Pulse Reading The Pulse of Siddha Medicinal System

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Siddha medicinal system, which remained overshadowed by western systems for more than three centuries, is gaining popularity in post-independence decades. It is said that it has mothered Ayurveda system. The archeological studies of Indus civilization which existed in India before the arrival of the Aryans reveal many references about this ancient Indian medical system.

Siddhas the ancient savants

Ancient sages treated diseases through yogic methods which they themselves were practicing. They achieved the ecstatic stage called “Siddhi” through which they could read even minds of men. They were practicing Siddha medical system and have left poetic descriptions about this system. Pulse reading has been the primary diagnosis of this system.

Pulse reading in siddha

Pulse reading or study of “Naadi” is the primary diagnosing system of Siddha. Just by touching the pulse, even before enquiring any details from the patient, a Siddha physician could tell the condition of the patient and his sufferings. It is the first step of Siddha system.

Pulse reading the primary method of diagnosis

Ancient sages who are otherwise called “Siddhars” have defined that there are eight methods of diagnosis. They are: (1) naadi (pulse), (2) eyes, (3) voice, (4) touch), (5) color), (6) tongue, (7) stools and (8) urine. Among these eight methods pulse reading was the most important one.

Prognosis and diagnosis by reading the pulse

According to the Siddha system, pulse has two meanings. One refers to actual pulse and the other refers to the flow of nerves or meridians. Siddhars have stated that there are 72,000 naadis or meridians. They have their root or starting point from the main nerve called sushuma, intertwined by the ida and the pingala. These are the most important nerves in the body that pass along the spinal cord. The sushuma is placed inside the spinal cord, and ida and pingala flow cross at the chakra points along spine. They are not the actual nerves or blood vessels but are a kind of sympathetic nervous system. The pulse is influenced or disturbed by the nerves and reflects the condition of health by their flow.

Important factors to be noted before reading the pulse

Ancient medical works sages have defined the pre-conditions that are to be noted before reading the pulse. Pulse reading should not be done after oil bath, after meals, running or hard physical exercise or when the patient is emotionally upset. Pulse reading for males in the right hand and for women it is in the left hand. In certain circumstances of inability to read pulse in hand, it can be done at ankles, earlobes, etc. the season and time also have much to do in pulse reading. Variations of three humors or “dhoshas” may affect the condition of pulses. They affect the life stream or the “Jeeva Dadhu”. For example, at noon since the sun is high and it is very hot pitha dhosha will affect the pulse.

Siddha medical system is an ancient medicinal system. Most of its knowledge is lost. There are a lot of palm leaf manuscripts yet to be deciphered and analyzed. It is a miraculous art of ancient science.


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