Ayurvedic treatments are mainly focussed on detoxification of all body systems (shodhana karma or Panchakarma). Panchakarma is cleansing of the body according to Ayurveda. Panchakarma is claimed to eliminate the vitiated Doshas from the body. This is a set of five (pancha = five in sanskrit) procedures. They are Vamana, Virechana, Vasthi, Nasya and Rakthamoksha. A person who has to take Panchakarma treatments has to go through the pre-procedures or Poorvakarma which includes oleation and sudation
Uzhichil or Abhyangam is oil massaging the whole body. Abhyangam is a popular body massage in ayurveda. The word abhyangaitself means to massage. In Ayurveda, the Abhyangam massage has become popular because of its effective way of conditioning the body. Abhyangam can be used therapeutically. The massage is designed around each individual, to suit his or her disease or condition. An ayurvedic physician can assess this and will then decide on the appropriate oils and the exact way of massage.
The patient is made to lie on a wooden Droni (a specially designed wooden plank). Then pieces of linen dipped in comfortably warm medicated oil are squeezed over the patient’s body from a specific height. When the warm oil flows and spreads over the body, masseurs give the patient a gentle massage . This is effective in diseases connected with the Vata Dosha and its allied manifestations like spondylosis, hemiplegia, Arhtritis, back pain, muscular dystrophy etc.. This is done only on the body below the neck and the duration can be fixed from one to one and a half hours depending upon the strength of the patient.
Medicated oil is first applied liberally over the patient’s body. Then the body is massaged with small linen bags filled with cooked Navara rice. The rice is cooked by boiling it in cow’s milk along with suitable. The linen bags filled with rice are dipped in the same mixture kept boiling over a gentle flame and applied by masseurs at a comfortable temperature over the whole body of the patient. Navarakkizhi is a special massage , which rejuvenates the body. It is very effective in degenerative muscle diseases like poliomyelitis muscular atrophy etc. It is more effective when done immediately after Pizhichil treatment . The course of treatment can last for 7 to 14 days.
Ela or ila or patra means leaves; kizhi or pinda means bolus; Swedam means sudation. It is one of the major sudation process using herbal leaves. It is highly effective in ailments affecting bones, joints and nervous system. The leaves which are having Vata pacifying property are collected freshly. Most commonly used leaves are leaves of tamarind, Calatropis gigentica, Ricinus communis, drumstick, Vitex nigundo, Adatoda vasica etc. They are chopped and mixed with grated coconut, lemon, turmeric rock salt etc. depending on the condition.The mixture is fried in plain sesame oil or other medicated oil as per the requirement. They are divided into four equal parts and tied in a linen cloth in the form of boluses. These are kept in a vessel containing the oil used to fry the ingredients and the vessel is then heated. An Abhyangam (a gentle oil massage) is given for about 10 to 15 minutes.Then the massage is given with warm boluses. The boluses are applied over the body in seven different postures.
The patient is advised to lie on a special wooden droni with his neck and head comfortably placed. Then a non-stop continuous stream of the prescribed liquid medicine is gently poured on his forehead from a prescribed height through a specially devised apparatus called Dhara Chatti for a period of one to one and a half hours. Dhara is occasionally administered on whole body in special cases. Dhara is considered to be effective for several diseases like stress related disorders, sleeplessness and many degenerative brain disorders. Different liquid mediums are used in Dhara for different diseases. Medicated oils, milk, tender coconut water and decoctions of herb extracts are some of the fluids used.
Udvarthanam is an ayurvedic massage using herbal powders. The herbal powders are mixed with oil, milk or medicated juice and rubbed upwards onto the body. It is done for 30-45 minutes per day for a period of fourteen to twenty - eight days. The treatment improves the blood circulation and reduces body weight and skin diseases. It also helps in curing hemiplegia and paralysis.
Nasyam is the instillation of herbal medicines through the nostrils. Its impacts are very diverse. It removes mucous clogs, cleans and clears the head channels, and also stimulates the brain cells and central nervous system. It is one among the five Panchakarma treatments. It is commonly used to treat diseases like paralysis, Parkinson's disease, complex headache, acute sinusitis, diseases of the head, neck and nose, Bell's palsy,Arthritis, and cervical spondylosis.
Kaadi Dhara begins with the application of suitable medicated oil to the entire body. A special self-fermented, warm, medicinal preparation made of different kinds of grains, lemon, horse gram, etc. is poured continuously on to the whole body. Kaadi Dhara is very effective for ‘Kapha Vata’ predominant conditions of arthritis, paralysis, obesity, and muscular pains; and widely used in inflammatory disorders, insomnia, mental disorders, neurasthenia, memory loss and certain skin diseases.