Ayurveda is the health science which guides a person towards a healthy lifestyle and a better holistic close to nature means of curing an ailment that happens due to unhealthy lifestyle, external causes or due to a seasonal or age related variation or a heredity factor or any other causes
Science of Ayurveda defines its purpose as preserving and promoting the health of a healthy person and treating the disease of an ill person. To achieve these purposes two treatment strategies are adopted in Ayurveda as:
Sodhana Chikitsa or Panchakarma or Intensive Detoxification-Purification Therapy
Shamana Chikilsa or Moderate Alleviating Therapy
Panchakarma or Shodhana is performed in three phases as:
Poorvakarma or Preparatory Phase of Sodhana Chikilsa: Sodhana Chikilsa is an intensive in patient management to dislodge the toxic byproducts formed in the body by the judicious application of various customized Snehana-Swedana Karma or Oleation Sudation Therapies like Snehapana or controlled medicated fat ingestion, Abhyangam or massage, Kizhis or medicated poultice massages, Udvartanam or medicated powder massage, Dhara-Pizhichil or oil irrigation etc.
Pradhanakarma or Main Eliminatory Phase of Sodhana Chikitsa The Snehana and Swedana is followed by the main controlled elimination therapy which is meant to eliminate the dislodged toxins through the nearest natural orifice. The Panchakarmas are:
Vamana (Controlled Emesis Therapy): Following Snehana Swedana emetic drugs are administered during early morning systematically to induce controlled vomiting. Milk or warm decoctions are used as media. This is used to treat diseases like chronic asthma, diabetes, chronic cold, lymphatic congestion, chronic indigestion and edema..
Virechana (Controlled Purgation Therapy): Following Snehana-Swedana purgative drugs are administered after sunrise to induce controlled purgation. Warm water is used as medium to prevent colic and dehydration. The therapy is indicated in piles, constipation, acidity, ulcers, liver/ spleen diseases, jaundice, inflammations, skin disorders, headaches, anaemia, chronic ulcers, diabetes, asthma, heart diseases and gynaecological disorders.
Nasyam (Nasal Drops): Following Snehana Swedana decongestant medications in the form of herbal juice or powder or oil are instilled into the nostrils to induce controlled mucus elimination from the sinuses and respiratory tract. Shodhana Nasyam is indicated in headaches, earaches, sinusitis, stroke, neurological disorders, mental disorders, neck problems,
4. Vasthy (Medicated enema therapy): Following Snehana Swedana medicated oil or a combination of oil, honey, rock salt, decoction etc. is administered into the colon through the anal route to induce controlled colonic irrigation. Mainly Basti is useful in the diseases of muscles and bones. The therapy is indicated in Rheumatoid arthritis, Sciatica, Spondylosis. abdominal disorders, retention of flatus, urine or stool, muscle atrophy, dystrophy, hemiplegia, Parkinsonism, Motor Neuron disease, heart problems Angina pectoris, Psychosis, Dry Bronchial Asthma, Dry cough, Hiccough. Menstrual disorders, Infertility, Oligozoospermia, etc.
Rakthamokshanam (Controlled Bloodletting therapy): Following Snehana Swedana bloodletting is done in a controlled manner using various means like a quarantined leech or a vacuum cup or a needle or through venesection. The therapy is indicated in conditions like Skin diseases, Abscess, Elephantiasis, Fibroid, Tumors, Mastitis, Conjunctivitis, Sinusitis, Liver abscess, Bleeding disorders, Varicose Veins, Gonorrhea, Herpes, etc
Precautions for Panchakarma: Panchakarma is an intensive procedure, hence patient evaluation is very important before deciding on the treatment modality. Patient health condition, mental status, disease condition, co-morbidities, age, season and many other related factors are to be seriously evaluated before deciding on Shodhana Chikitsa with Panchakarma
Each procedure has its own contraindications which need to be considered. Continuous medical supervision and monitoring is very important during all the phases of Panchakarma
Paschat Karma (Monitored Post-Procedure Care): Paschat Karma is recuperative care provided after Panchakarma Procedures to help the person return to normal life in a phased and controlled manner. This is the period when the maximum benefit of the Panchakarma is experienced and noticed. Paschat Karma includes
Samsarjana Karma or Post Panchakarma Diet Plan which slowly conditions the digestion with liquids to plant protein mixed semisolids and then to animal proteins and then slowly on to regular solid whole meal.
