(Ref: Ashtanga Hridaya)
The fundamentals of Ayurveda are easily applicable to all eras. The ayurvedic approach of examination is used to determine the root cause of the disease. Acharya Vagbhata has summarised the examination of a patient in a single verse.
‘दर्शनस्पर्शनप्रश्नै: परीक्षेत च रोगिणं | ‘
Darshana (Inspection), Sparshana (Palpation, Percussion), Prashana (Questionnaire) forms the basis of all. All the advanced methods of examination can only be seen as an extension of these three.
- Darshana: It means observation. It begins as soon as the patient enters the clinic. It provides information about build, walk, facial expression, any deformities, skin conditions and much more. The current investigation tools such as X-ray, Endoscopy, microscopic examination, instrumental investigations, other imaging modalities, examination of urine, sweat, stool, sputum can be included under this.
- Sparsana: Palpation helps to infer body temperature, skin texture like roughness, smoothness etc. It also helps to decipher lumps, margins of the swellings, organ enlargements, note the strength, rhythm, speed of pulse, and other information that is not accessible by Darsana.
- Prasna: By interrogation, one can gain the overall picture of the disease and the history of the patient. By history taking we can understand the cause that led to the manifestation of the disease, duration, prodromal symptoms, and other factors that influence the pathogenesis of the disease. It also provides information about the nature of pain, sleep, bowel, likes, and food habits of the patient. Other factors like family history, occupational history, history of past illness, menstrual history, obstetric history in females, treatment history can also be accessed through interrogation in current clinical methods.
A proper examination forms the basis for diagnosis and effective treatment. The primary aim of Ayurvedic diagnosis is to identify the deranged doshas that caused the disease. The Ayurvedic approach advocates a subjective and individualised examination and treatment.