Pulse diagnosis is an inexpensive and quick diagnostic tool that serves as an effective way to determine the health condition of a patient. Pulse diagnosis is an ancient and one of the original methods to examine the pulse for the humoural imbalances such as the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha for a person’s health. This helps in suggesting the diet and lifestyle according to the body type among other things involved in an Ayurveda treatment plan. Pulse is commonly measured in three modes namely- superficial, middle and deep levels that determines information on the energy imbalance of the patient.

How is pulse diagnosis performed?

The ayurvedic pulse measurement is practised by putting the index, middle and the ring finger on your wrist. The index finger represents the Vata dosha and is positioned below the wrist bone of the side where your thumb is. The middle finger and the ring finger represents the Pitta and the Kapha dosha consequently and they are placed right next to the index finger.

What is referred as a healthy pulse according to Ayurveda ?

  • The pulse should be felt in all 9 positions. – Over time, a variety of locations have been used in the process of pulse diagnosis. Originally, pulses were felt at nine locations, three on the head, three on the hands, and three on the legs. Some practitioners still examine the pulse at these locations, along with other pressure points along the body.
  • The quality of the pulse should have “spirit” and not collapse or feel hard or unyielding.
  • The rhythm should be even and balanced and regular beats of 60-90 bpm.

What are the factors that influence the pulse?

  1. Age is an important factor to determine the strength and quality of a pulse. It would eventually decline as a person ages.
  2. Gender plays an essential role too for that influences the pulse. Normally it is found that men are stronger on the left side while women tend to be stronger on the right.
  3. There are Seasonal influences that also contribute among other things. During spring season your pulse is more likely to be kind of a bit wiry. In summers it tends to be stronger while in winters the pulse is deeper.

Types of pulses and their meanings:

There are more than a dozen of pulses recognized by Ayurveda practitioners including deep, choppy, faint, fast, feeble, long, slippery, swift etc. Each pulse has a different meaning e.g., a rapid pulse may mean ‘having more than 5 beats to a breath’. This type of pulse is considered to be either forceful or weak. Likewise, a slow pulse which is determined by the patient’s breathing can be considered as forceful or weak too.
An Ayurveda practitioner needs to ensure that pulse diagnosis is not performed just after exercising, eating or drinking and in a room whose temperature is likely to be extremely cold or extremely hot. These conditions may lead to an inaccurate diagnosis, and as such we ensure that while measuring the pulse, we are relaxed, calm and advice the patient to breath normally and stay calm.