Ayurveda, which is gaining popularity as the alternative system of medicine makes use of five kinds of tools for evaluation of illness in patients. These five tools are jointly called as pancha nidana. Here, the term ‘pancha’ is something that denotes the number five, while the term ‘nidana’ denotes ‘diagnostic methods’. These five tools are cause, fundamental signs, symptoms, exploratory methods and disease development. Each of these have their own ayurvedic terms namely nidana, purva rupa, rupa, upashaya and samprapti respectively.
The Pancha Nidana is based on the idea that a single causative factor can create a number of different diseases. For instance, when there is an increase in the level of vata dosha in the human body, it will lead to 80 different kinds of health issues. So, understanding the cause alone is not enough and it is important to understand the different types of illnesses. In this example, it is important to understand the different types of vata. Ayurvedic professionals state that simple application of vata relieving techniques will not help the patient in getting a relief and it is crucial to procure information about the kind of dosha, systems and tissues involved and body channels. So, a permanent cure cannot be provided if these factors are not understood by the practitioner. Here is an explanation on the 5 different diagnostic procedures followed in this system of medicine:
This is the factor causing the illness in patients. Lifestyle, diet and other external factors that cause the illness are considered nidana. When the triggers are identified, they can be avoided to stay away from the illness again and again. In ayurveda, understanding the triggers and avoidance of triggers are generally, the initial routes to recovery.
This includes the preliminary symptoms associated with the health issue. These indications appear even before the onset of the illness. Ayurveda identifies that each disease has some sort of initial symptoms. When there is confusion due to the similarity of symptoms for two or more similar conditions, purva rupas should be considered.
This is the actual manifestation or onset process of the disease. At this stage, the disease will have visible symptoms as against the previous type. The symptoms falling under this category can be identified as advanced stage of the warning signs. The number of symptoms and their severity will provide the doctor with the physical impacts and indications. With these symptoms, the doctor will also identify the time that may be taken by the condition for cure.
There are some conditions with similar early signs and symptoms. For instance, those related to fever will be common for pneumonia, typhoid and malaria. Earlier, modern techniques of identifying the health issues were not available and so health care providers were using a method, wherein elimination of the chances of a particular disease is done through diet, physical therapies and herbal remedies.
At this stage, the doctor will identify the route of disease manifestation, which will help in complete identification of cause and doshas involved, so that appropriate treatment can be provided.