform Pulse diagnosis or Nadi Pareeksha so as to substantiate the imbalance stages of vata or air, pitta or fire and kapha or phlegm imbibed in the body. This needs to be understood that as and when the three doshas are present in their relative balanced states, then these reason for the natural wellness of an individual. Nevertheless when the three doshas get to become imbalanced, this means that either they are decreased or increased than their normal limits. In both these stages disease is certain to manifest.

Significance of Pulse Diagnosis

Reading the pulse is more than just counting the beats. A skilled Vaidya or Ayurvedic doctor can read entire functioning of the body and flow of energy to identify the imbalance of doshas. If the symptoms of early dosha imbalance are detected, the person can take to the preventive steps to avoid any major complications. For better accuracy, the readings should be recorded early in the morning on an empty stomach. The reading should not be taken for a person after bath or after taking food as the readings may vary.