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450 Am J Psychiatry 157:3, March 2000 Images in Psychiatry Diagnosing Mental Illnesses by Pulse Examination in Ancient India O ne of the earliest descriptions of mental illnesses is found in Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine that originated in India. The word “ Ayurveda ” comes from two Sanskrit words: Ayur , mean- ing life, and Veda , meaning knowledge. The Ayurvedic physician diagnosed illnesses by identifying three irreducible physiological principles called “doshas” through palpa- tion of the radial pulse. Doshas were conceptualized as bodily ener- gies that would signify a state of health when in harmony with each other but would lead to a disorder in body or mind when imbal- anced. Three doshas were identified: kapha, pitta, and vata. Each dosha had a distinct location on the radial pulse, and each was sup- posed to have a different tactile vibratory quality. Just below the ra- dial stylus, the index finger of the physician would be placed over the vata pulse, the middle finger over the pitta pulse, and the ring finger
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course PSYCH SY BEH 102 taught by Professor Raymondw.novaco during the Spring '10 term at UC Irvine.

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