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Pulse Based Diagnosis System Using the Concept of Ayurveda

Ranjan Walia # , Mandeep Singh *

# Electrical & Electronics Department, Lingaya’s University, Faridabad, Haryana

* Electrical & Instrumentation Department, Thapar University, Patiala, Punjab # , *

Abstract-The aim of Ayurveda is to simply achieve and maintain health by reaching a state of balance or equilibrium among the three doshas, which govern all bodily functions.

All physical manifestations of disease result from imbalances

in the doshas, and various foods and emotions either stabilize

or disturb this balance. Traditional ancient Indian medical diagnosis system is based on the concept of three radial pulses. In traditional nadi pariksha, three fingers (index, middle, and ring fingers) are placed just below the wrist on the radial artery to observe and understand aspects of the pulse. Nadi Pariksha is the science of observing the pulse from a perspective of diagnosis of the human body, active mind and the sub-conscious. It is commonly known as Pulse diagnosis. The pulse communicates more than what we can feel. Energy flowing through the various channels (nadis) carries information about the health of all that connect to them. Inside every human being there is a network of nerves and sensory organs that interprets the outside physical world. This paper presents the prototype of the design of human pulse based diagnosis system. Our work is to develop

a system with the help of modern electronics facilities to provide applications for the data acquisition, signal processing and is helpful in medical diagnosis based on tridosha.

Key Words-ayurveda, nadi pariksha, radial artery, vata, pitta, kapha, pulse diagnosis.

1. Introduction

A foundation of Ayurvedic theory is the concept of the tridosha. The term tridosha represents the ayurvedic theory of humeral balance. The theory of tridosha is one of the grandest & holiest contributions of ancient India to the world culture. The tridosha doctrine is unique and supreme. Its practical value in diagnosis and treatment is without a parallel. Ayurveda caters to and takes care of both the healthy and sick but it gives primary importance to the maintenance of sound health and prevention of diseases. Ayurveda states that every living thing in the universe is made of five elements. In humans, these elements correspond to the five senses:

Earth or Prithvi = Smell Water or Apa = Taste Fire or Tejas = Sight Air or Vayu = Touch Space or Akash = Hearing

According to Ayurvedic teachings, these five elements constitute three primary life forces or doshas. The three doshas, called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, can be found in every cell in every human, in a combination unique to each individual. Such a combination is called a tridosha. While some people may be characterized by a single dosha, most people are combinations of two or more. Whichever constitutional type dominates determines the dosha type of that person. Each dosha type is associated with characteristic tendencies which facilitate diagnosis for the physician or practitioner. The Panch-maha-bhutas have entered animate creation in a vivified form, forming the tridosha complex as shown below:

Akasha + Vayu = Vata dosha Teja + Apa = Pitta dosha Apa + Prithvi = Kapha dosha

2. Pulse diagnosis technique

The classical way of pulse examination among the Vaidya or Ayurvedic Practitioners is in the same manner as it was centuries ago. Radial Pulse is examined by holding the hand by left hand for support. The right hand's three finger's tips, first, middle and third finger, are kept slightly pressed on the radial pulse at Radial Fossa. The throbbing nature of the pulse is observed mentally by the physician. Vata is observed from the first (distal or index) finger tip, Pitta is observed from the second (middle) finger tip, Kaphha is observed from the third (proximal or ring) finger tip. If the sick person is affected by an excess of Vata Dosha, the throbbing of pulse will be more powerfully felt below the tip of first finger. If the patient is suffering from the pitta dosha, the throbbing of the pulse will be felt below the tip of the Middle finger, if the throbbing of the pulse is felt under the third finger, kapha dosha is observed. If throbbing of the pulse is felt below the first and second finger, it means the patient is suffering from the combined two doshas. If throbbing of Pulse is felt under the first and third finger tip, it means the sick is affected from Vata and Kaphha Dosha. If the throbbing pulse is felt below the tip of second and third finger, which means the patient is suffering from the Pitta and Kaphha Dosha. If throbbing is felt below all three finger

tips that means the patient is suffering from all three doshas, which is also called sannipat dosha. The standard position to obtain Tridosha is through a “pulse waveform” obtained on a wrist with the index, middle and the ring fingers respectively [1] as shown in Fig .1. Joshi et al. describe the changes in pulse waveform depending upon their age [2]. The Doshas are changing within the phases of life. Childhood (0-16 Years) is dominated by a disturbance of Kapha, while adults (16-50 Years) are facing a disturbance of Pitta and elderly people (over 50) a disturbance of Vata. These three phases apply in general.

