Treatments & Procedures (A-Z)
The word 'abhyanga' itself means ‘to massage’. Special type of oil massage in which strokes are given according to the needs for about 45 minutes.
Abhyanga is done with a combination of specially prepared Ayurvedic herbal oils and applied all over the body stimulating the vital points. This is very good for the general health of the skin and prevents early aging and relieves muscular aches and pain. Massage also makes the skin smooth and makes it shine. Persons, who take a massage regularly, recover from injuries faster. Those who regularly massage experience the process of healing immediately and they face comparatively less pain.
After the massage herbal steam bath is also given. Abhyangam can increase the production of white blood corpuscles and antibodies, which provide more resistance against viruses and diseases. This helps the defense mechanism in the body and increases immunity towards environmental changes.
In this way abhyangam massage is a protector, preserver and a rejuvenator, increasing self-confidence and will power. To massage is to exercise the nervous system. The patient reclines in seven standard positions. This begins with the person seated in an upright position, supine or flat on the back, turning to the right side, supine again, turning to the left side, supine once again, and finally sitting as in the beginning. Sometimes the position of lying face down is also adopted.
An immensely detoxifying steam therapy using hand formulated herbs which are infused into your private steam chamber, allowing the body to cleanse, purify and release toxins. This leaves you with a glowing complexion, ease of muscle tension and a sense of wellbeing.
A short oil application and massage will precede the steam treatment to aid in the release of toxins and is highly beneficial for those looking for a cleansing therapy.
'Patram' and 'lla' means 'leaf'. 'Kizhi' means bundle 'Ilakkizhi' or ' Patrasweda' is a kind of sudation therapy using herbal leaves. Leaves of Arka (Calotropis gigantea), Karanja (Pongamia glabra), Dhatura (Datura metel) and so on are chopped and mixed with grated coconut, mustard and rock salt. The proportion of the ingredients varies according to the symptoms of the disease. The mixture is warmed in a pan smeared with coconut oil and then tied up in linen bundles to be used for fomentation. Prior to fomentation. Oil is applied to the crown. As sudation is the primary aim of fomentation, the kizhi have to be kept at a constant high temperature by warming them every now and then.
In rheumatic pains and associated swelling of the joints, fomentation and massage with Ilakkizhi (bundles containing leaves) bring relief.
The central portion of the body is called 'Kati'. Vasti implies a container. Kativasti is an effective therapy for lower backache or stiffness or pain felt along the back.
A small receptacle of black gram dough is made on the lower back, around the lumbo-scral area. After ensuring that this is leak-proof, lukewarm herbal oil, which alleviates pain and strengthens the bone tissues, is slowly poured into it. The oil and receptacle are removed after about half an hour. The affected area may be gently massaged with same oil. The patient is then advised to take rest for a short while.
For the severe condition of gridrasi (sciatica) and osteo-arthritis of the hip, a disease condition characterized by severe pain radiating down the leg, a combination of shamana (palliative) and shodhana (eliminatory) measures is necessary if a relapse is to be avoided.
Dhara with medicated milk is called Ksheeradhara. Usually cow's milk but sometimes buffalo's milk is used. Decoctions of various herbs are added to the milk. Ksheeradhara my be either for the head alone –Shirodhara. Or for the whole body except the head- Sarvangadhara. A Sravanga Ksheeradhra is usually prescribed for diseases caused by disorders of the Pitta. As a first step, a suitable type of oil is applied on the head. At least three attendants, two to pour the fluid and another to refill the vessels are required. The treatment is conducted while the patient goes through the standard seven positions. A nozzled pitcher is ideal for pouring the milk.
A specialised dosha specific herbal lepa or mask used to cleanse, exfoliate, tone and hydrate the facial skin and bring out the beauty within.
Mainly used in the elimination of vata & kapha related toxins.
In the purvakarma procedure the forehead and neck regions of the patient are gently massaged with suitable oil to induce sweating. During the pradhanakarma warm oil is dripped into the patients nostrils. After the treatment the throat, cheeks & forehead are massaged softly.
Our senses are constantly bombarded on a daily basis by particles and toxins. Although our bodies have a wonderful filtrations system we can still suffer from congestion leading to ailments of the sinus and headaches. Nasya is a traditional treatment for relieving the discomfort associated with head and sinus problems.
A combination of soothing face, head and chest massage with steam treatment. Medicated oils are used to make this therapy an instant relief for sinus problems and congestion as a light steam aids in purification.
This ritual begins with bathing and cleansing the feet. Gentle pressure is applied to restore vital energy using anti-inflammatory oil on the feet and ankles to reduce swelling and relieve tiredness. A superb treat for the feet.
Induction of perspiration by applying heat using heated packs of herbal powder is referred to as podikizhi. Podikizhi is effective in cases involving pain and swelling in the joints.
Depending upon the requirement, whole body below the neck or a part of the body may be treated by this procedure. Abhyangam followed by application of the heat with the warm packs of herbal powder for about 30 to 45 minutes is the method of podikizhi.
