Abhyanga is the full body oil massage ayurvedic therapy used to destress and rejuvenate the entire body. Sesame oil is one of the most commonly used oil in this therapy. However, there are many other oils, prepared with various herbal decoctions, for specific medical conditions. Benefits: Other than relaxing muscles, improving blood circulation, cleansing of skin, etc. there are innumerable benefits of Abhyanga. When it is taken daily for 14 days and more, Abhyanga helps in treating neuromuscular and rheumatological disorders. One can see the benefits in improved vision, sleeping pattern, digestion, sexual vigour etc. which results in decreasing the effects of ageing. Contraindications: The procedure should be avoided if you are pregnant, menstruating, or have acute illnesses such as fever, chills and flu. Persons suffering from indigestion, vomiting, diarrhoea and fatigue should avoid it.
Basti involves introduction of certain oils, herbal decoctions, into the colon through the rectum, for removing toxins accumulated in the intestines and colon. Benefits: Basti puts the body into a state of balance by nourishing the colonic flora. A localised and symptomatic treatment, Basti has multiple effects for treating various illnesses such as chronic constipation, low back pain, sciatica, rheumatism, gout, arthritis and neuromuscular disorders. It is considered as one of the best remedies for numerous psycho-somatic diseases. Contraindications: The treatment should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation, and among those suffering from diarrhoea, inflammation of the anus and bleeding from the rectum.
Bidalaka is an Ayurvedic therapy used to treat disorders of the eyes. Medicated herbal paste is applied over the eye lids, leaving eye lashes, for a prescribed time in a prescribed thickness. Benefits: The ayurvedic therapy is helpful in treating refractive errors, dry eyes, conjunctivitis, watery eyes, computer vision syndrome, eye strain, cataract, glaucoma, night blindness, ptosis, stiffness of the eye, corneal ulcers and inflammatory lesions of the eye. Contraindications: Those prone to giddiness should avoid the treatment.
Dhanyamla Dhara is a special Ayurvedic massage therapy wherein warm medicated decoction is poured from a hung vessel over the affected parts of the body. Benefits: There are various benefits to this treatment such as an improvement in blood circulation, revitalisation of body and an improved immunity. Dhanyamla Dhara is used in treating neurological disorders, arthritis, spondylitis, rheumatism, asthma, fibromyalgia, cervical spondylosis and obesity. Contraindications: Dhanyamla Dhara is not advisable if you are injured or fatigued. The therapy should not be used just for pleasure, it should neither be poured over any reproductive organs, neck or used for internal consumption. Those who have fever or wounds should avoid the therapy.
Dhoomapaana is medicated smoking that involves inhalation of medicated fumes through nostrils or mouth and exhalation only through the mouth. In this procedure, herbal powders or pastes applied in a cloth is burnt to emit smoke. Benefits: The practice helps patients with ear, nose and throat issues and can also ease the condition of those with ear ache, sinusitis and heaviness of head. It is helpful in treating cough, dyspnoea, rhinitis, bad smell of the nose and mouth, hair loss, headache, migraine, eye pain, excessive drowsiness and asthma. Contraindications: Those with respiratory distress, asthma and prone to vomiting are not advised to go in for Dhoomapana.
Ela Kizhi is one of the major sweat-inducing processes using herbal leaves. It is highly effective in ailments affecting bones, joints and the nervous system. In this treatment, the leaves of medicinal plants are heated or fried in herbal oils and tied in a bolus/pouch. Then these pouches are used to massage the body in a very specific motion of pounding and vibrating the muscles, blood circulation and nerves in the affected area. Benefits: Among its benefits are improved blood circulation, improved skin complexion and an increase in muscle strength. Contraindications: Ela Kizhi is not recommended for patients suffering from skin allergies, hypertension, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and fever, those with sensitive skin, diabetic patients and pregnant women.
The Ayurveda therapy, also known as oil pulling, involves swishing of oil in the mouth on an empty stomach. The oils help in pulling out harmful bacteria, fungus and other organisms from the mouth, teeth, gums and throat. Benefits: Gandusha assists in the process of pulling out oral toxins. It enables the tongue to eliminate harmful microbes both from the mouth and the entire body. It also results in cleansing the ear, nose and throat pathways and helps treat numerous conditions ranging from sinusitis, migraine, asthma and diabetes to throat infections, common cold, nausea and loss of appetite. Contraindications: Among those who should not practice the procedure include patients of laryngeal paralysis, children who are less than five years of age and those suffering from upward internal haemorrhage.
The pain-relieving Ayurvedic oil-pooling treatment involves retaining warm medicated oil on the cape of the neck for a set period. An herbal paste made of black gram is used for making a hollow well to retain the oil. Benefits: It enhances blood supply to the neck and relieves swelling and inflammation in the neck and shoulders. The treatment is useful especially for those suffering from cervical spondylosis, disc prolapse, spondylolisthesis and chronic pain in the neck and back. Contraindications: Patients suffering from rib fracture, osteochondritis and cellulitis of the neck should avoid the practice.
In this procedure the knee joint is bathed in warm medicated oils. The oil is retained inside a well using black gram paste. The herbal oil used in Janu Vasti restores the lubricating fluid in the joints. Benefits: Janu Basti treatment is mainly used in pain management for conditions such as osteoarthritis and arthritis of knee joints, osteoporosis and chronic pain of the knee joints. It reduces the pain and stiffness in knee joints and thus helps improve mobility. Contraindications: Janu Basti is not recommended for persons suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Karnapoorana involves filling the ears with warm medicated oil or medicated ghee. The procedure lubricates the delicate filaments of the ear canal. Benefits: It results in the strengthening of structures of the external ear, tympanic membrane and middle ear. The treatment is especially prescribed for ear ailments, chronic ear infections and those suffering from hearing impairment due to infection or injury. It also helps those suffering from pain in their head, neck and jaws, psychological disorders, stress-induced migraine, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and anxiety. Contraindications: Those who are suffering from paralysis, eardrum rupture, ear injury/wounds and those who are prone to giddiness should opt out of Karnapoorana.
Kati Vasti is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment where warm herbal oil is poured over the lower back and retained within a ring created with black gram paste or whole wheat flour. The oil treatment is helpful in relieving tensions of the lower back. The oils help soften lower spine rigidity and strengthen the bone tissue. Benefits: Kati Vasti is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment where warm herbal oil is poured over the lower back and retained within a ring created with black gram paste or whole wheat flour. The oil treatment is helpful in relieving tensions of the lower back. The oils help soften lower spine rigidity and strengthen the bone tissue. Contraindications: The treatment is not recommended to those with any sort of open injuries. Also it is not advisable for pregnant women and those suffering from osteochondritis.
Naranga Kizhi is a speciality treatment for treating cervical spondylosis and frozen joints. The procedure is carried out by applying heat with packs containing fried pieces of lemon and coconut scrapings. Benefits: Among the various benefits of the treatment are relief for rheumatoid arthritis, cervical spondylosis, lumbago, neck pain, spondylitis and muscular cramps. Contraindications: The treatment should be strictly avoided if you are pregnant, menstruating, suffering from fever etc. Patients consuming alcohol regularly needs extra care or consultation before taking this treatment.
Nasya is a process wherein herbal medications in the form of oils are administered through the nostrils for cleansing all body parts above the neck. Lubrication of the nasal passages through this procedure provides subtle moisture to the air we breathe and affects the sensory organs and cerebral faculties. Benefits: Nasya therapy enhances the activity of sense organs and protects the person from diseases pertaining to the head. It helps to get rid of migraines, chronic headaches, sinusitis, ear, nose and throat disorders. It also ensures proper and healthy growth of hair and prevents early ageing process. Contraindications: Nasya therapy should be avoided by those who are bleeding, during pregnancy and menstruation, by those suffering from acute health conditions, infectious diseases and fever, and during heart attacks, asthma attacks or any pain condition.
This therapy is mainly aimed at rejuvenating the eyes and involves spilling Kashaya (medicated liquid) over closed eyes from a height of four inches in a continuous, thin stream for a prescribed time. Benefits: The therapy mainly helps in cleansing the eyes. Netra Seka is an effective treatment for itchy/burning/dry/watery eyes, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, eye strain and redness in the eyes.
The therapy involves application of a warm paste of rice on the whole body below the neck or a portion of the body to induce perspiration. Njavara rice, used in this treatment, is helpful in cooling the body, tissue replenishment, and stimulation of micro-circulation to support the healing from within. Benefits: Anna Lepanam is helpful in treating muscular dystrophy, hemiparesis, motor neuron disease, bulbar palsy, parkinsonism, emaciation, general debility, rheumatoid arthritis and peripheral vascular disease. Contraindications: Haemorrhage.
Njavarakizhi is a sweat-inducing Ayurvedic treatment using medicinal rice gruel. A special type of rice named Njavara is used for the massage. It is cooked with milk and herbs. The cooked mixture is then placed in pouches, which are used to massage the body. Benefits: The treatment helps in relieving pain, swelling and stiffness caused by joint disorders such as arthritis, energises and rejuvenates the body, improves the strength of the tissues, bones and muscles, prevents degeneration of the joint tissues and muscles, improves blood circulation. It helps to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cervical spondylosis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, paralysis and frozen shoulder. Contraindications: The treatment should be avoided by those with tuberculosis and fever.
