Ayurvedic Nail Analysis: What Your Nails Are Pointing To About Your Health
According to Ayurveda, the color and texture of your nails can be an indicator of your overall well-being. Ayurveda uses a comprehensive multi-point assessment with clients. Tongue is one example, nails (Nakha Pariskha) is another. Tongue, nails, skin, hair, voice, and so forth, are external observable qualities that may indicate issues and conditions occurring inside the body and mind.
What do hair, nails, and bones have in common, according to Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, hair and nails derive from the same source, bones. They are considered the left-over products of the bone formation process. (ashti dhatu) They are considered malas, or body waste. Now that’s something to wrap your head around, thinking of your hair as waste. As with all bodily waste, hair and nails are important indicators of overall health. The quality and quantity of our wastes such as stool, urine, sweat, nails, and hair are assessed in the Ayurvedic approach to healing.
By assessing the nails, you can proactively address health issues early on — as opposed to waiting until your symptoms become conditions and diseases. Nails are only one assessment point, so a comprehensive Ayurvedic consultation is needed to provide proper guidance on herbal remedies, Ayurvedic diet, and lifestyle choices.
Now, let’s explore what your nails are pointing to.
Possible imbalances determined by nail analysis:
- Bone health
- Lung issues
- Heart conditions
- Digestive issues
- Parasitic and other infections
- Skin conditions
- Autoimmune conditions
- Thyroid function
- Liver concerns
- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha imbalances
Nails provide an indication of your constitution (prakruti) and your current condition (vikruti). Your nails also point to the state of Vata dosha, Pitta dosha, and Kapha dosha.
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Characteristics in Nails
- Vata Dosha: thin, breaks easily, peels, dry, rough cuticles, nail biting (anxiety), low to no moons indicating weak digestive fire.
- Pitta Dosha: pink, oily, larger moons, smooth, shiny, flexible
- Kapha Dosha: thick, strong, well lubricated, low to no moons due to sluggish digestion and metabolism
To learn more about the three doshas and their impact on your life, click here.
How to Conduct a Nail Assessment with Ayurveda
As opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach, Ayurveda recommends assessing your unique constitution (prakruti) and what is currently going for you (vikruti), to nail down what is occurring with one’s health.
Take a moment to assess your nails:
- Have clean hands with no nail polish
- Sit in good light
- Grab a pair of reading glasses or magnifying glass if you need
- Slide your index fingertip over the nails, feeling for lines, ridges, spoons, pitting
- Notice the color the nail bed as well as the surrounding skin
- Use our graphic above to further focus your assessment
This simple practice may help you uncover warning signs your body is sending you and address them early on. The sooner dosha imbalances of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are addressed, the better.
Tips for Your Nails
To support healthy nails nourishing bone (asthi dhatu) is key. Turmeric milk, dairy, sesame seeds, dark leafy cooked greens, pepitas, and almonds are all nourishing to bone tissues. Soak your fingertips in olive oil. Rest them in warmed olive oil for about 15 minutes while you do some diaphragmatic breathing. Then, wash in lukewarm water.
Herbal remedies, such as amla, guggulu and bhringaraj are supportive, but herbs need to fit one’s overall dosha picture, so best to consult a seasoned Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner.
What are the Adrenal Glands?
There was a time, not too long ago, when people did not talk about their adrenal glands. Can you imagine? Today, people have both interest in and concerns about their adrenal glands. Why? People are tired, exhausted, at the end of their tether. They feel older than they are, flat as a pancake, and at a loss as to what happened to their enthusiasm, motivation, and vitality. In a nutshell, chronic stress.
So, let’s begin with a basic understanding of the adrenal glands. The main purpose of the adrenal glands is to protect us from stress. These powerhouses, in addition to regulating blood pressure and sugar, regulate the hormones that influence our flight fight response. So, today, we are aware of adrenal glands, and we talk about adrenal fatigue in casual conversations. WOW! That says a lot, doesn’t it? Life today is stressful and anxiety-provoking, and that stress leads to depletion, exhaustion, and burnout. To regain balance and maintain balance, most of us benefit from a comprehensive yet manageable Ayurveda plan.
What Are Your Nails Pointing to About Your Adrenal Health?
Get yourself into some good lighting again, and let’s examine the nails. In our article, Ayurvedic Nail Analysis: What Your Nails Are Pointing to About Your Health, we talked about nail biting as a sign, acute or chronic, of high Vata dosha– of stress, anxiety, worry, and fear. It’s a cycle that needs disruption as anxiety affects adrenals, and in turn, adrenals affect anxiety.
How do we begin to shift that cycle? In a word, breath. Yes, breath is the vehicle that connects the body and mind. Diaphragmatic breathing calms the flight fight and shifts us into rest, relax and restore. Follow our guided practices, 11 minutes twice a day, and you will begin to feel calmer and grounded–more like you. Give it 40 days of consistent use, and the baseline of stress shifts and diaphragmatic breathing will drop that stress level within minutes. Go ahead and try it and see for yourself. One of the many things assessed during our consultations is the nails. Each finger corresponds to one of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether). Take a close look at your ring fingers as it corresponds to the element of water, which naturally relates to the kidneys (no surprise there, right? Think of urination) and the adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys.
What do you notice about the nails on the ring fingers? Look at it compared to the other nails. Are there lines? Ridges? White spots? Does that finger move more than the others?
If you see differences, it may mean your adrenal glands are working too hard, and it is time to take care with a comprehensive yet customized Ayurveda plan that integrates into your life. If you see differences in the nails, feel stressed, exhausted, burnt out, have a poor sleep, digestive issues, and just don’t feel like yourself anymore, you should think about taking action.
Holistic Wellness Tools and Natural Remedies for Healthy Nails
Ayurvedic diet, herbal remedies, diaphragmatic breathing, panchakarma, Ayurvedic cleanses, and guided practices all go a long way to balance Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha.
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