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Nadi Pariksha: Decoding the Pulse

by Life Aveda 28 Jun 2024
Nadi Pariksha: Decoding the Pulse

Ayurveda, an ancient science always praised for its miraculous herbs and formulation, has a secret buried in its heart and it goes by the name Nadi Pariksha. “Nadi” here stands for pulse and “pariksha” is examination. The literal meaning of Nadi Pariksha is Pulse Examination. It is stated under Ashtavidha Pariksha, which is the 8 types of examination for diagnosing disease or dosha imbalance. Nadi pariksha is done to examine the pulse to reveal the body's subtle rhythms, providing a deep understanding of an individual's unique makeup and guiding personalized wellness plans.

In this blog, we will delve into the depths of Nadi Pariksha and how it is helpful in diagnosing a diseased condition.

First of all, What is Ashtavidha Pariksha?

Ashtavidha pariksha is, as mentioned before, 8 types of diagnosing examinations mentioned in Ayurveda. The Ashtavidha Pariksha includes the following:

  • Nadi Pariksha (Pulse diagnosing)
  • Mutra Pariksha (Urine Examination)
  • Mala Pariksha (Stool Examination)
  • Jihwa Pariksha (Tongue Examination)
  • Shabdha Pariksha (Assessment of bodily sounds, auscultation & percussion)
  • Sparsha pariksha (Palpation)
  • Drk pariksha (Eye assessment)
  • Akriti (Assessment of face & physiognomy)

Now moving forward let’s discuss Nadi Pariksha or pulse examination in detail.

Pulse Examination: To Sync With the Your Body's Natural Flow

What is Nadi Pariksha in Ayurveda?

Before dwelling into the depths of pulse examinations or Nadi pariksha let’s understand the meaning “Nadi”. Nadi is a channel or pathway of prana in the system which runs alongside every blood vessel, an artery, nerve or capillary. Nadi, also known by various synonyms, including:

  • Dhamani: Artery or vessel
  • Dhara: Stream or flow
  • Dharani: Supporting or holding
  • Snayu: Tendon or sinew
  • Hamsi: Swan (symbolizing grace and beauty)
  • Jeevangyana: Life-giving or vital force
  • Tantuki: String or thread (representing connection)
  • Jivitjnya: Life-knowing or vital awareness
  • Sira: Vein or blood vessel
  • Jivasakshi: Witness to life
  • Veena: Lute or stringed instrument (symbolizing harmony)
  • Sphura: Beating or pulsation
  • Sphurani: Vibrations or rhythmic movements

For Nadi Pariksha, there are different sites which are being mentioned. These are as following:

  • Wrist (radial artery)
  • Dorsum of the foot (dorsalis pedis artery)
  • Ankle (posterior tibial artery)
  • Elbow (brachial artery)
  • Arm (brachial artery)
  • Axilla (axillary artery)
  • Neck (carotid artery)
  • Near the nose (branch of the facial artery)
  • In front of the ear (superficial temporal artery)
  • Above the eye (supra-orbital artery)
  • Lips (labial branch of facial artery)
  • Tongue (lingual artery)
  • Penis (branch of internal pudendal artery)
  • Perineum (branch of internal pudendal artery)
  • Apex beat

All of the synonyms reflect various aspects of the pulse, such as its physical properties, functional significance, and symbolic meanings.

Nadi Pariksha (Pulse Examination) Procedure

Nadi Pariksha (Pulse Examination) Procedure

Ideal Time and Preparations

There is a specific time and certain preparations which are important to keep in mind before starting Nadi Pariksha procedure:

  • Early morning hours are the best for performing Nadi Pariksha.
  • Patient and examiner have passed urine, flatus and bowels and taken baths before the examination.

Patient Positioning

Sit comfortably in a chair or lie down on an examination table. Right positioning of patients is very important and holds great significance in examinations. He or she should also be well slept through the previous night and must not be under any stress.

Pulse Examination Location

The most easy and accessible site for pulse examination or Nadi Pariksha is:

  • Radial artery in the wrist area
  • Males: right hand
  • Females: left hand

Examination Technique

Following are the key points that have to be kept in mind

  • Examiner gently holds patient's hand at the elbow joint Places right-hand fingers on patient's wrist to palpate the pulse
  • Index finger, middle finger and ring finger must be placed near each other.
  • Pulse examination involves gentle palpation, pressing and tapping on the radial artery.
  • Rolling the radial artery under the fingers and examining the features of the radial artery.

