Ayurveda is all about the science of holistic healing and is a comprehensive plan to achieve the perfect health for all people. Although Ayurveda originated thousands of years ago, it has an important place in the scientific world as well.
Kerala has also played a vital role in keeping alive the magic of Ayurveda. Ayurveda health packages are an integral part of tourism activities conducted in this state.
Another aspect of the important role of Ayurveda in Kerala is that it has a favorable climate and wealth of resources that is the perfect destination for a relaxing massage. Ayurveda and other traditional measures of Ayurveda are available here in abundance.
Types Of Ayurveda Therapeutic Treatment
It has been found that there are no adequate treatment systems available in allopathic medicine for diseases like arthritis, Frozen Shoulder, Stress, Strain, Spondylitis, lumbago, Sciatica, Slip Disc, etc.
But there are a variety of proven results and procedures found in Ayurveda such as Elakizhi, Abhayangam, Pizhichil, Sirodhara, Njavarakishi, etc, to address all these problems.
1. Pizhichil Massage Therapy
Pizhichil is a relaxing rejuvenating and soothing treatment. ‘Pizhichil’ literally means ‘squeeze’ in which warm medicated oil is pressed onto the patient’s whole body (head and neck) continuously from a piece of fabric that periodically is immersed in a vessel containing the oil.
Pizhichil requires a smaller amount of oil when compared to Sarvangadhara. In Sarvangadhara, oil is poured over the patient’s body from pitchers. Before Pizhichil, a suitable type of oil should be applied to the head and body of the patient. In some cases, a Talam is also applied to the head bandaged with leaves.
Pizhichil is effectively used to treat aging, arthritis, paralysis, general weakness; etc ‘Pizhichil’ and ‘Sarvangadhara’ are technically the same.
2. Njavarakizhi Massage Therapy
Kizhi or so-called Njavarakizhi is another Ayurvedic massage therapy in which Boluses of njavara (The rice is often powdered and then mixed with herbs) which is boiled medicated and wrapped in handmade cotton bags.
Kizhi is like a bag made of cloth, in which wrapping is done to keep the remedies safe. In this massage program, there can be two or four masseurs applying kizhi onto the whole body of the person.
Through this massage, the body of the person transpires and provides direct nourishment to the soft tissue close to the skin. This therapy can last up to an hour and is continued for 14 days.
This massage therapy is for people, who suffer from joint pains, rheumatism, underdeveloped members, Weakness, Bad cholesterol, and certain skin disorders who may benefit from it.
3. Sirodhara Massage Therapy
Sirodhara is a unique massage therapy in which specific medicated oils are used to bathe the head in a regular stream for a specified period. In this massage program, a bit of oil is applied to the patient crown according to the doshas condition.
This is a prerequisite in almost every oil massage therapy. In this therapy, a headband (Vartti) is tied just above the ear level to prevent medicated oil from flowing into your eyes.
The patient is then made to lie on his back in his head resting on droni (traditional massage table made from woods such as bilva, sandalwood, khadira, and arjuna. )
Properly, the head is position in such a way that the steaming from the container falls on the center of the forehead. The container is filled with the oil, it trickles down and wick begins to fall on the patient’s forehead.
The massager moves the vessel forward and back gently to make sure the oil covers the entire region between the temples he gently massages the area with the other hand.
The duration of a Dhara (flow) is generally between 25 and 75 minutes. If the disease is severe, it may take more time. A dhara is generally good for the disease caused due to a disorder of Tridosha.
The ingredients used are tender coconut water milk, Herbal oil, ghee, dhanyamlam (it is a mixture of citrus fruits and cereals) or buttermilk can are also used for various types of dharas.
When the medicated butter is replaced with medicated oil the therapy is known as Takradhara. And if medicated milk is used instead of medicated oil, then the process is known as Ksheeradhara.
Treatment is indicated for insanity and is an effective therapy for mental relaxation, sinusitis, insomnia, stress, depression, decreased mental alertness, chronic cold, and diseases related to eyes, ears, etc.
4. Shirovasthi Massage Therapy
Shirovasthi is the process by which medicated oil is kept in the head for a specific period of time. In the therapy, the oil is prepared from ghee, common milk, gingerly oil, Staff Tree, castor oil, and common herbs such as the bullet, winter cherry, castor plant, black gram, bacopa, etc.
There are specific ways and methods in which herbs and oils are boiled in order to extract medicinal properties completely from them. The prepared medicated oil is poured at tolerable heat carefully on a fixed elongated leather cap around the head of the person.
The oil is retained on the head for about 30-45 minutes depending on the tolerance level of the person. This is done with the patient sitting in a comfortable chair. During this process, the therapeutic properties of medicinal oil act on the brain and tune the person’s central and autonomic nervous system.
In this therapy, the brain, peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and sympathetic nerves are affected by medicinal oil. This way various nervous disorders and minds get repaired relieved from conflict and stress. Typically, the physician gives a 7 or 14 days treatment course that varies depending on the patient’s condition and the type of disease.
This is an effective treatment for many diseases related to the head, face, and central nervous system. Shirovasthi is ideal for facial paralysis, migraine, memory loss, mental stress, headache, insomnia, dry nose, dry eyes, and cervical spondylosis.
5. Abhyangam Massage Therapy
The word Abhyangam itself means massage it is a popular body massage in Ayurveda. The massage is done on the whole body with specific implications to the 107 vital points (marma) of the body.
Because of its effective way of conditioning the body the Abhyangam massage has become popular nowadays. Abhyangam can be used therapeutically and is designed around each individual, to suit your illness or condition.
Generally, Ayurvedic physicians look at the condition of the patient then decide on which appropriate oils and the exact way should be used for massage.
This is an effective treatment that can increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies that provide greater resistance against viruses and various diseases.
It helps defense mechanisms in the body and increases immunity power against various environmental changes. Thus Abhyangam massage is a protector, conservative, and rejuvenator, increasing self-confidence and willpower.
6. Elakizhi Massage Therapy
Elakizhiis or Elakizhi is an innovative classical massage therapy in which medicated leaves are used to tackle muscle cramps, stress, joint pain, and arthritis. In this treatment, herbal leaves are applied to the whole body with warm medicated oils.
This treatment therapy is also known by the name “Patrawedam”. Herbal poultices (bundles) are prepared with the use of various herbs and medicated powders.
The poultices are warmed in medicated oils and are used to massage the entire body such as the shoulder, neck, hands, and back, shifting the person from one side to the side. The herbs like calotropis Gigantia, Ricinus drum stick, and tamarinds are some of the herbal leaves used for therapy.
The leaves are fried together in castor oil or neem oil to obtain a brown color. The pieces of Lemon and coconut scapes are also added to it. They are bound in cloth boluses and dipped in medicated oil to massage the body. When the process is complete, the patient is given a bath in moderately warm water.
The massage can promote better circulation in the affected area thereby promoting increasing perspiration, which helps the skin to remove debris. It is extremely relaxing also helps to tone the skin; it is very effective in improving the strength of muscles, pain relief, and healing the body of diseases such as arthritis and paralysis.
The above all treatments are available in Kerala.It is offered in different combinations according to the body type of person under physician’s direction. Each of these combinations give a curative and rejuvenating effect.It is being subjected for specific time periods and are repeated at defined interval as per severity.