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Oman Today - Adventures in Oman
Fingers on the pulse
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An ancient ayurvedic method of detecting the status of a person's body, mind and spirit, is now in Muscat

First the confession: I'm just not the alternative therapy type; I rather prefer the doctor-antibiotic routine. So when the boss suggested I check out nadi pariksha (pulse diagnosis) at the newly opened Sri Sri Ayurveda Clinic I was not exactly jumping with joy. But then, boss' directives are not to be trifled with, and so here I am, staring at the closed teak door on a Saturday morning, all grumpy from having had to fast for the past 12 hours before undergoing the nadi pariksha.

But push the door open and even before your eyes get accustomed to the muted light inside, you are overcome by a sense of serenity, thanks to the olfactory treat you have walked into. Though you can't pinpoint one smell, it is a soothing mixture of aromatic oils, herbs and spices that instinctively assuages any restlessness that you may be feeling. Past a huge bronze vessel filled with water and floating flo-wers and a traditional brass lamp is the reception desk, and beyond it the doctor's consulting room.
Ten minutes on, I am sitting still, trying hard to read Dr Jignesh Rathod's face, even as he is reading my pulse. His eyes closed, he is a picture of concentration, his three fingers resting on my wrist. Another five minutes, and he tells me, "Your basic dosha (body constitution) is fire ?in ayurveda we call it pitta." I must be looking incredulous, for he goes on to add, "Yeah, you do not have any of the problems associa-ted with it right now because your pitta is balanced. But your pulse reading identifies your body type as fire. In ayurveda we identify three body constitutions ?vata (air), kapha (water) and pitta (fire)."

Pulse diagnosis is the ancient art and science of detecting the existing status of a person's body, mind, soul and spirit. Nadi or pulse is that vital flow of energy or life that courses through as a subtle channel all over the body, and enables the practitioner to feel the way the blood spurts from the heart. This helps an experienced ayurvedic doctor to diagnose or treat various ailments, or to prevent their occurrence.

"There are six stages of pathology. Usually it is only at the rupa (symptom) stage that a patient realises that something is amiss. But many a time, you reach that stage after years and sometimes by the time the symptoms manifest, it is too late to do anything. It is here that nadi pariksha helps. By identifying your basic dosha, and taking remedial measures in diet and exercise you can easily avert most of the common problems associated with it." According to Dr Rathod, several problems that remain undiagnosed even with the aid of sophisticated diagnostic tests can be accurately judged by examining the pulse. He says nadi pariksha has its origin in Greek medicine and has been popular in Oman for centuries. Most of his patients are Omanis and only 30 per cent are expatriates.

He says the ideal time for pulse examination is early morning, on empty stomach. But in case of emergency, it can be examined at any time. An experienced ayurvedic practitioner can assess your body's nature (prakriti), pathological state (vikruti), imbalances of body type and even prognosis a disease through pulse reading. Many prefer nadi pariksha as it helps diagnose the imbalances within our body, without the use of any invasive instruments.

On how the basic body type is identified by reading the pulse and also the reason why three fingers are used to read the pulse as opposed to one in allopathy, Dr Rathod says, "We identify three basic pulse movements as per ayurvedic medical practice. The vata dosha is identified using the index finger, kapha dosha with ring finger, and pitta dosha with the middle finger. Each dosha has a specific type of pulse movement ?it moves like a snake in a person of vata const-itution, like an elephant in a person with kapha constitution and like a jumping frog in a person with pitta dosha. There are a lot of other types of pulse movements that help the doctor identify particular diseases as well."

Nadi pariksha is not the only service offered at Sri Sri Ayurveda. On offer are various ayurveda, weight loss and fitness programmes, diet and lifestyle consultation, a non-residential deep relaxation weekend programme and rejuvenation therapies. The centre also runs a mess where ayurvedic food is prepared and served.

Sri Sri Ayurveda Clinic
Available treatments
Charges range from RO5 to RO80

  • Aromatherapy abhyangam (massage)
  • Churnapinda swedana (massage with warm bundle of herbal powder)
  • Deep relaxation package
  • Ekangdhara (dhara of medicated liquids locally)
  • Greevavasati (treatment for upper back pain and neck pain)
  • Januvasti (treatment for knee joints)
  • Karnapoorana with massage and steam (treatment for ear pain and frequent ear infection)
  • Kativasti (treatment for low back pain)
  • Mukhalepa (massage, steam and face pack)
  • Patrapottali swedana (massage with a bundle of warm leaves of various medicinal plants)
  • Weekend deep relaxation package
  • Udvartanam (dry massage with herbal powder)
  • Milk and honey scrub
  • Apricot scrub
  • Foot massage
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