Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of medicine; it is believed to be around 5,000 years old and is considered to be the longest continuously practiced system of medicine alongside with the traditional Chinese medicine.
Ayurvedic Practitioner uses the eightfold examination process called Ashtavidha Pariksha (Ashta means "eight," "vidha" means fold or process, and "pariksha" means exam).
The eightfold exam is a thorough process in which the consultant really gets to know you. It consists of examining eight areas of the body and bodily functions, all of which reveal places of balance and imbalance.
The Eightfold Exam includes:
Taking the pulse is a way to determine one’s constitution, or dosha, and current state of imbalance.
The Ayurvedic practitioner feels for the strength of vata, pitta, and kapha in the pulse. They look for the overall qualities of the pulse as well: hot or cold, feeble or bounding, stable or mobile, heavy or light. Vata is felt under the first finger, pitta in the middle finger, and kapha under the ring finger.
A dry, light, cold pulse reveals the presence of vata; a hot, bounding, sharp pulse indicates pitta; a slow, soft, steady pulse is more kapha in nature.
Talking about urination might feel uncomfortable, but there’s important information available in this discussion. The colour can indicate if one is properly hydrated; the frequency can indicate if there’s enough fluid intake. Pain or discomfort could indicate a more complicated concern. Scanty urine can reveal the presence of vata; hot urine can show the presence of pitta; cloudy urine may indicate excess kapha.
Discussion can reveal vitally important information about digestive health.
Daily elimination (or lack thereof) is a visible indication of digestive health. Ideally, we should eliminate every morning within one hour of waking. The bowel movement should have no pain or strain and be the consistency of a banana. Constipation indicates that vata is present, loose stools indicate pitta, and heavy, sludgy stools indicate kapha.
When examining the tongue, the practitioner looks at the color and shape, checking to see if there are scallops on the sides, movement, coating, or cracking. A large, round-tipped tongue indicates more kapha; redness suggests pitta; cracking and a thin, pointed-tip tongue is more prevalent in vata. Scalloped edges on the sides of the tongue (teeth impressions) indicate possible malabsorption or malnutrition. Coating indicates a presence of ama, or undigested food, in the digestive system.
Sounds in the body
Gurgling in the stomach or cracking of the joints indicate the presence of vata. Eating cooked foods and keeping regular mealtimes can help with gurgling, and rubbing the joints with sesame oil can soothe cracking sounds. The quality, speed, and tone of your voice also give information about your constitution. If you speak quickly and tend to lose your train of thought, there may be excess vata present. Those with more pitta in their constitution speak sharply and clearly. Kapha types take their time expressing their thoughts while speaking slowly.
The doshas affect both the shape and color of the eyes. Small, dry eyes indicate vata; medium, piercing, intense eyes are present with pitta; big, watery eyes are kapha eyes. If there is redness or yellowness in the whites of the eyes, pitta is present.
The nails also indicate the presence of vata, pitta, or kapha: Long vertical lines can indicate malabsorption; soft, flexible nails indicate pitta; brittle nails that break easily are more vata; and kapha nails are thick, oily, and strong. Dry skin is a feature of vata; oily skin prone to acne and rashes is a sign of pitta imbalance; and kapha skin is thick, soft, and smooth.
Your body shape, the color and texture of your hair, your energy level, and even your gait can indicate the predominance of vata, pitta, or kapha.
A vata body is one with thin, small bones, sinewy and without much curve or musculature. Pitta types are usually medium-framed with a moderate amount of musculature.
Kapha types are fuller and bigger-boned with more curves.
Vata hair is typically average in amount, dry, and light brown or blonde.
Pitta types often have thinner hair, reddish or auburn, and may bald or go gray early in life. Kapha hair is generally thick, curly or wavy, dark brown, and oily.
Vata types have a sporadic amount of energy—bouncing around in one moment and exhausted in the next.
Pitta types have a strong energy, but tend to burn themselves out by overscheduling.
Kapha types are slow and steady; they have the stamina to go the long haul, but they don’t move terribly fast in the process.
What happens after your consultation?
After evaluating all aspects of your being, the practitioner can make clear suggestions about which Ayurvedic tools you can adopt to maintain a life of balance.
Within one week following consultation you will receive written detailed Diet and Lifestyle Advice, Ayurvedic Treatment Plan and Herbal recommendations.
These may include daily self-care routines, food choices, yoga and pranayama techniques, meditation and movement practices, and herbs.
The true aim of Ayurveda is to clear out the clutter in the mind, senses, and body to access your greatest potential for health and thriving.
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