Rasayana or RejuvenationTherapy is nutritional supplementing and toning of the body with internal medicines like Lehyams (herbal medicated jams) or external therapies like Navara Kizahi (medicated rice-milk poultice massage), Sirolepam (herbal destressing head wrap) and facial treatments etc.
Shamana Chikitsa or Controlled Monitored Pacification Therapy: Shaman chikitsa is the moderate means of treatment where Snehana and Swedana are followed and only moderate detoxification is advised. Shamana Chikitsa is a means of regular health maintenance treatment as well as treatment advised in weak vulnerable group of patients even though the disease condition is severe. Shamana Chikitsa is Controlled Monitored Pacification therapy and includes internal medications, external treatments and life style management with healthy diet and Yoga-Meditation
External Treatment Modalities of Shamana Chikitsa: Shamana Chikitsa includes the first and third phases of Shodhana Chikitsa namely the Poorvakarma and Paschat Karma. Poorvakarma is done through two means of Snehana and Swedana or Oleation ad Sudation.
Bahya Snehana Karma or External Oleation Therapies: Medicated fat in the form of vegetable oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, castor oil etc, or medicated cow milk ghee or medicated animal fat or medicated bone marrow are used for treatments. Different means of external oleation therapies are
- Abhyangam: Methodical oil application using specialized strokes, positions and other massage techniques the whole body including the head are massaged till the oil is imbibed into the skin which is the largest organ in the body. Abhyangam is also done partly concentrating on specific body parts as head, feet, shoulder etc. Benefits are strength, acuity of all the sense organs, improved motor skills, complexion, lustrous skin and hair, flexible joints, younger looks, good sleep, relaxed and stress free mind, Abhyangam relieves fatigue and feeling of exhaustion and tiredness, improves muscle tone, improves immunity, enhances memory and keeps the person fit and healthy.
- Sirovasthy: Shirovasthy is an oleation therapy wherein calculated quantity of warm oil is retained for a specific period of time on the scalp contained inside a sealed leather cap. The treatment is used to treat migraine and other headaches, mental disorders, hormonal problems, neurological problems, stress, eye diseases, cosmetology problems etc.
- Sirodhara: Shirodharais controlled head irrigation done by gently pouring liquids like medicated oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or plain water over the forehead for a prescribed period. The treatment has to be followed with strict instructions of do’s and don’ts to avoid complications and side effects. Shirodhara is a treatment for diseases like eye diseases, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, greying of hair, neurological disorders, memory loss, insomnia, hearing impairment, tinnitus, vertigo, psoriasis. anxiety and mental stress. Depending on the liquid used Shirodhara can be classified as ksheeradhara, kashayadhara, thakradhara, taildhara and jaladhara where milk or decoction, buttermilk, oil, tender coconut or plain water is used as medium.
- Pizhichil or Kayaseka: The controlled squeezing of warm medicated oil on the body is Pizhichil. A piece of cloth is used to squeeze oil or medicated fat all over the body. The treatment, a Kerala Ayurveda Speciality treatment has to be done under strict supervision following the instructions strictly. The benefits include mproved overall blood circulation, strength, immunity, healthy bones, joints and muscles, reduced stress, anxiety and tension, good sleep, glowing skin, etc. Pizhichil cures diseases like fractures, nervous weaknesses and disorders, paralysis, arthritis and rheumatic diseases, tuberculosis, etc.
- Swedana Karma or Controlled Sudation Therapy: The therapy includes medicated and non medicated induced sweating therapy. Exercise, sunning, woollen wrapping and other exertions are also part of the therapy. Dry heat application like hot stone massage, etc. are also part of sudation therapy.
The commonest and recommended means of Swedana is sudation followed by oleation a combination done as part of Ayurveda treatment modality of Kerala Ayurveda. The combo Swedana therapies include:
- Ushnajala/Kashaya Snanam: Medicated hot water body bath. Herbal leaves or dried herbal parts like crushed roots or wood is boiled in water and cooled to a tolerable temperature. Bath is given with this water till the body breaks into a sweat. Plain hot water may also be used. This is usually followed after a course of Snehana Swedana treatment or after oil application. Traditionally this is part of Post Natal Kerala Ayurveda Regimen. A nutritious warm drink or warm water is given to drink immediately after the bath. Ideal in winter and monsoons
- Bashpa Sweda: This is herbal steaming of the body inside a steam chamber, either in sitting position or lying position. Ayurveda does not allow steam on the head eyes and chest. Hence the head is usually placed out of the steam chamber. The chest is covered with a cold pack. Herbal Steam is given till the body breaks in sweat. Ideal in pains and to reduce body fat.
