One of the beautiful aspects of journeying on the path of Ayurveda is that you can participate in your own healing.
Clinical examination in Ayurveda consists of an eight-fold process. This is called ashtavidha pariksha. Some of the eight components involve examining your physical form, especially the face, nails, and tongue.
Facial examination is called akruti pariksha, or studying a person’s form. Each part of your face correlates to a specific organ. Your face is a storybook that tells the tale of your health. In Ayurvedic facial assessment, it’s easy to see where there may be deficiency or stress on a particular organ. Areas that are red or inflamed can indicate a pitta imbalance in the corresponding organ. Dryness can indicate a vata imbalance, whereas puffiness or swelling shows a kapha imbalance.
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys, so the kidneys and the adrenals work together. The word “adrenal” comes from the Latin “ad renes” which means “near the kidneys.” The function of the adrenals is to protect you from stress. They regulate hormones that control your “fight-or-flight” response. The adrenal glands also help in balancing our blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The kidneys help filter waste products from our body. They transport wastes and extra water from the blood to form urine.
People who have kidney disease or adrenal fatigue can exhibit similar signs and symptoms for both ailments.
If your lower eyelids are quite puffy, this can indicate that your kidney and adrenal functions are obstructed.
Now, look at your lips. The outermost edges of your lips also relate to the kidneys. If your lips are very dry and cracked there, it may indicate vata imbalance in the adrenals. Are you drinking enough water? If the outer ridges of your lips are extra plump and oily, then there may be a kapha imbalance in the adrenals. This means that your body is unable to process all the fluids that it receives. If you experience tremors or ticks in the outer parts of your lips, then it can indicate a great deal of anxiety. Anxiety is classified as a vata imbalance.
Ayurveda explains that each organ is also connected to a particular emotion. The kidneys and adrenals are the seat of anxiety. Often people who are anxious and suffer from a great deal of stress have issues with their bladder and may need to urinate excessively or, alternately, they may not be drinking enough water because they forget to do so.
Next, take a look at your nails. Do you tend to bite your nails? This may be a sign of nervousness and anxiety. The nervousness will stress the kidneys and adrenals, and vice versa.
Each finger also corresponds to a certain element. The ring finger is associated with the water element. The organ relating to water is the kidneys, and thus the adrenals. Examine your ring finger in comparison to your other fingers and thumb. If that finger has the most lines and ridges, then it is likely that your adrenals are working under stress.
Another part of ashtavidha pariksha is tongue diagnosis, or jhiva pariksha. Each part of the tongue corresponds to a particular organ. The sides at the very back of the tongue are the right and the left kidneys. Stick out your tongue and see if there is extra coating, redness, or cracking in those areas in relation to the rest of the tongue. If so, there may be a kidney or adrenal imbalance.
Here are some simple tips to strengthen the adrenals:
- Follow a regular spiritual practice to help you better manage stress, i.e. meditation.
- Drink a tea made with equal parts cumin, coriander, and fennel powder steeped in 1 cup of hot water.
- Practice alternate nostril breathing to calm your mind.
- Take a cup of warm milk at night with ½ teaspoon of ashwagandha powder.
- Do an abhyanga, or oil massage, with ashwagandha bala oil before a warm shower.
If your facial features, nails, and tongue are all telling the same story, then there are confluent factors that can point to adrenal fatigue or distress. You may wish to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner whose guidance can help put you back on the road to health.