Pulse types and their meaning: what is the practitioner looking out for?
There are four parameters to help the practitioner categorise a person’s constitutional type: pulse rate, pulse rhythm, pulse intensity and pulse volume.
| ||Vata ||Pitta ||Kapha |
|Pulse rate ||Quick ||Moderate ||Slow |
|Pulse rhythm ||Irregular ||Relatively regular ||Very regular |
|Pulse intensity ||Variable ||Strong ||Weak |
|Pulse volume ||Low ||Medium ||High |
The practitioner carefully monitors the qualities of the pulse under each finger and uses the following pairs of characteristics to describe it.
The pulse qualities detected under their three fingers allow the practitioner to determine your constitutional type. Most people fall into one or two type categories and therefore have an imbalance that causes some degree of illness to develop.
If the three basic forces are balanced, the Vata pulse should feel cold, light, dry, hard, moving, clear, strong, thin and rough. It is often compared to the slithering movement of a snake.
A balanced Pitta pulse feels hot, quick, oily, dynamic and regular like a hopping frog.
The qualities of a balanced Kapha pulse feel subtle, slow, regular, soft, viscous and faint. It is similar to a swan gliding on water.
The Ayurvedic diagnostician also monitors other signs that provide information about metabolic blockages. You will be asked about diet and digestion as well as sleep and lifestyle to help them create a holistic picture of your constitution.
All of this information comes together to form the basis of your treatment plan which includes a nutrition programme and complementary healing methods. We also provide you with a number of tips to take home so that you can work on bringing body and mind into harmony in your everyday life.
The pulse at different levels: superficial and deep pulse
The pulse contains more information about your physical and spiritual wellbeing than you might think. In an in-depth Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis, the Ayurvedic expert can draw accurate conclusions about the entire history of a patient, from the beginning of their life (revealed by the deep pulse) to their current state of health (which can be read from the superficial pulse).
Physical examination via the pulse also allows the practitioner to observe the progress of a patient’s healing, even if there are no other apparent signs of improvement. Fundamentally, pulse diagnosis is most useful for early detection of conditions, even those that are just starting to develop. This makes it possible to prevent illnesses before they take root.
There are six stages of disease formation:
1. Accumulation: Sanchaya. A blockage is just beginning to form, but it is already causing suffering on the level of the Subdoshas and their associated organs.
2. Aggravation: Prakopa. The blockage causes congestion which aggravates the imbalance.
3. Spread: Prasara. The Dosha tries to find a way around the blockage and spreads throughout the body and Subdoshas.
4. Localisation: Sthana Samshraya. As the Dosha spreads around the body, it can accumulate in the wrong places. The first symptoms of illness (Prodromi) might appear.
5. Manifestation: Vyakti. In this phase, the imbalance has developed to the extent that symptoms are noticeable.
6. Outbreak: Bheda. Body, mind and spirit are thrown completely off balance and the illness is fully discernible.
To make sure things don’t get that far, pulse diagnosis detects existing accumulations, allowing us to treat them during your stay, so that strength and balance can be restored and symptoms eliminated before they even arise.