Dhanvantari Ayurveda Center  Michael Dick, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Leesburg, Florida    e-mail: md@ayurveda-florida.com

 

September 1996 Volume 1  Issue 1

 

INSIDE

 

1

Ayurveda Returns to P.B. ‘S

2

Pulse Diagnosis

3

Florida Lifestyle Tips

4

 

 

5

 

   

 

Rounded Rectangle: pulse diagnosis
Rounded Rectangle: health  is a way of living
Rounded Rectangle: GOOD NEWS
The Ayurvedist®


 Ayurveda comes to the Palm Beaches

M

ichael Dick, M.A., formerly of West Palm Beach, returns to the Palm Beaches to lecture and give consultations on Ayurveda. Michael has studied Ayurveda in Cambridge, Mass. in a two year program founded by Deepak Chopra under the auspices of Maharishi Ayurveda. He did clinical observations under Dr. Glasier, Dr. Anand, Dr. Belok in that area while completing requirements of that program. He has completed Panchakarma Technician training at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Lancaster, Mass (formerly under the medical directorship of Dr. Deepak Chopra). Michael is presently studying with Dr. Vasant Lad, M.A.Sc. in Albuquerque, N.M. Dr. Lad is a well known author, lecturer, teacher, and clinician in the field of Ayurveda. Dr. Lad currently practices and teaches Ayurvedic medicine in India and in the United States. Michael has completed a one-year academic program and two years of clinical observation under Dr. Lad.

The lectures are open to the general public and will cover such topics as: Ayurveda as the study of philosophy, science, and medicine; life as a holistic union of spirit, mind, senses, body; health as a dynamic process of balance; imbalance and disease as the expression of three interacting principles: vata, pitta, kapha; the state of balance as a function of the qualities or our lifestyle, diet, emotions; body typing as a means to understanding propensities for certain diseases; controlling imbalances and eliminating disease by controlling the governors of physiology; an overview of comparison and contrast of approaches in

 

the allopathic and Ayurvedic models of health.

 Michael will be available for private Ayurvedic consultations which will provide determination of physical constitution and the present state of balance among the three governing principles of one’s own physiology. Guidelines for diet, lifestyle, and other balancing modalities will be offered. Michael’s unique education, experience and background brings more Ayurvedic understanding to bear than most Ayurvedic practitioners in this country today.

 

 

 

 

WHY HAVE A PULSE ASSESSMENT? by Michael  Dick

 

One of the important diagnostic techniques of the ancient science of Ayurveda is nadi vijnan--or pulse diagnosis.  This is a body of knowledge handed down in the gurukula tradition in India which likely has been practiced for thousands of years.  Its use as a diagnostic tool for discovering imbalances in physiology is not widely known or practiced in India because of the traditional way of orally passing knowledge from generation to generation. However, as proof of an awareness and use of it we see evidence that over the centuries it has been disseminated in various forms around Asia and has a place in traditional Chinese medicine. 

 

The present rejuvenation of Ayurveda around the world finds this technique gaining prominence in its two applications: 1) Self-pulse:  When done by oneself on oneself it promotes extending awareness in the mind/body system to an imbalance in physiology, which leads to healing; 2) Pulse Diagnosis: A trained practitioner feels the client's pulse, assesses the state of balance of physiology, and suggests remedial action for restoring balance.  As Ayurveda is a science which asserts the unity of mind, body, spirit, that is of mental, emotional, physical aspects of physiology, learning something about one facet gives understanding of all three aspects of life, and pulse yields this insight about the total person. This is one reason for having a pulse assessment.  

 

The present state of being--reflecting what is happening now in the mind/body system--is assessed at the superficial level of pulse. If there is a strong emotion, if digestion in the stomach is going on, if the body is aroused, etc. all these and many other states of being can be detected.  Whereas, deeper levels of pulse are a kind of biographical record of past stresses and natal information like physical and mental constitution. Stress stored in deep tissue suggests long term chronicity of exposure to some negative influence. Constitutional assessment is extremely important because this information gives understanding why certain foods, herbs, activities, emotions, etc. can have either a favorable or negative effect upon a given individual; it helps predict what kinds of imbalances or diseases that person is most susceptible to; it gives the practitioner clues about whether or not one expresses what nature intended/endowed from birth...has this person become other than what he/she started with? Further it describes the innate balance of the doshic principles which acts as a target for balancing in that individual. In a way one can say that knowing something about one point in time promotes knowledge of all points in time--past, present, future. In the same way, mental constitution assessment yields a picture of the way one is likely to think and act spontaneously when in balanced physiology or good health.

 

Discovering etiology--at the level of cause--is another reason for having a pulse assessment. Ayurveda employs three interacting principles--vata, pitta, kapha or motion, heat, and structure, respectively--to explain all of physiology and creation. These principles are considered to be the governors of physiology. Balance of these principles felt in the pulse is a requisite for health. Detecting imbalance at this level signifies finding the root cause of disease. Of course, there are many predisposing factors such as genes, congenital factors, trauma, and so on, but what brings about the manifestation is a disturbance in a doshic principle.

