The Three Means of Gaining Knowledge: How An Ayurvedic Practitioner Determines Your State of Health


“The three most basic means of gaining information about a patient is to utilize touch (sparshanam), to observe the patient (darshanam), and to question the patient (prasnam). 


Practitioners of Ayurveda touch their patients as a means of gaining information. Examples include touching the skin for how rough or smooth it is, the bones for how thick or thin they are, and the fibers of the hair for how coarse or fine they may be. 


Observation is also very important. Observation emphasizes visual clues. However, the use of the other senses to gather information is also important. Examples of information gained through observation include the nature of facial characteristics, the nature of any lesions present, and the overall body shape. Observations through other senses may include odor given off by the patient and the tone of the voice. 


Questioning the patient helps the practitioner obtain additional information about what they observe as well as indicators of the cause of the condition. By asking questions about digestion, menstrual patterns, sleep patterns and emotional tendencies, and by asking questions about the nature of the symptoms a person presents with, a pattern begins to emerge that reveals the balance of the doshic energies. 

The investigation does not end there, however. A good investigator also looks for clues that do not come from the client’s subjective response to questions. An investigator must also look for clues that come from his own objective means of analysis. This is the process of examination. Through observing the tongue, reading the pulse, feeling the skin, bones and hair of the patient, objective information is received that is added into the total picture.” ~ Excerpt from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda