Abhyanga /Uzhichil is a special Kerala type of oil massage done by one or two persons. Suitable medicated oils for the body and the head are selected according to the condition of the person. Normally warm oil massage is done for the body and head for 45 minutes or according to the condition of the patient. This massage is suitable for both healthy and sick person. This massage is also mentioned in Ayurveda as a daily healthy routine practice.
Podikizhi or Pindaswedam is a type of massage in which cotton cloth bags called kizhi are filled with medicated herbal powders. The type of medicines used can be different depending on the condition of the patient. The herbs are made into a coarse powder and warmed in a dry pan. It is then tied in bags made of cotton cloth. Such bags filled with herbs are warmed in suitable oil and used while massaging.
This is a localized treatment in which warm medicated oil is poured on the affected part inside a boundary made of black gram paste. This is usually done on the back- Kateevasthy, on the chest- Urovasthy, on the back of the neck- Greevavasthy and on the knee-Januvasthy. These are very effective for the localized pain, stiffness and inflammations.
This is a method of sweating done by means of water vapor enriched with some volatile oils. This process helps to sweat the body by opening the skin pores and removing the toxins. As this is done by wet heat, it won’t make the patient uncomfortable and the fragrance of the herbs gives a fresh feeling by relieving tiredness and body aches.
Virechanam means medically induced purgation. This is a cleansing method to clean the lower digestive tract. Mostly the medicine will be given to the patient in early morning in empty stomach. Then he has to take warm water to stimulate the digestive tract. The activities of the patient and his food will be highly restricted on that day.
Navarakizhi or Shashtikapindaswedam is a type of kizhi massage in which the cotton cloth bags are filled with cooked Navara rice. Navara is a special type of rice with medicinal properties. This is cooked in a mixture of herbal decoction and cow’s milk till it gets tender. Then it is made into cotton cloths bag known as kizhi, warmed in the same mixture of herbal decoction and cow’s milk throughout the treatment. This is a rather soft massage and the kizhi is applied in circular and long strokes on the body, especially on the joints.
It is a method of applying medicated milk steam to a specific part of the body. This is the best method of sweating for the head and face. For this purpose herbal decoction is made which is mixed with milk and then boiled in closed vessel. From this vessel the steam will come out through a tube and locally applied. Before the application of steam suitable oil will be applied on the affected areas. Care should be taken to protect the eyes from the hot steam.
Sirodhara using medicated oil is called Thailadhara. Different types of medicated oils are used depending on the condition of the patient. Firstly, suitable oils are applied on the head and body and then a gentle massage is done on the body. The patient is laid on his back to get the flow of the oil onto the forehead. After finishing the dhara, the patient is allowed to take rest for a few minutes. Then a hot water bath is given on the body and special medicated water is given for head bath.
In this treatment, a cap like structure is fitted on the head and medicated oil is poured into it. This treatment is used for many of the diseases of the head, sense organs, nervous system and spinal cord. The temperature of the oil should be kept uniform throughout the process. At the same time suitable oil will be gently applied on the upper body of the patient with hand, if needed,it is also applied on the neck and shoulders.
In this treatment, the hair and the scalp will be covered with suitable herbal pastes depending on the condition of the patient. Firstly, suitable oil for the head will be applied on the scalp and hair and later the paste is applied and it is covered and kept. After a specific period of time, the paste will be removed and the head will be washed.
This literally means introducing medicaments through the nose. This is the best method of cleansing Sinus. For this too, suitable preparations are done depending on the condition and the strength of the patient. Nasyam is done with the patient lying on his back on a comfortable table with stretched neck.
Application of a suitable herbal paste on the affected body parts is called lepanam. This can be used for many conditions according to which the medicines can be selected. This is usually kept until it dries. The temperature of the paste can be warm or in room temperature according to the situation.
In this treatment the cloth or cotton piece soaked in the oil, will be kept on the affected parts. The temperature of the oil can be cold or warm according to the condition of the disease. According to the body part, the name of the Pichu can be different, for eg. Pichu on the lower back is called Kateepichu and Pichu on the head is called Siropichu.
Udwarthanam or Powder massage is done with dry warm herbal powder from the limbs to upward strokes. This is meant for better lymphatic drainage and thereby reduces the fluid retention in the body. At first, suitable oils for the body and the head are applied and a gentle massage done on the body. Then the warm, dry coarse powder is massaged upwards which imparts friction on the skin and helps to reduce the fatty layer below.
Snehavasthy is enema done with combination of medicated oil and other medicines. This is mainly done to normalize vata. Usually the oil will come out after 1-2 hours. If the oil is not coming out also there is nothing to worry.
KashayaVasthy is enema done with a combination of herbal decoction and other medicines. This is mostly to cleanse the intestines and to make the vata in balance. This is always done in combination with the Snehavasthy and always before food. To prepare the solution for the Kashayavasthy there are strict guide lines which should be followed properly for the better action of the treatment.