Pizhichil is an Ayurvedic treatment that combines oil massage with a special heat treatment where warm medicated oil is continuously poured over the body while it is being simultaneously massaged. Benefits: It enhances muscular tone, retunes the entire nervous system and plays a significant role in curing neurological disorders. It improves blood circulation, detoxifies the body, enables faster healing of fractured bones, increases immunity and reduces stress and anxiety. Pizhichil is effective in treating rheumatic diseases, arthritis, paralysis and blood pressure. Contraindications: Those with haemorrhage, vomiting and urticaria are advised not to take Pizhichil.
Podi Kizhi involves application of certain herbal medications in painful or injured areas in the body. The herbal medication used have pain-relieving, anti-degenerative and anti-inflammatory properties. It is highly beneficial in healing musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diseases. Benefits: The procedure strengthens and rejuvenates joints, muscles and soft tissues. It is effective in treating obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, sciatica, bursitis, spondylolisthesis, spina bifida, cervical spondylosis and frozen shoulder. Contraindications: Avoid Podikizhi if you are pregnant or if you are suffering from fever, severe inflammation, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, fractures, varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis.
Rakta Moksha is an effective blood cleansing and detoxification therapy through carefully controlled removal of small quantities of bad blood to neutralise accumulated toxins of many blood-borne diseases. Rakta Moksha is performed using two main techniques: Shastra Visravana (using metallic instruments) and Anushashtra Visravana (non-metallic means such as leaches). Benefits: Rakta Moksha has two-pronged benefits, both as curative as well as preventive therapy. It is good for patients suffering from chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema, non-healing ulcers, varicose veins and baldness. Contraindications: Most Ayurveda centres do not offer Rakta Moksha due to the high risk of infection involved in blood cleansing. It is advised only in rare conditions. Pregnant women, children, persons who are anaemic and those suffering from jaundice should avoid the therapy.
Sarvanga Takra Dhara is a traditional Ayurvedic procedure wherein a stream of medicated buttermilk is used to massage the body. Benefits: The procedure is beneficial in tackling psoriasis, hypertension and lack of sleep. It also helps patients in treating of hypertension, sleeplessness and insomnia, premature greying, fatigue, headache, urinary disorders, heart disease, laxity and loss of integrity of joints, sluggish metabolism, ear and eye problems, psoriasis, migraine, loss of memory, Alzheimer’s disease, hair loss, hair fall, diabetic neuropathy and paralysis. Contraindications: Sarvanga Takra Dhara is not recommended in cases of chronic sinusitis, cold, vomiting, giddiness or injury.
Shiro Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic practice that involves head massage with warm herbal oil to encourage the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. The massage focuses on vital points (marma) of the head with specific movements to sooth and relax the nervous system. Benefits: Shiro Abhyanga helps in easing muscular movement in the shoulder, neck, face and head. It helps in improving memory, inducing sleep, and in preventing eye refraction errors, hair loss and balding. It is also beneficial in treating headaches in addition to strengthening the hair-roots. Contraindications: It is advisable that people suffering from flu or cold, cough and acute bronchial asthma avoid Shiro Abhyanga.
Shiro Pichu is an ayurvedic treatment that involves medicated oil soaked in cotton/gauze is placed on the crown of the head for a prescribed time. Keeping it in place, a bandage cloth or scarf is tied around. It is beneficial in dermatological conditions of the scalp and psychological disorders. Benefits: The treatment is used to cure hair fall, insomnia, paralysis, headache, facial palsy, dermatitis of the scalp, dandruff and skin disorders such as eczema. It also helps improve memory. Contraindications: Among those who should avoid the treatment include patients of rhinitis and high fever.
‘Shiro’ means head and ‘Dhara’ means flow. Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic therapy that involves gentle pouring of medicinal oil, milk or buttermilk over the forehead to stimulate the pituitary gland. Benefits: By working on the cerebral system, this therapy helps improve the senses and relax the nervous system. It is considered as a tool to relieve stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It also helps improve sleep patterns and memory. Contraindications: It is advisable that persons suffering from brain tumor, recent neck injury, abrasions or cuts on the head, fever/chills, acute illness, nausea, vomiting, severe weakness and exhaustion avoid Shirodhara. It should not be given to women in their third trimester of pregnancy.
Shirolepais a popular Ayurvedic treatment that involves application of medicated oil and a specially prepared herbal paste on the head. The paste is applied over the scalp, leaving a small portion in the centre. A medicated oil is filled in this groove. The paste is then covered with banana or lotus leaves, and the groove is left open. Benefits: Shirolepa helps to nourish the nervous system. It is used to treat stress, insomnia, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, hypertension, migraines, dermatitis of scalp, dandruff, hair loss, premature greying, epilepsy, chronic sinusitis and even some stages of mental retardation. Contraindications: The treatment is not advisable for those suffering from fever, acute sinusitis, cold and rhinitis.
