Ayurveda - as one of the most ancient medical sciences of the world - means ‘science of life’, the science that imparts the knowledge of life. Life is defined as an ongoing combination and union of mind, body, self (Atma), sensory and motor organs.
The pulse is an important tool for understanding the mind body of an individual as the pulse changes with age, sex, constitution, time of day, season, activity, meals, and the state of mind of the individual. In modern science, the pulse is called the mirror or index of the heart, whereas Ayurvedic physicians describe the pulse as the mirror of the whole body. It is vital, therefore, to understand the common pulse and its mechanism.
Every substance in the universe, including the human body, consists of an aggregate of five basic elements - solids (Prithvi), liquids (Jala), gases (Vayu), energy or fire (Agni) and space (Akasha). All living organisms are composed of the same basic elements organized into three basic biological humors (known as Dosha) as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Gases and space combine to form Vata, energy and liquid turn into Pitta and liquids and solids combine to form Kapha. The harmonious working of these three biological forces or intelligences is health, and their conflict is disease.
All the movements in the body, including transmission of nerve impulse, cardiac contractions, generation of pulse waves, movement, transportation and communication are the functions of Vata.
All the enzyme systems in the body - the body energy including energy for cardiac contraction, pulse propagation, transformation, tissue metabolism, digestion, assimilation and hormone regulation are derived from Pitta.
Kapha is predominantly responsible for the immunity, structure, stability, cohesion, binding and the lubrication of various organs and tissues, including the heart and blood vessels.
As all the fluids, blood and organs of the body are composed of the same basic biological elements (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) alteration in the structure or function of any organ is reflected immediately in all body fluids, including blood, and hence these changes can be assessed by close examination and analysis of the pulse.
The benefits of pulse reading are the detection of imbalances at an early stage, determining the cause of the imbalance, and under the care of an Ayurvedic practitioner, the reestablishment of balance. Through prescribed Ayurvedic treatments - herbal supplements, diet, daily and seasonal routine according to Ayurveda doctrines, yogic postures, breathing exercises, meditation technique and special natural physiological cleansing processes or detoxification programs (known as Panchakarma), the balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha can be restored and maintained.
Pulse, like a lamp, throws light on all the physiological and pathological states discovered in human being".(Raavana Tantra)
The author of above article, Dr. Vijay Shekhar Annambhotla is M.D in Ayurveda from Gujarat Ayurveda University and now residing in USA. He is founder president of Ojas Ayurveda & Yoga Institute Inc. at Pennsylvania, USA. This article is edited by Gilgi hauser.
Published with the kind permission of Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center India.
Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center, based in India, is dedicated to Ayurveda - the science of life - a holistic approach to health care.
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