The principles of Ayurveda are very logical and comprehensive and can be easily applied to diagnose a person’s condition so that you can come up with an appropriate action plan. To do this, we need to look at Specific Symptoms & Signs.
General appearance: A Vata body is one which thin, small bones, sinewy and without much curve or musculature. Pitta types are usually medium-framed with a moderate amount of musculature. Kapha types are fuller and bigger-boned with more curves. Vata hair is typically dry, and light brown or blonde. Pitta types often have thinner hair, reddish or auburn, and may bald or go gray early in life. Kapha hair is generally thick, curly or wavy, dark brown, and oily. By looking at, or touching an affected area, we can also determine which doshas are affected. Vata brings about dryness. With Pitta there is heat, or redness. And with Kapha the area will usually be cool.
Eyes: When Vata is present we see a combination of smoky, pinkish, bluish hues in the eye area. Also, a dryness of the eyes, an unsteady gaze, and sunken eyes. Pitta symptoms show up as pink, yellow or redness in the eyes, eyes with discharge, a penetrating gaze, lusturous eyes, sensitivity to light, and a burning sensation in eyes. Kapha symptoms show up as white conjunctiva, glistening, unctuous and watery eyes, a steady gaze and itchy eyes.
Tongue Examination: Stick out your tongue and look at it in a mirror. See if it is coated or clean. A coated tongue even after scrubbing indicates an impaired digestion. A thin white coating is normal, but a thick white coating indicates coldness or a Kapha aggravation. A yellow coat is indicative of heat and pitta aggravation. In vata conditions the tongue is dry and has a coating as per the accompanying kapha or pitta dosha along with vata. Grooves in the tongue, a red parched tongue devoid of coating, or blisters on the tongue, are indicative of inflammation and a Pitta condition.
Pulse examination: Pulse diagnosis is performed by an Ayurvedic Practitioner to determine the imbalance of one or more of the doshas. Pulse diagnosis itself is a very detailed science. When taking a patient’s pulse, the practitioner will use the right hand of a man, and the left hand of a woman. This is because the ayurvedic texts say that the nadi chakra (nerve plexus) differs in males and females.
Examination of Stools: Daily elimination (or lack thereof) is a visible indication of digestive health. Ideally, we should eliminate every morning within one hour of waking. The bowel movement should have no pain or strain and be the consistency of a banana. Constipation indicates that vata is present, loose stools indicate pitta, and heavy, sludgy stools indicate kapha.
Examination of urine: A straw coloured urine is normal while a yellow or reddish urine denotes increased pitta and /or dehydration. Urine that is clear like water denotes a Kapha aggravation, an attack of cold on the body and /or of over hydration. A frothy urine with impaired flow denotes a Vata aggravation.
Sounds in the body: Gurgling in the stomach or cracking of the joints indicate the presence of vata. The quality, speed, and tone of your voice also give information about which doshas are present. If you speak quickly and tend to lose your train of thought, there may be excess vata present. Those with more pitta in their constitution speak sharply and clearly. Kapha types take their time expressing their thoughts while speaking sweetly and slowly.
Nails: The nails also indicate the presence of vata, pitta or kapha: Long vertical lines can indicate malabsorption of nutrients. Soft, flexible nails indicate pitta; brittle nails that break easily are more vata; and kapha nails are thick, oily, and strong. Dry skin is a feature of vata; oily skin prone to acne and rashes is a sign of pitta imbalance; and kapha skin is thick, soft, and smooth.