Some siddha clinics: outside and inside
Keralese cottages within of a siddha hospital built for patients who wish to receive pancakarma treatment. This treatment, specific to ayuvedic medicine, is sometimes practised in clinics located near Kerala or by practitioners who expect to attract rich clientele.
In certain clinics, even in those which have a good attendance, there is no distinction between consultation and waiting rooms.
In principle, the pulse reading varies according to the gender: for women, the pulse is
read on the left wrist; for men, on the right wrist. In fact, for the both genders, the two wrists
are generally read. According to the recommendations given in the cittar texts (nati suttiram), the
pulse must be read early morning, before eight o’clock and before eating. Nevertheless, it is very
rare when this rule is followed, and that, all the more that the consultation hours of siddha clinic
tend to imitate those of biomedicine.
The pulse reading varies considerably from practitioners to another.
Some read it with very meticulous care, while others just put their fingers on the wrists in a symbolic gesture. Those who have confidence in pulse reading, affirm that, through this diagnosis, they can detect all the diseases of the patient, present as well as old ones.
This is a diagnostic method called nirkkuri. It consists to observe the aspect of a drop of gingelly oil put on the surface of the urine freshly collected. The diffusion of the oil on the surface of the urine and its ability to float, the colour of the urine and its turbidity determine the category of diseases: vata, pitta, kapa, urinary calculi etc.
The pulse reading tends to be replaced by the sphygmomanometer. This instrument is quite often present in the consultation room. The siddha practitioners tend to justify its presence by the request of patients. It is difficult to know if this situation results from the patients or from siddha practitioners, but very certainly from the both, the presence of this instrument on the desk encouraging the request of patients.
Some siddha practitioners have a speciality. This woman treats the diseases of children and women. She learnt her knowledge from her parents who both practised this speciality. She is transmitting her knowledge to her daughter-in-law that she selected to his son according to the necessary qualities to become a good siddha practitioner.
This traditional practitioner is specialized in varma, and thus, he is consulted for rheumatism and join pains, fracture and dislocations, accidents, paralysis, osteopathy, etc. His wife is also a siddha doctor, but trained in a college.
Certain siddha practitioners employ at part time in their hospital a physician of biomedicine.