The treatments in Ayurveda are mainly divided into Sodhana (Purificatory) and Samana (Palliative). For all the type of Sodhana treatments there are two pre-requisite viz; Snehana (oleation) and Swedana (sudation).
Most of the massages and treatments mentioned below are a combination of these two process & few come under the Samana Chikitsa. Treatments indigenous to Kerala are also mentioned below.
A king among the traditional therapies and a speciality of Kerala! As mentioned earlier, this therapy is a beautiful combination of two classical Ayurvedic treatments, Snehana (oleation) and Swedana (sudation).
The whole body is subjected to streams of lukewarm medicated oil with simultaneous soft massage in seven postures. Enormous amount of medicated oil to the volume of more than three litres is used in this.
This therapy protects the body from illnesses and builds up immunity for a healthy life. It is very useful for rheumatic diseases, arthritis, paralysis, sexual weakness, neurological disorders, blood pressure, nervous weakness and helps to arrest the ageing process.
“Njavarakizhi” is a procedure in which small cotton cloth boluses are filled with cooked Njavara rice and massaged over the body after a liberal application of medicated oil. The rice used is cooked in cow's milk and herbal decoction.
The boluses are then dipped in the same mixture and applied all over the body to induce sudation (sweat). This procedure is highly rejuvenating, nourishing and prepares the individual to bear the stresses and strains of a hectic lifestyle. It enhances physical consistency, strengthens the nervous system and improves the overall appearance of the skin.
This is a strengthening fomentation employed in neurological disorders, rheumatism, arthritis and malnutrition of limbs.
The term “Pathra” mean herbal leaves and “Potali” refers to bolus. In Kerala this process is commonly known as “Elakizhi”.
This therapy begins with the application of suitable medicated oil to the entire body. The body is then subjected to exude profusely through a massage with boluses of chopped and fried leaves of specific medicinal herbs after dipping in advised medicated oils.
This therapy is effective for various kinds of arthritis, spondylosis, back pain, sports injuries and for all other soft tissue inflammations especially joint pains.
“Choorna Swedam” or “Podikizhi” is a treatment in which the body is subjected to exude profusely after a thorough massage with warm boluses of herbal powders tied up in cotton cloth.
This therapy helps in curing 'Kapha Vata' predominant conditions of arthritis, back pain, paralysis, muscular pains etc. Based on condition it can be done with either medicated oil or special liquids like Dhanyamla.
The term “Siro” mean head and “Dhara” mean flow /pouring. In this procedure lukewarm herbal oil is poured in a continuous stream onto the forehead like a pendulum, while receiving a gentle massage on the head. Sirodhara rejuvenates and revitalizes the body and mind.
This therapy relieves stress and strain related problems, slows the aging process, improves memory and is known to have a curative effect for paralysis, insomnia, depression, anxiety, hypertension and other neurological malfunctions. It bestows better vision, better hearing, clears nasal problems and calms the body and mind. Sirodhara ultimately strengthens the physical constitution of the individual.
Same relaxing treatment as Sirodhara but instead of herbal oil, herbal milk is poured over the forehead or over the whole body.
Great therapy for people suffering from headache of Vata and Pitta predominance, Insomnia and mental tension.
The term “Takra” means buttermilk and “Dhara” means flow/ pouring. This therapy calms the individual by using medicated buttermilk, which is poured onto the forehead just like that in sirodhara and is very useful to relieve insomnia, depression and other stress related problems. It prevents greying of the hair, reduces headaches, increases digestive power, alleviates anorexia and very useful in psoriasis.
Sirovasthi is a procedure in which a cap is fitted on the head and suitable medicated oil is filled 1 inch above hair base and made to retain.
Duration of treatment varies based on condition. Massage and fomentation of head and neck is done prior to the procedure.
Great therapy for treating paralysis, insomnia, depression etc.
In this procedure specially prepared warm herbal oil is poured over the neck and retained inside the black gram paste boundary for the required duration.
The healing properties of herbal oils used for this therapy deeply cleans and enriches the blood, builds and maintains strong muscle and connective tissues and lubricates the joints keeping them flexible and pain free. Greevavasthi alleviates neck and upper back conditions like cervical spondylosis, stiff neck, pain due to over strain, etc.
