How To Self Diagnose According To Ayurveda

In the West, diagnosis is identifying disease after it’s manifested. In Ayurveda, the 5,000 year old science of self healing, the concept of diagnosis is monitoring every day interactions between order (health) and disorder (disease) in the body. The presence of symptoms of disease are said to be related to an imbalance of the tridoshas (human constitutions).

Once a person can properly detect imbalances in their body, treatment and healing can begin. The indicators in imbalances can be noted in the pulse, tongue, face, eyes, lips, and nails. This post will teach you how!

Ayurveda teaches us that we are all living books, and for understanding, and full well-being, we must read daily. Below we will use Dr. Vasant Lad’s diagrams from his first book, Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing, to read our own bodies.

Examining Radial Pulse

The radial pulse is discovered with the first three fingers, the index, middle, and ring fingers placed on the wrist. It will vary from side to side, so taking it on both wrists is recommended for more accurate results.

*The pulse should not be taking immediately after exertion, a massage, sex, or bathing.

To take your own pulse, keep your arm slightly bent and place the three fingers lightly just below the radius (wrist) bone. Each finger represents a different human constitution aka dosha.

If you don’t already know your dosha, this will help you to determine it!

Index = VATA

When VATA is the primary constitution, the index finger will feel the pulse the strongest. It will be irregular and thin, moving like a slithering serpent. Hence, why it’s called the “snake”


When PITTA dominates, the middle finger will feel the pulse the most. It will feel active and excited, jumpy like its name, the “frog”.


When KAPHA is the predominant dosha, the throbbing of the pulse will be most noticeable under the ring finger. The pulse will feel strong and resemble a swan. It is therefore called the “swan”.

The Meridians & The Basic Five Elements

Not only can you determine one’s human constitutions by the pulse, but by examining superficial and deep pulsations, you can also reveal something about important meridians that are connected to pranic (currents of energy in the body). These currents flow through the blood to the major organs of the body such as the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain.

Each finger in your hand rests on a meridian of the element that correlates with a dosha. For instance, the index finger is connected to VATA, and therefore detects AIR and the lungs. The middle finger, PITTA, detects FIRE and the intestines, while the ring finger relates to WATER and the kidneys.

The amount of pressure you place with each finger, whether superficial (light pressure) or deep, former pressure, can tell you about different organs…


Superficial pressure on RIGHT wrist = activity of large intestine.

Deep pressure on RIGHT = lungs.

If throbbing is felt when the index finger is applied superficially on RIGHT, then VATA is aggregated in the large intestine. If the deep pulse is strong on RIGHT, the lungs are congested.

Superficial pressure on LEFT = small intestine.

Deep pressure on LEFT = heart


Superficial on RIGHT = gallbladder

Deep pressure on RIGHT = liver

Superficial on LEFT = stomach

Deep pressure on LEFT = spleen


Superficial on RIGHT = pericardium (outer covering of heart)

Deep on RIGHT = harmonious relationship of VATA-PITTA-KAPHA

Superficial on LEFT = bladder

Deep pressure on LEFT = kidneys

*by taking your pulse various times throughout the day including when you’re hungry, have to urinate and when you feel angry can help you become an expert at knowing your pulse and your own body.


The tongue is the organ for taste and speech. By observing the size, shape, color, contour and surface, one can reveal what is happening in the body. For instance, if the tongue is pale, one would be anemic or have lack of blood in their body. If it’s yellow, there is excess bile in the gallbladder or there is disorder in the liver. It’s it’s blue, there is a defect in the heart.

As seen in the picture below, each part of the tongue is related to different organs in the body. If there are discolorations or elevations, the organs that correlate with that section have defects.

*This is a mirror image

In addition, derangements of the doshas can also be determined by appearance. For example…

White tongue = KAPHA & mucus accumulation

Red or yellow/green = PITTA

Black to brown = VATA


The face is a mirror to the mind. The lines and wrinkles reveal disorder and disease.

Horizontal lines in the forehead= deep worries and anxieties.

Vertical lines between the brows on right = repressed emotions in the liver.

Puffiness under eyes = kidney impairment

Discoloration below kidney region or nose = body is not absorbing iron or folic acid. Metabolism isn’t working correctly. Excess excess

VATA = flat or sunken cheeks, crooked nose

PITTA = sharp nose

KAPHA = plump cheeks, blunt nose

*this is the only diagram NOT from The Science Of Self Healing. It contained much more information I thought everyone would appreciate.


Just as with other features of the body, examining the lips, their color, shape, size, contour and surface, can also reveal disease and disorders in the body. P assuage sugar

VATA = lips are thin and dry

PITTA = red lips

KAPHA = thick and oily

Pale = dehydration, anemia, VATA derangement

Dryness & tremors = nervousness & fears

Blackish & brown= result from

Inflamed patches = herpes, PITTA derangements

Brown spots = poor digestion or worms in colon

Yellow color = jaundice

Blue color = heart disease, lack of oxygen

Discoloration of certain areas of the lips indicate certain derangements in the correlating organs, as seen below:

*this is a mirror image


According to Ayurveda, the nails are a waste product of the bones. By examining the size, shape, surface, flexibility, and texture of the nails, one can determine illness in the body.

VATA = dry, crooked, rough, break easily.

PITTA = soft, pink, tender, easily bent, slightly glistening

KAPHA = thick, strong, very shiny, uniform contour

Longitude line = malabsorption in digestive systems

Transverse grooves = long standing illness, defective nutrition

Convex & bulbous = delicate lungs & heart

Concave = iron deficiency

White spots = calcium or zinc deficiency

Pale nails = anemia

Redness = excess red blood cells

Yellow = delicate liver or jaundice

Blue = weak heart/ cardiac failure

Each finger and thumb corresponds to a different organ in the body.

The thumbnail = brain and skull.

The index =lungs

The middle finger = small intestine

The ring finger = kidneys

The pinky = heart

White spots on ring finger = calcium deposit in the kidneys

White spot on middle = unabsorbed calcium in the intestines

White spots on index indicates calcium in lungs


According to Ayurveda, the eyes get their energy from the basic fire element. The fiery energy in the retina results in sensitivity to light. People with PITTA constitution who naturally have fire alreadyare usually overly sensitive to light.

VATA = small, blink frequently

PITTA = lustrous, sensitive to light whites, tends to be nearsighted

KAPHA = beautiful & attractive eyes

Below are traits of the eyes, and what they determine is happening within the body:

Excessive blinking = nervousness, anxiety or fear

Drooping under eyelid = insecurity, lack of confidence, deranged VATA

Prominent = distinction of thyroid

Small iris = weak joints

If conjunctiva is pale = anemia

If conjunctiva is yellow = liver issues

White rings around iris = excess salt or sugar

Prominent whites = degeneration in joints. Arthritis is likely.

Brown and black spots = unabsorbed iron in intestine.

I hope you have been inspired, and feel prepared to recognize illness by simply looking at your own body!

XOX, Sar

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Sari Marissa aka Fab Philly Mom is passionate about sharing her travels and the fun she has in her city with her supportive husband and two super adventurous little girls.

Sari has traveled to 48 states, 36 National Parks, 25 countries, and 4 far!

Sari is a very proud Yoga Alliance Certified 200hr yoga teacher, was named Yelp’s Top Reviewer in Philly, and co-founded Philadelphia’s first official Challah For Hunger chapter.

Sari is currently enrolled in a leadership
program through Women’s Philanthropy, in association with Jewish Federation of Philadelphia. She cannot wait to implement her gained knowledge and chair more of their events in the future.

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