a disturbance of Vata. These three phases apply in general. Figure 1. Standard positions to obtain

Figure 1. Standard positions to obtain pulses with three fingers

2.1. Vata type

This dosha is composed of the Akasha and Vayu elements and tends to be slender (lightest of the three body types) with cool dry skin and dry hair. They are creative and quick to grasp new ideas, but also quickly to forget. Vatas are characterized by unpredictability, enthusiasm, and variability in diet and sleep. They tend to have high energy in short bursts but tire easily and over exert. Vatas are prone to headaches, hypertension, anxiety, dry coughs, sore throats, earaches, insomnia, irregular heart rhythms, premenstrual syndrome, abdominal gas, diarrhea, nervous stomach, constipation, muscle spasms, lower back pain, sexual dysfunctions, arthritis and nervous system problems.

2.2. Pitta type

Pitta types are made of Teja and Apa, are usually of medium build and strength, and are able to easily maintain their weight. They tend to be intense, short tempered, sharp-witted, passionate, have strong digestion, and a strong appetite. Pittas are orderly, efficient, assertive, and self-confident, but can become aggressive, demanding and pushy. They are fairly predictable in their routines as they eat three meals a day and sleep eight hours a night. Generally, their complexion is fair or reddish, often having freckles, and their hair is usually fine and straight, tending toward blond or red. Typical health problems include heartburn, ulcers, hot sensations in the stomach or intestines, insomnia, rashes or inflammations of the skin, acne, skin cancer, anemia, and gallbladder and liver disorders.

2.3. Kapha type

Kapha is composed of Apa and Prithvi with a solid, strong, heavy body type, and soft hair and skin, usually with large soft eyes and a low, soft voice. They tend to gain weight easily and need a lot of sleep and warmth. Kaphas are usually relaxed, graceful, slow-moving and affectionate. They are forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental, and faithful. This dosha type has the most energy of all the constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive. They procrastinate and are slower to learn but have excellent long-term memories. Although Kaphas generally have a strong resistance to disease, they are prone to obesity, allergies, colds, congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems, atherosclerosis, and painful joints.

3. Work towards pulse based diagnosis system

There are number of nonlinear methods have been developed to quantify the dynamics of physiological signals such as EMG, ECG, EEG, etc and these achieved some meaningful results. In case of acquisition of pulse waveform not much work has been done in past, but in recent years there is a work towards Pulse waveform acquisition system is going on. Wang and Cheng in their paper mention few of the recent pulse waveform acquisition methodologies, which are mainly in Traditional Chinese Medicine [4]. The earliest work dates back to the 1950s, when quantification of beat-to-beat changes in stroke volume was done using arterial catheter manometer system, involving simultaneous recording of arterial pressure from multiple sites in the arterial tree. More recently, there has been a renewed interest in examining the arterial pulse. A

commercial grade photo plethysmograph transducer (Biopac Systems Inc., CA, USA)], a HMX pulse sensor (Shanghai Medical Instrument Company), a pulse sensor with a strain cantilever beam transducer are few of the recent methodologies used to acquire pulse data. The pulses shown in Fig. 2 below are reported to be diagnosing vata, pitta, and kapha, respectively. Kalange & Gangel in their work observed pulses are identified by Nadi-Vaidya as vata, pitta, and kapha are shown by the side of the reported ones [5]. The pulse is felt below the index finger. The pulse seems to have tortuous movement like that of a snake or leach. The pulse is comparatively fast and of low volume. Its rate, volume and rhythm vary in the four quarters of a minute. The artery may feel hard. Vata, composed of Akasha and Vayu, stands for mobility. Only vata can expel toxic substances from the body, dry out wounds, generate new cells and control circulation. Thus if the pulse rates are varying we can identify any problems relating to toxication in the body. Vata nadi imbalance will indicate flatulence of the abdomen, pain and ache all over the body, difficulty in urination, fever, change in voice, constipation, dry cough, discolouration of skin. Pitta is composed of fire and a small portion of Teja and Apa. It is the metabolic power that causes biochemical changes and is responsible for gastrointestinal secretions. Pitta also controls body temperature, hunger, thirst and suppleness. It stands for courage, intellect and cheerfulness. Thus when the pulses are low here, we can identify that the body is suffering from stress and hypertensions. Pitta nadi imbalance will be indicated when eyes, urine, and faeces become yellowish, burning sensation in the stomach, headache, thirsty, dryness of mouth, confusion, diarrhoea. Kapha comprises Apa and Prithvi. It is the nourishing power that protects the human organism and its reproductive abilities. Kapha nadi imbalance will indicate heaviness of the body and head, sweet taste of tongue, cold to touch, loss of appetite, flatulence & cough with phlegm, m difficulty in breathing.

