What is Special About?

Keralite Panchakarma

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Elakizhi

Ela' means 'leaves' 'Kizhi' means 'bolus' or PindThis is an innovative process of massaging the body with cloth bag filled with fried medicinal leaves like ricinus, calatropis, tamarind and more. This massage is normally done by three people. The cloth bags are warmed in medicated oils and used to massage the entire body, neck, shoulders, hand and back in different positions. This massage is normally done by three people. It helps in stimulating the nerves and in reducing pain. This is done in cases of Rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis, sciatica, spondylosis and neurological disorders. Elakizhi promotes better circulation within the affected area thereby promoting increased perspiration, which helps the skin to eliminate wastes. It also helps to tone the skin and can be very relaxing so this therapy can be done in a perfectly healthy person also to enhance his/her immunity, vitality and longevity of life. The above treatments can be offered in different combinations according to the physician’s direction. Each of these combinations gives a curative and rejuvenative effect after being undergone for definite periods and repeating at definite intervals.

Podikizhi

"Podi" means "Powder" and "kizhi" means 'bolus' or PindIn this treatment, the patient has to lie in a comfortable position. External oleation is done before starting. A bolus or Pind with herbal powder is dipped in medicated oil and then applied to the body. The temperature is maintained depending on the tolerance of the person. The main treatment is followed by an oil application. This massage is normally done by three people. This is massage has been seen to be very effective for inflammatory joint problems and primary stages of hemiplegia.

Dhanyakizhi

"Dhanyam" means "Grains" and "kizhi" means 'bolus' or Pind This particular treatment drives away the stiffness of the body. Here the patient is made to lie in a comfortable position. External oleation is done before starting the treatment. A pouch with processed grains is then dipped in medicated oil and applied to the body. Again, there will be an oil application after the main treatment.

Thalapothichil (Mastishkya)

Sushruta in twenty second chapter of Chikitsa Sthan and in thirty sixth chapter of Utara tantra described the procedure of Mastishkya and Thalpothichil is same in Kerala Panchkarma. Sharangdhar in eleventh Chapter of Utarakhand elaborated the lepa formulations to be applied on head for hair disorders and other disease also. This is a special procedure widely practiced in Kerala. Drugs like amla etc. are cooked in medicated liquids like buttermilk etc. and made into fine paste. The healing properties of the herbs also calm down the nervous system and rejuvenate the person.

Procedure and Uses

To start the treatment, the person sits on a chair, well relaxed. Mild massage is given on the head with any suitable medicated oil. Selected medicinal herbs, thoroughly ground and made into fine paste, is then thickly applied on to his scalp. The head is then covered up with leaves, usually banana leaves, to form a perfect mask. A small hole is made in the centre of the covering and medicated oil is kept there. This is done to allow the medicines to stay on and function well. The mask remains on the person's head for almost 40 to 50 minutes giving wonderful relaxation to the mind, then oil and the paste is removed and another mild massage is given on the head. The effect of the medicines calms down the nerves, relieves mental tension, increases the person's memory power and improves his sleep pattern. Herbs and fruits such as gooseberry, henna, asparagus, moringa, guggul, lotus seeds, sandal, nut grass tuber etc. are used in the treatment. They are first moisturized in buttermilk before being grinded to a paste form. The paste thus obtained becomes a rich blend of various cooling agents. The duration and the herbs used are decided by the physician depending on the type of disease, age, body constitution of the person etc. Treatment is renowned for its ability to heal problems related to the head and neck regions. Alzheimer's  disease, psychosis, Depression, Hyper active conditions, mental retardation, insanity, epilepsy, migraine, Headache, certain psychosomatic diseases, arthritis, headache, insomnia, hyper tension, premature greying and hair falling, sinusitis, certain skin diseases of the scalp, burning sensation in the eyes, Burning sensation of body etc. are some of the most common ailments treated using this method.

Shirodhara (Shirosek)

Vagbhata in twenty second chapter of Ashtang Hridaya Sutra Sthan recommended Parishek on head in skin diseases of scalp, in twenty fourth chapter of Utara Tantra he advised Parishek on head with vata pacifying formulations in Shiro Roga. Charak in ninth chapter of Sidhi sthan, twenty sixth chapter of Chikitsa sthan and Sushruta in twenty sixth chapter of utara tantra recommended the Shirosek in Vataj and Pittaj mental disorders elaborating different formulations for the same.

Procedure and Uses

In Sanskrit language Shirodhara is composed of two words “Shiro” + “dhara”, shiro means head and dhara means flow. Ideally after Abhyanga pouring of a liquid such as decoction, medicated milk and its products, sugarcane juice, medicated oils, etc. on the forehead from a vessel hung approximately 6-8 inches above the patient's forehead in a continuous stream for a specific period is called shiro-sheka.  It is also known as sirodhara. It cleans both the mind and the senses, which allows the body's natural healing mechanisms to release stress from the nervous systems. This in turn, improves mental clarity and comprehension.  This procedure often induces a completely relaxing and rejuvenating mental and physical state. It deeply revitalizes the central nervous system. At times, soft music may also be used to add to the soothing atmosphere. Selection of the liquid medicine used for Shirodhara would depend upon the treatment required.Anxiety, Depression, schizophrenia, Epilepsy, Hypertension, Diabetic Neuropathy, Hemiplegia Paraplegia, Strengthens the sensory organs, Insomnia, Pre-mature greying of the hair & hair loss, Mental retardation, Paralysis, facial palsy, ptosis (drooping) of the eyelids, eye diseases, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, neurological disorders, memory loss, hearing impairment, tinnitus, vertigo, Ménière's disease and certain types of skin diseases like psoriasis. Shirodhara Invigorates the body and mind and stimulate cognitive memories, helps to relieve fatigue, tension, anger, chronic headaches, rheumatism,    asthma, activates the pituitary gland and improves concentration, intelligence, confidence and self-esteem.

Other side of the coin

Another aspect of panchkarma in Kerala, in particular, has made a fetish out of advertising its Ayurvedic spas, and several five-star hotels, which not so long ago would have looked down at anything so desi, have cashed in on the rage. But what exactly is it that they are selling? Tourist brochures show a winsome blonde in a bikini being massaged by a lady in a traditional red-bordered white Kerala sari, with jasmine in her hair and a brass lamp at her side. This is effectively packaged exotica: not Ayurveda as a remedy for disease, but rather as an upmarket beauty treatment or a relaxation cure for the jaded. This is a travesty of Ayurveda. People are taking what is meant to be a total system of medicine and reducing it to a few superficial treatments. Ayurveda is meant to diagnose and treat the entire person, not one part of his or her body. And the principle behind Ayurvedic treatments is vital. Ayurvedic therapies are not intended for transient pleasure, in fact massage is the wrong word for them — they are really oil applications. A doctor determines what the right oils you need are, and they are then applied systematically over a period of time. The benefit of the treatment comes from the oil, not from the rubbing. But instead it is the massage that is being promoted rather than the medicinal purpose of the procedure. Ayurvedic Professionals are also critical of the way in which this massage and cosmetics industry has latched onto Ayurveda. Ancient sciences have been reduced to a modern fad, but let us not allow the best to become the enemy of the good.



 

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