In this procedure specially prepared warm herbal oil is poured over the lower back and retained inside the black gram paste boundary for the required duration.
The healing properties are similar to Greevavasthi. Kadivasthi alleviates lower back conditions like lumbar spondylosis, inter-vertebral disc prolapsed, lumbago (low back ache) and sciatica.
This procedure is similar to Kadivasthi but done on the chest with special medicated oil useful in treating condition like cough, bronchitis, and bronchial asthma etc.
In this procedure whole body is subjected to streams of lukewarm special herbal decoction with simultaneous soft massage. This procedure is very useful in all type of skin manifestations.
The nature of herbs used varies depending on the type of skin problem. The treatment is also very relaxing and rejuvenating.
This treatment is similar to that of Kashaya Dhara. Here instead of herbal decoction, medicated liquid prepared from Grain (Dhanyamla) is used.
This treatment is additionally useful in reducing body weight.
“Lepam” is a treatment procedure similar to a body pack in which medicated powder is mixed with suitable medium to make a paste and is applied all over the body.
The herbal paste can also be applied to a specific area of the body. This therapy is having a wide range of usage from cosmetic purpose to severe skin conditions.
Very effective in psoriasis, pimples, pigmentation on skin, arthritis with swelling & pain, injuries and skin infections.
In this procedure medicated ghee is retained in a boundary made over the eyes with black gram paste.
This therapy will have a cooling effect on irritated and stressed eyes. This relieves eyestrain, improves eyesight and other eye related problems.
This is a procedure in which herbal decoction is made to flow from the medial canthus to lateral canthus of the eye thereby cleaning the eye.
This is followed by putting relaxing herbal eye drops.
This is a procedure done after the eyes are washed with herbal decoction & then special herbal paste is applied to the eye like a coryillium.
This is followed by putting eye drops. This procedure is also very helpful for treating various eye ailments.
This therapy is well-known for its property to relieve pain, swelling and to nourish the tissues. It is done by application of herbal paste over the affected area, covering the applied paste with medicinal herbal leaves and bandaging over that with cotton cloth.
This application will be removed after few hours as per the requirement.
This therapy is very effective in osteo-arthritis, joint injuries and localized pain and swelling.
A thick layer of cotton wool soaked with warm medicated oil is applied over the affected area. The oil is recycled periodically to make it warm.
This therapy is very effective for degenerative and painful problems like back pain, osteo-arthritis, spondylosis, injuries, etc.
This therapy begins with the application of suitable medicated oil on the face, neck and chest. The face and neck are then subjected to exude profusely through steam generated from a combination of cow's milk and herbal decoctions.
This therapy is effective for facial paralysis, trigeminal neuralgia, pimples and other skin problems.
This is a traditional herbal face pack in which selected herbal medicines based on skin condition are made into paste with recommended liquids and applied to the face.
The procedure is preceded by facial massage and fomentation. This pack is very useful in opening skin pores and removing the toxins thereby toning the facial muscles & enhancing colour and complexion.
This is a treatment practised in Kerala in which special herbal paste are applied to the scalp after liberal massage with oil and then the scalp is covered with either lotus or banana leaves and kept for 30-45mins.
This procedure is very useful in insomnia, hair fall, premature greying of hairs, depression etc.
This procedure is one among the Panchakarma in which medicated oils /decoctions /fresh juices /powder are instilled through both the nostrils.
Based on the condition of a patient different kind of preparations are used. The procedure is preceded by facial massage and fomentation.
This procedure is very useful conditions like sinusitis, headache, migraine, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulders, premature greying & falling of hairs etc.
In this procedure a gentle application of warm herbal oil is first done over the body. Next the individual is made to sit, keeping the head out, inside a steam chamber that lets out herbal steam from medicinal herbs.
This makes the individual perspire profusely, opening all the pores in the body and thereby removing all wastes and toxins out. A great therapy for toning and giving the skin a special glow.
This is a procedure in which herbal oils and decoctions are applied through the vaginal route. This treatment is good for certain gynaecological disorders and a purification for genital organs