This is the post-treatment care which includes the diet & lifestyle regimen.
The 5 elements of the panchakarma are
- Vamana ( emmesis therapy)
- Virechana (purgation therapy)
- Naya( nasal therapy)
- Vasti( enema)
- Raktamokshana ( blood letting)
Panchakarma is performed in 3 stages
- Purvakarma- the body is prepared through snehana( internal & external oleation) for discarding the toxins.
- Snehana or applying oil on the body or taking medicated ghee internally helps to liquefy the amam( toxins) & collect in the koshtas.
- By swedana therapy which is sweating induced by using medicated steam, the srotas( channels) dilate & again facilitate the amam collected at various parts of the body to move toward the alimentary canal.
This process is used where the illness is caused due to the poisoning of blood. The poisonoud blood is let out from the body by using special surgical instruments or with the controlled use of leeches to suck out the impure blood. In this process, oil & sweat therapy is not used.
The focus of this treatment is on the head, neck, and shoulders. Using Ayurvedic oils this massage is performed in a seated position using gentle pressure to ease muscle tension. It is perfect for stressed tired shoulders, those who suffer from headaches and very beneficial for aiding a good night’s sleep.
Shirovasti is considered more of a palliative (Shamana) treatment that an eliminative (Shodhana) one. The treatment is usually preceded by oleation (Sheehan) and sudation (Swedana). In Shirovasti, a leather sleeve six to eight inches high is fastened with a varti (headband) to the head of the patient. The inside of the sleeve is lined with kneaded dough so that the oil does not leak. The patient is asked to sit in an upright position and oil is poured into this sleeve & allowed to remain on the head for a while. The length of time the oil should be kept there is determined by the severity of the disease. Usually it is up to fifty minutes for diseases caused by severe Vata disorders.
This treatment is prescribed for disorders like facial paralysis, cataract, deafness, earache, insomnia and other diseases that afflict the cranial nerves.
'Shiro' in Sanskrit means 'head' and 'dhara' means to 'flow'. So, according to Ayurveda, the flow of oil on the head is known as Shirodhara.
In this treatment, warm oil falls in a continuous flow on the forehead from a pot positioned above the head. The substance used could be medicated oil, buttermilk or some herbal decoction. The individual is made to lie on his back below a pot hung at a specific height.
This rhythm of the flow of oil on the forehead relaxes the mind; releases pent up stress and eliminate toxins. The person experiences a blissful state of total peace and serenity. This treatment lasts for thirty to forty minutes.
Shirodhara is advised for people with mental stress. It acts as a natural and therapeutic cure for all neurological disorders. The simplicity of the therapy cures the disease at the root level and rejuvenates the person. The entire process culminates in the person feeling a profound sense of peace and calm.
This involves fomentation of the body with a bolus of cooked rice. Shastika or particular kind of rice known for its nutritional value, is cooked in milk and a herbal decoction. Four boluses are made of this cooked rice and tied up in linen bags.
The fomentation begins with the patients sitting upright on the droni with legs outstretched. The masseurs on either side perform the fomentation process in an identical manner. The movement of the hands during both fomentation and massage should always be downwards.
In some cases, one of the three supine position may be avoided and the patient is made to lie face down. After the specified duration of treatment, the paste is wiped off with palm leaf scrapers, a suitable type of oil is applied all over the body before the bath.
It is the process of retaining medicated oil or paste over the head with the help of a suitable cap/gauze to provide nourishment to brain cells.
Thalam is the best treatment to cure variety of conditions like insomnia, stress, tension, and different mental conditions.
The stress associated with modern lifestyle has created several problems and thalam is redesigned as an Ayurveda therapy to cure conditions such as lack of memory, inability to concentrate, lack of willpower, etc. It is also a good therapy for general good feeling.
Udwartana means to elevate or to promote. The name can be attributed either to the treatment's ability to improve the body condition or to the upward strokes used in massage here, unlike in other Ayurvedic treatments.
Mainly used in the elimination of vata related toxins.
The purvakarma stage involves oil & sweat therapies. In the pradhanakarma stage, lujkewarm, freshly prepared vasti liquid id injected into the colon via the rectum. This is later discharged from the body along with the toxins.
Mainly used in the elimination of kapha disorders.
In the purvakarma stage, patient goes through oil therapy for 3-7 days. The patient also goes through the medicated sweating process. By the end of this the toxins are all moved into the stomach. During the pradhanakarma stage, the patient is given an emetic which induces vomitting. All the toxins from the stomach are removed this way. In the paschatkarma stage the patient is made to inhale medicated smoke & give complete rest.
Mainly used in the elimination of pitta related toxins.
Purvakarma procedures involving Internal and external oleation followed by therapeutic sweating are essential before virechana. During the pradhanakarma stage the patient is given drugs that stimulate bowel movements & the toxins are removed via the rectum. The patient is made to drink hot water to aid in the process.