- Nadee Sweda: This is giving pressurised herbal steam through a pipe attached to a steamer vessel. This type of steam is used when a part of the body is to be applied steam like in conditions such as facial palsy, abdominal cramps, beauty therapy, injuries etc. Medicated milk or decoction is the medium used in Nadee Swedanam
- Kashaya Dhara: Medicated decoction is prepared with milk or water or buttermilk and poured at a warm temperature all over the body continuously in a stream preceded by a massage. Nozzled vessels called Kindis are usually used for the purpose. This treatment is beneficial in various conditions like whole body swelling, pain, fatigue, arthritis, obesity, psoriasis and other skin conditions, skin dscolouration etc. The medium and medicine is varied depending on the condition to be treated. The process continues till the body breaks into a sweat.
- Dhanyamla Dhara: Dhanyamla is a special fermented preparation prepared using certain grains and seeds. The filtrate is warmed and poured all over the body. The treatment is very useful in inflammatory conditions and to reduce subcutaneous body fat
- Udwartana: Coarse or fine medicated powder is dry heated and rubbed all over or part of the body. Sometimes the powder is mixed with Dhanyamlam or oil and applied. The direction of application is against the hairline and hence the name. The treatment methodology is used to exfoliate the skin, improve peripheral circulation, reduce inflammations and subcutaneous fat. This is considered to be the treatment of choice in PCOS and obesity.
- Podikizhi: Medicated powders are tied into a poultice with a handle in a cotton cloth. This poultice is called Potali or Kizhi. Oil is applied all over or part of the body and massage is done by applying these heated poultices in a systematic manner. The treatment is used to treat arthritis and other joint conditions, to tone body and improve muscle strength. Obesity, Rheumatoid arthritis and joint degenerative conditions and injuries are some of the other indications
- Elakizhi: Elakizhi is poultice of herbal leaves. Herbal leaves are diced and roasted in medicated oil with sliced lime and grated coconut till the leaves become crispy and brittle. The mixture is then tied into a poultice and used for massage preceded by an oil application. The treatment is used to treat arthritic conditions and to tone the muscles.
- Narangakizhi: Naranga is lemon. Poultice is prepared by roasting lemon in medicated oil along with a paste of garlic, fenugreek, fennel and turmeric powder. The treatment is the choice of therapy for degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscular dystrophy etc.
- Mamsakizhi: The treatment is also used as a post procedural procedure or Paschat Karma in many instances. Mamsam means meat. Minced lean poultry meat or goat meat is cooked with herbs like turmeric and tied into a poultice. Massage is done by using milk as the heating medium. The treatment is nourishing and is used in emaciated or degenerative conditions like malnutrition, paralysis, muscle dystrophies, osteoporosis, injuries, etc.
- Muttakizhi: Mutta is egg. Boiled egg yolk is powdered and mixed with paste of herbs and tied into a poultice. Massage is done with this poultice preceded by oil application. This is used specially in the treatment of injuries like sports injuries, falls, accidents etc. where there is musculo-skeletal damage. The massage improves circulation and nervous conduction.
- Njavarakizhi: Njavara is a special variety of red rice which matures in 60 days and is considered to be highly nutritious and strengthening. This rice is cooked in nourishing herb decoction and tied into poultice. This poultice is heated in medicated milk and massaged all over the body or part of it. This is also used as part of post Panchakarma Rasayana Therapy or Rejuvenating therapy. The treatment tones the body, strengthens the muscles, bones and joints, improves complexion and skin tone and is considered to be the treatment that makes the person look and feel younger to the actual age.
Kerala the cradle of Ayurveda has remodelled the classical treatments in the master text books of Ayurveda into practical applications which later got branded as Keraleeya Panchakarma and is being heralded globally as the best therapeutic methodology for the effective management of illness and to promote wellness for a better living.
Harivihar Heritage Homestead associated with Sakalya Ayurveda offers authentic Keraleeya Ayurveda treatments for both wellness and illness in a hygenic state of the art facility embedded in a calm serene sprawling green ambience. The centre itself is a traditional Kerala Nalukettu architecture with legacy of more than a century. The best ambience, comfortable traditional yet contemporary stay, healthy tasty vegetarian food, homely hospitality are all complimentary to the most authentic supervised Ayurveda treatments performed by experienced skilled therapists. The stay is made more memorable with a peek into Kerala culture, Kerala lifestyle and Ayurveda discussions with doctors.
You could get additional details of Harivihar from our website www.harivihar.com