& cough with phlegm, m difficulty in breathing. Figure 2. Pulses for vata, pitta, & kapha.

Figure 2. Pulses for vata, pitta, & kapha.

According to the amplitude of the three pulses subjects are classified as vata, pitta and kapha type. Mahesh et al. in their paper found if the amplitude deviates from that of the prescribed for normal subjects [6]. There are variation of pulse rate for the pulses during morning, afternoon and evening of three typical subjects as given in table 1. That analysis may also be considered in our proposed model for diagnosis system.

be considered in our proposed model for diagnosis system. Table 1. The variation of the pulse

Table 1. The variation of the pulse rate for the three pulses during morning, afternoon and evening of typical subjects

4. Proposed Model for Diagnosis

We propose a model in fig.3 for diagnosing tridosha using a data acquisition system feature extraction and comparison with the pulse wave database of the subjects with known tridosha. In this model the data acquisition system is similar to that proposed by kalange and Gangel [5] & is described as below: Data acquisition system has piezoelectric sensor with good dynamic response coupled with input analysis, a low pass filter, amplifier & notch filter.

Figure 3. Proposed block diagram for human pulse based diagnosis system. The processed data is

Figure 3. Proposed block diagram for human pulse based diagnosis system.

The processed data is acquired by high speed data acquisition system. The data so acquired is processed in real time to extract its diagnostic feature using digital signal processing techniques. These features are then processed by a classifier that has been tuned with the features extracted for subject with known tridosha. The output of classifier is than to be validated by the tridosha of subject so presented.

5. Conclusions

In this paper, we propose a prototype for human pulse based diagnosis system. This system is based on the tridosha of traditional Indian medical diagnosis system to distinguish healthy subjects from patients with particular diseases. The pulse signal is to be first pre-processed and then different techniques are to be applied for feature extraction. This system is finely tuned can be one of most useful tool in the field of non-invasive diagnosis of disease.

6. References

[1] Lad, Vasant., AyurvedaSecrets of the pulse, Lotus Press, Motilal Banarasi dass Publishers, Delhi, 2005,


[2] A. Joshi, A. Kulkarni, S. Chandran, V. K. Jayaraman, and B. D. Kulkarni, Nadi tarangini, “A pulse based diagnostic system, Proceedings of the 29th Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS.

[3] Hankey A., “The Scientific Value of Ayurveda”, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine, Volume 11, Number 2, 2005, pp. 221225. [4] H. Wang and Y. Cheng,, A Quantitative System For Pulse Diagnosis In Traditional Chinese Medicine, IEEE EMBS, (2005), pp. 56765679. [5] A.E. Kalange and S.A. Gangal, “Piezoelectric Sensor for Human Pulse Detection”, Defence Science Journal, Vol. 57, No. 1, January 2007, pp. 109-114. [6] S.Mahesh, M.Manivannan, T.Anandan, Design of Pulse Sensor for Siddha Based Disease Diagnosis, Proceedings of International Conference of Research into Design (ICoRD 09, IISc.), pp. 419-426. [7] Dr. G. M. Kadhar Nawaz Ms. S. Lakshmi, Ms. JayaSudha, “E- Health Analysis Element for Supporting Therapeutic through Ancient Indian Medical Science”, International Journal of Computer Applications, 2010, (0975 - 8887) Volume 1 No. 17, pp 75-80.