Shirovasti is a unique procedure of pouring herbal oil on the head and retaining it using an elongated cap for a prescribed period. The herbal oils used in this ayurvedic therapy is warmed passively, by placing the bowl of medicine in boiling water prior to application. Benefits: The procedure is used to get rid of numbness in the head, for de-addiction among alcoholics and for numerous psychological disorders. It is also used to treat facial paralysis, insomnia, cataract, spondylitis and neurological disorders. Contraindications: The treatment shall be suspended or postponed in case of presence of complaints such as cold, cough, congestion, weakness, fatigue, fever, jaundice and rhinitis. The procedure is better to be avoided during menstruation.
Thalam is a therapeutic remedy used to enhance and nourish brain cells. It is performed by retaining medicated oil on the head for about 30 minutes. A suitable cap is used for retaining the oil over the head. Benefits: Thalam enhances and nourishes the brain cells. It’s an effective treatment for insomnia, migraine, stress and various mental disorders. This procedure helps in treating paralysis, facial paralysis, excessive hair loss and dry nostrils. Contraindications: The treatment is not advisable for those suffering from cold and acute bronchial asthma.
During the procedure, medicated oil or medicated ghee is retained over the eyes for a minimum of 30 minutes. A herbal paste made of black grams is gently sculpted around the eyes to create hollow wells to retain the medicated oils. Benefits: The procedure helps the eye-cleaning process and improves eye sight, strengthens the optic nerve and prevents various eye diseases. It is also a cure for headache and corneal problems. Contraindications: It is important to note that persons with giddiness should avoid Tharpanam.
Udvarthanam, is an ayurvedic massage treatment that is beneficial for weight loss and fat reduction. Dry herbal powder is used in this treatment, to remove excessive fat and to invigorate the catabolic metabolism. Benefits: The programme benefits people with obesity, hemiplegia, paralysis, skin diseases, impaired blood circulation and oily skin. Other benefits include improvement in skin complexion, skin exfoliation, stress relief and relaxation. Contraindications: Pregnant women, infants and those wounded with cuts should avoid this treatment. Patients of eczema and psoriasis should also avoid the treatment.
One among the four types of Swedana, it is a fomentation therapy for reducing pain and inflammation in the joints or a body part. The therapy involves application of a warm specially prepared herbal cream on the painful site followed by covering the area with leaves and bandaging with cotton and leather or cloth. The application of heat and herbs causes relaxation of the muscles and relieves pain and inflammation. Benefits: The procedure relieves stiffness, heaviness, coldness and induces sweating. It helps to cure arthritis, bursitis, frozen shoulder and tennis elbow.
Valuka Sweda is a form of Swedana (sweat-inducing treatment) that uses hot sand tied in a bolus to provide heat to pain-afflicted joints or body parts. It provides relief for pain, swelling and stiffness. Benefits: It is effective in treating pain in the heel, rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness of thigh and lower limbs, sciatica and neurological disorders. Contraindications: Avoid Valuka Sweda if you are suffering from diabetes mellitus, hypertension, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, fractures, fever, severe inflammation, burns, polydipsia, alcoholism and anaemia.
Vamana is used to remove Kapha (mucus) toxins accumulated in the body and respiratory tract by inducing controlled vomiting. The sinus is cleared after vomiting, which, in turn, provides relief from congestion, wheezing and breathlessness. Benefits: Digestion and metabolism are enhanced with this procedure. Vamana therapy is one of the most effective treatments for asthma, cough, psoriasis and skin disorders. The treatment is also prescribed to people with gastritis, sinusitis, diabetes and neurological ailments related to problems caused by mucus. Contraindications: The treatment is not advised for children, older patients, pregnant women, obese persons and those who are suffering from any kind of heart diseases or upward internal haemorrhage.
Virechana is the process of cleansing the liver, gallbladder and gastro-intestinal tract from excessive toxic and metabolic waste (pitta) by using laxative medicines. The herbal medicines are given in specific amounts as per the condition. Benefits: The treatment results in lightness of the body, increase in appetite and reduction of skin patches, plagues and dryness in psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. It improves immunity, enhances healthy digestion, regulates metabolism and minimises the intensity of chronic diseases. It is usually recommended in cases of chronic fever, diabetes, asthma, joint disorders, digestive disorders, hyper acidity, headaches and gynaecological disorders. Contraindications: It is better if people suffering from certain conditions avoid Virechana. Those include people with poor digestive activity, bleeding in the rectum, hard bowel movement and those with diarrhoea and who have had a recent fever.