Abhyangam is the application of medicated oil on head and body followed by a gentle body massage by a trained therapist. Abhyangam is carried out as a single treatment and is used as a preparation for or along with other major treatments. The physician/consultant will decide the suitability of the individual for this treatment and also the oil appropriate for him/her. Abhyangam benefits the body in many ways. It helps tones up the body, helps promote sound sleep, is soothing to the eyes, helps enhance the texture and smoothness of the skin and is helpful in alleviating many vata problems.
Pichu is an external oil application, superior to Abhyangam in potency. Medicated oil is warmed and applied on the afflicted portions of the body with cotton pads. Warm oil is then periodically poured over the cotton pad kept over the afflicted part. Pichu is done only on affected body parts like head, lower back etc. It is done as a major treatment and a simplified version of it is done along with other oil treatments like Abhyangam.
Pizhichil is the process where cotton cloth pieces are dipped in warm medicated oil and squeezed onto the patient’s body continuously. This is one of those treatments that fall under Keraleeya Chikitsa as the practical aspects of this treatment have been developed and practiced widely by the traditional Ayurvedic practitioners of Kerala. The whole body of the patient is applied with warm oil and massaged. Trained masseurs soak cloth pieces in warm specially selected medicated oil and pour it in a uniform manner by squeezing the cloth pieces in such a way that the oil drips with unvarying pressure and temperature over the patient’s body. Continuous massage is also kept up. This process is conducted for a stipulated period of time with the patient lying in seven different positions. This is the method of choice for alleviation of pain and could be of immense help in relieving symptoms such as low back ache, neck and shoulder stiffness and other muscular and joint pains. The process may also be carried out using a special bronze jug instead of cotton cloth pieces.
Thakradhara involves pouring of medicated buttermilk on the forehead. Warm medicated oil is applied all over the body in the beginning of the treatment. Buttermilk for this treatment is specially prepared with decoctions of certain herbal combinations. This is found to give much relief in symptoms related to the skin. It improves quality of sleep and helps reduce hair fall. It is soothing, relaxing and helps one calm down. It is cooling for the body and eyes.
Sirovasti is considered the most effective mode of external oil application. Sirovasti is the technique in which warm medicated oil is kept on the head using a special cap. The oil is allowed to stay in the cap for 30 to 45 minutes. The temperature of the oil is maintained to a comfortable warmth during the procedure, after which it is taken off and the head wiped off with a towel. A herbal powder is applied on the crown of the head at the end of the treatment.
Kizhi is meant to induce perspiration. Warm poultices made of herbal powder, leaf or a special variety of rice are applied onto the patient’s body. Warm oil is applied all over the body before beginning the treatment.
In Podi Kizhi, fomentation is carried out with the help of medicinal powders tied into a pouch. After applying oil on the body and giving a massage, the bundle/pouch is warmed in a pan with oil and pounded gently on the body for a period of 45 to 60 minutes.
In Elakizhi, instead of herbal powders, herbal leaves are used and the procedure is similar to Podikizhi. As in the previous procedure, the pouches containing the herbal leaves are warmed and massaged onto the body by trained therapists for a stipulated period of 45 to 60 minutes, gently inducing perspiration.
In Navarakizhi, navara rice is boiled and cooked in the mixture of milk and herbal decoction. This is packed in cloth and tied into a pouch. This pouch is dipped in a warm mixture of herbal decoction and milk and is applied over the body. This is a popular Keraleeya Panchakarma treatment procedure widely practiced by Ayurvedic practitioners of Kerala. This is carried out by trained therapists for 45 to 60 minutes and requires the person to lie in seven different postures.
In Swedana, Steam chamber is used for this procedure. Oil is applied all over the body and the patient is made to sit in the chamber for a short time where steam emanates from a boiling herbal decoction. This treatment needs constant monitoring.