 

In Ayurveda the heart is more than an organ--in the sense that it is a pump, for example. It is the very essence of mind and of every organ and tissue of the body and serves to both monitor and transmit or amplify the status and functioning of every organ via the pulsating arteries.  An expert can feel which organs, systems, or tissues are working under stress and which doshic principle is causing the problem. When the practitioner determines what organs and tissues are involved then a good idea of the pathogenesis (origin, path, and extent of imbalance or disease) is gained--another reason. 

 

As a result of the foregoing reason yet another one arises based on the fact that Ayurveda recognizes six stages of pathogenesis--the first four of which are not found in the modern allopathic model. Ayurveda identifies imbalance or disease before it manifests with signs and symptoms. Remedial interventions at these stages are easier, less costly, and quicker to produce results.

 

There are numerous additional points which are important also. Consciousness is said to be the nature and basis of life.  It expresses as a trinity of values: prana, tejas, and ojas. Prana is the vitality or energy of life which gives rise to tejas and ojas. Tejas is the transformational value of life necessary for digestion, metabolism, understanding, etc., which acts on ojas to convert it. Ojas is the subtle substance of life giving rise to tissue, etc. and expresses as immunity, cheerfulness, good complexion, etc. These are directly perceived in the pulse. The condition of their balance and integration with Consciousness (called samhita in Sanskrit) can be directly perceived in the pulsating arteries.

 

The pulse contains information about impending critical times--periods of higher risk or vulnerability. These are termed ganda kala in Sanskrit. For example, if a certain impulse is found under the index finger this suggests that the next 6 months are a critical time.  If the impulse is found under the ring finger the next month will be a critical time. One is encouraged to be extra careful and diligent about meditation, yoga, etc. It has another preventive value in this way.

 

The pulse can corroborate jyotish (astrology) findings or predictions. For example, if the pulse shows weakness in the liver this indication is likely to be suggested in the natal chart for the same period. (An expert practitioner often uses the jyotish chart to aid in diagnosis and treatment.)

 

Finally, the mere touch of the practitioner is sufficient to begin the healing process as it, too, brings awareness to physiology--awareness from the client and practitioner. Without awareness there is no healing.  Health means that awareness--the healing flow of intelligence--is moving throughout physiology.

 

In summary pulse assessment is a unique technique which is like a window into the heart and soul of the individual. It yields the fundamental understanding of cause and effect.  It helps explain the past and present and even suggests something about the future.  It is a tool which when combined with therapeutics can be remedial and preventative.

 

 

 

 

SOME AYURVEDA GUIDELINES FOR THE SOUTH FLORIDA LIFESTYLE 

 

The South Florida climate is hot and sunny year-round.  From the perspective of Ayurveda this presents the potential for aggravation of that dosa responsible for digestion, metabolism, and transformation--pitta.  Remember when the qualities of pitta  ( hot, sharp, sour, moving, light, slightly oily) are lively in the food and climate, etc. then they tend to  accumulate in the physiology.  Often this  accumulation is experienced as increased body heat, rash, diarrhea, migraine headache, but also emotionally as irritability, anger, impatience. In order to prevent imbalances in the physiology due to these influences we suggest the following:

 

 

 

Sleep is the time the physiology takes to reset, restore,  rebuild, and clean.  When sleep is adversely affected then digestion disturbed--the root of all health.  Ayurveda thus recommends a cool sleeping environment.

 

The heat from the climate causes bodily sweat which serves to cool the body.  It is important, therefore to drink adequate  fluids.  Ice cold beverages are not indicated, however, as they tend to adversely affect digestion. Carbonated beverages may tend to excite vata dosa and to promote artificial hunger and thirst and interfere with digestion in the stomach.  Further, there is evidence that kidney stones and other calculi are related to this influence in the body.  The Southeast is considered the "kidney stone belt" of the U.S. and this probably relates to the high consumption of carbonated beverages in this area. Drinking lots of fluids tends to put out the digestive fire (digestive capacity/ intensity decreases).  Therefore, be careful to try to avoid fluids in large quantities  one hour before to one hour after meals.  It would be beneficial in our climate to include digestion-promoting spices in our foods because of this influence, e.g.: ginger, cumin, coriander, etc.  Chewing fennel seed is also useful for this purpose as it is said to help balance digestion. Conversely, insufficient fluid intake is responsible for many symptoms of aging (declining functioning).

 

The bright sun is a fire element and pitta and the eyes are affected directly by it.  We may consider sun glasses as an adjunct BUT it would be better to perform daily sunning exercises which promote tolerance to bright light as sunglasses do not strengthen or protect the eyes.   

 

In regard to  the skin the sun's rays produce free-radicals, which may result in dry, leathery skin and even skin cancer.  Using an anti-oxidant daily, such as sesame oil would be beneficial. Coconut oil is cooling, which slows the sun's burning effects.

 

Daily exercise is an important Ayurvedic guideline.  For best results it should be done early in the day--before 10 am.  This time is cooler than later hours, which means less opportunity for pitta aggravation due to heat.

 

 


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