Dosha Identification

  • Vata Dosha: feeble pulse felt at the index finger (Teekshna gati – Jalauka and Sarpagati – The pulse moves like a leech or snake)
  • Pitta Dosha: moderate pulse felt at the middle finger (Madhya gati – Kulinga-kaka-Manduka gati – The movement of the pulse is like a sparrow, crow, or frog)
  • Kapha Dosha: fast-beating pulse felt at the ring finger (Mandagati – Hamsa and Paravata gati – The movement is like a swan or pigeon)

Purpose of Pulse Examination In Ayurveda

Purpose of Pulse Examination In Ayurveda

The pulse examination is done to rule out the following:

  • Assess healthy state: Evaluate the overall health and well-being of the individual, including their physical, mental, and emotional balance.
  • Determine individual dosha predominance: Identify which dosha (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha) is predominant in the individual, which helps understand their constitutional tendencies and potential health risks.
  • Identify combination of doshas: Determine the combination of doshas present in the individual, which can help understand their unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Detect pathological conditions: Identify potential health issues or diseases, such as inflammation, stress, or digestive problems, by analyzing the pulse patterns and dosha imbalances.

Pulse Characteristics to observe while Nadi Pariksha

Pulse Characteristics to observe while Nadi Pariksha

Nadi Pariksha involves a comprehensive analysis of the following pulse characteristics:

  • Strength (Bala): The forcefulness or vigor of the pulse, indicating the body's energy levels.
  • Speed (Gati): The rate at which the pulse travels through the arteries, revealing the body's metabolic activity.
  • Rhythm (Anupravesh): The regularity or irregularity of the pulse beats, indicating the body's balance and harmony.
  • Width (Sthana): The width or breadth of the pulse, reflecting the body's nutritional and digestive health.
  • Depth (Sankocha): The depth to which the pulse is felt upon palpation, indicating the body's vitality and resilience.
  • Consistency (Prakriti): The uniformity of the pulse throughout the examination, revealing the body's overall balance and well-being.

Pulse Examination: When to Avoid

Certain conditions are contra-indicated for pulse examination, including:

  • Immediately after bathing
  • When the patient is feeling hungry or thirsty
  • When the patient is sleeping or immediately after waking up
  • After eating a meal
  • After undergoing Snehana karma (internal or external oleation therapy)

Characteristics of a Healthy Pulse

The pulse of a healthy person is:

  • Steady and forceful
  • Beats like Hamsagamana (swan) and Gajagamini (elephant)

Relationship between Dosha & Pulse: Color and Touch Specifications

The pulse appears differently colored and has a different touch depending on the dosha:

  • Vata dosha: Neela Varna (blue color), sometimes warm and sometimes cold to the touch
  • Pitta dosha: Peeta (yellow color), warm to the touch
  • Kapha dosha: Shweta Varna (white color), cold to the touch

Nadi (Pulse) & Vaya (Age)

The pulse rate varies with age. It is rapid and fast in infants and with its characteristics vary. Following are some details regarding this:

  • Newborn: 56 pala (approximately 140 pulses/min)
  • Infant: 44 pala (approximately 120 pulses/min)
  • Adolescent: 36 pala (approximately 90 pulses/min)
  • Adult: 29 pala (approximately 72 pulses/min)
  • Old age: 28 pala (approximately 70 pulses/min)
  • Very old age: 31 pala (approximately 78 pulses/min)

How Pulse is Related to Time of the Day?

Pulse changes according to dosha dominance and dosha dominance changes according to day time. Below table explains all:

Day Time 

Dosha dominance 

Pulse Characteristic 



Snigdha (unctuous)



Ushna (warm)



Teekshna (rapid)



Manda (slow)


Season and Pulse: The Relation Between Two

The pulse changes with the seasons:

  • Shishira ritu (winter): Leech or elephant
  • Vasanta ritu (spring): Swan or peacock
  • Greeshma ritu (summer): Swan or snake
  • Varsha ritu (rainy season): Rabbit or fish
  • Sharad ritu (autumn): Swan
  • Hemant ritu (pre-winter): Leech, crow, or frog


Nadi Pariksha, the ancient art of pulse diagnosis, is a powerful tool for understanding the body's intricate rhythms and balancing the doshas. By decoding the pulse, practitioners of Ayurveda can uncover underlying health issues, identify potential risks, and develop personalized treatment plans tailored to an individual's unique needs. As we continue to navigate the complexities of modern life, the timeless wisdom of Nadi Pariksha offers a profound opportunity to reconnect with our bodies and restore balance to our lives. Embrace the ancient art of pulse diagnosis and unlock the secrets of your body's inner wisdom.

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