In Kateevasthi, a two- inch high boundary is created with black gram dough around the lower lumbar region. The oil is maintained warm throughout the procedure. It lubricates the joint and relieves the pain and stiffness.
Nasyam is a nasal treatment with medicated nasal drops. It is done after mild steaming/ fomentation on the face. It is done for relieving nasal congestion. It is one of the “panchakarma” treatments for purification.
In Thalapothichil, treatment is done on the head with medicinal paste made from prescribed herbs. After oil application, it is applied all over the scalp and covered with medicinal leaf. This treatment is calming in its nature and helps to improve the quality of sleep.
Udwarthanam is the process of massaging with warm medicated powder. The massaging here is in the opposite direction to the run of the hair-follicles. The required powder is warmed and gently rubbed on to the body with massage opposite to the run of the hair-follicles as stated. This procedure is adopted mainly to tackle conditions of Kapha, Meda vitiation and for controlling body weight.
The process of massage where milk, preferably as soon as it is milked form the cow or medicated with certain herbs, is allowed to fall in a regular stream is called Ksheera Dhara. When done on the head, it helps relieve tension and aids promote the quality of sleep. It can also be done locally on an affected joint, for instance, to help alleviate burning sensation or pain.
Janu refers to the knee. In Januvasthi, suitable medicated oils is allowed to stand over the affected knee for a specific period of time. A circular ridge with black-gram flour and water, is made over the affected knee to act as an enclosure in which carefully selected oil is warmed and allowed to stand for a specific time interval.
Greeva, means “the neck”. In cases where topical application of heat is required to be applied on the neck region, greevavasthi would be the desired modality of treatment. Here, the medicated oil is allowed to stand for a stipulated period of time over the nape of the neck in a bound enclosure made with black gram flour mixed with water. This would be an ideal tool which would help relieve neck strain and would help mitigate pain.
Njavara is a certain kind of brown rice cultivated in many parts of Kerala mainly for its medicinal value. The njavara rice is powdered and boiled in milk to bring it to a paste-like form. After applying appropriate oil onto the body and massaging for a few minutes, this paste is applied gently on the patient. The procedure, called Njavaratheppu, is usually done for seven days or multiples thereof.
Thalam is a simplified form of application of medicated oil, mostly along with an appropriate powder mixed with it, on the vertex of the head. The paste, which may be warmed before application, is allowed to remain in place for a period of time before being wiped off. Appropriate medicinal powders may then be rubbed on the vertex.
Padabhyangam is the process of massaging the feet. When properly done, this process is seen to help in cases of muscle cramps, fatigue, aches and pains of the feet.
Steady flow of medicated oil on the forehead from a special vessel at a stipulated height.
In Dhanyamladhara, the massage is followed by pouring of a special warm medicated liquid called dhanyamla. Suitable utensils with a narrow mouth or nozzle are used to ensure smooth fall of the liquid onto the patient lying on the droni.
Karna means the ear and purana means to fill. Therefore, the filling the external ear i.e., the ear canal, with medicated oil is Karnapuranam.
The process of massage of the head is called Sirobhyangam. The head being the seat of the sense organs and vital force or prana, Ayurveda gives lot of importance the head region. Massaging the head with appropriate Ayurvedic oils would help promote the quality of sleep and go a long way in reducing tension. Head massage by trained masseurs is really a very relaxing experience.
Sekam is an important therapeutic massage in Ayurveda where along with gentle massage luke-warm oil is made to fall in a continuous stream onto the body for a specified period of time. Cloth pieces dipped in oil is squeezed to drip in a constant stream on the patient lying down in a special table called “droni” from an approximate height of 7-9 inches. Oil-drip and massage is maintained with the patient in seven different positions. Sekam when done on the whole body is called kayaseka or sarvanga seka. It can also be done on a particular region alone (Ekanga seka) or on the head region alone (Sira seka or urdhwanga seka).
Other treatments available at our centre are Urovasthi, Upanahaswedam, Gandoosham, Khseeradhoomam & more.