In Ayurveda, various methods are described to investigate the disease and examine the patients. pulse diagnosis in Ayurveda is mentioned for the first time in the book Bhav Prakash, written about 700 years ago by Bhav Mishra, a noted Ayurvedic Physician of South India. His book describes the nature of pulse throbbing, and pulsation style readings. The nature of the pulsating movement and style is compared with the movement of the smaller animals and creatures, like snakes, birds, frogs etc.
Ayurveda states three barometers of diagnosis: darshana (see and observe), sparshana (touch), and prashna (inquire by asking questions). Successful pulse reading involves touching, feeling, observing, and experiencing not only the rate, rhythm, and volume of the pulse; but also its movement, amplitude, temperature, force, and consistency in the body. Pulse reading helps to diagnose the problem at the first stage, when the doshas and ama just begin to accumulate and much before they spread and vitiate the entire body; and manifest themselves in the form of symptoms that finally become chronic and complicated.
In pulse diagnosis, the physician places his index finger, middle finger and ring finger below the radial bone of the wrist. The index finger identifies vata, the middle finger pitta and the ring finger kapha. “Based on the dominant dosha and the direction in which the pulse moves—its degree of heat, cold, humidity and dryness—it is possible to identify 350 different body situations,” A skilled practitioner can determine the imbalance in the mind-body constitution, as well as the imbalance in the tri-doshas and Dhatus from the pulses of the patient.