The Ancient wisdom of Ayurveda is considered as one of the oldest medicine system still surviving.The fascinating subject of history of medicine says when civilization advances the disease pattern also changes, thereby the mode of treatment as well. The fundamentals on which the Ayurveda based are essentially true for all times and do not changes.
Modern Ayurvedic sources says, the origin of Ayurveda dates back around 6,000 BCE. They originated as an oral rendition. Some of the concepts of Ayurveda existed during the times of Indus Valley Civilization & even before. The first recorded forms of Ayurveda as medical texts evolved from the Vedas, especially "Adharva Veda" where several diseases mentioned with their treatments.
Ayurveda in its modern-day form appears in the age of the Samhitas, which are massive compendiums compiled by disciples of the Three Great Sages, Dhanwantari, Bharadwaja, and Kashyapa.
The original verses of Ayurveda are believed to be originated from the consciousness of Lord Brahma the Creator' and carefully learned by his disciples. These were passed down among the Gods & they eventually reached to the three Great Sages - Dhanwantari, Bharadwaja and Kashyapa. Those three sages set up different schools of treatments.
And in a course of time Ayurveda branched out into three categories namely Shalya Chikitsa (Surgery), Kaya Chikitsa (General Medicine) & Kaumarabhritya (Paediatrics).
When the traders of East India Company became the British rulers of India, the Ancient wisdom of Ayurveda couldn't survive & went outskirts of Indian societies. The long arm of the then foreign empire was not suited for the survival of India's traditional Medicine system as they have their own & found the new Indian Medical Service in 1763 with the intention of bringing Western medicine system in India. As a result, many of the great Ayurveda texts, Physicians, Teachers & technicians were silenced. So during British period Ayurveda existed only in the rural areas where the traditional ways of living were maintained. As India regained independence, Ayurveda, along with Siddha & some other medicinal systems were revived and acknowledged by the native administrators.
A few of the Ayurveda treatments are described below.
Abhyanga means oil massage in Ayurveda. One can do Abhyanga on his own as part of his daily routine for health. But service of a trained masseurs required for better results and in disease management functions in ayurveda & Panchakarma.
Sarvangadhara OR Parisheka treatment is pouring herbal oil all over the body except on the head.
Its a priceless gift of Ayurveda due to its psyco-somatic healing & the beauty here is this can be taken by both healthy and ailing people.
Dhara is one of the major oil therapies in Ayurveda. In this continuous pouring of warm medicated oil or herbal decoctions over the body is done for a fixed duration.
There are different types of Dhara such as Shiro Dhara, Ksheera Dhara, Sarvanga Dhara etc.
Kadivasti is a lumbo-sacral rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda, It is of retaining medicated warm oil over the lower back bordered with an herbal paste made of black gram seed. It is a general cure for almost all types of spinal problems and back pains.
Karnapooranam is an Ayurvedic treatment recommended for ear injuries and pains, headaches and stress. It is also effective against dizziness, vertigo and nausea etc. In this process lukewarm, purified medicated oil is gently poured into the ear & keeping for some time.
In Ayurvedic Ksheeradhara treatment Instead of herbal oil, herbal milk is continuously poured over the body for for a puricular duration. Ksheeradhara relieves stress, tension and anxiety. Ksheeradhara works like a charm to enhance the skin glow also.
Kashaya Vasti treatment in Ayurveda is the enema, using medicated decoction. It helps in removing gas & toxins for the purpose of body de-toxification in Panchakarma.
Padabhyangam is an Ayurvedic massage focusing on the feet that helps to strengthen the nerves and restore health to other parts of the body.
In Lepanam, medicines & herbal liquids are mixed in the form of paste (known as lepam), which is then applied to the affected parts of the body.
Kizhi or poultice that is densely packed with herbal ingredients and heated in warm herbal oil throughout the treatment.
In a Kizhi processed Herbal powders, leaves, lemons, meat, etc. are tied into poultices, warmed in oils and massaged on affected part or whole of the body in a standard rhythm.
It is useful in neuro-muscular–skeletal disorders, injuries, degenerative disorders and neurological problems etc.
Elakizhi is a type of sudation therapy using medicinal leaves. Leaves of tamarind, drumstick, Calatropis gigentica, etc are chopped and mixed with lemon, grated coconut, etc. depending upon the disease.
This mixure is fried in medicated oil and tied in a cotton cloth as boluses. It is then poured in a vessel containing oil to heat the ingredients. Then, a gentle massage with warm boluses is given for about 10 to 15 minutes. Major use of Elakizhi is in Arthritis treatment.
Njavarakizhi or shashtikashali pinda swedam
is a massage by cotton poultices filled with Navara rice cooked in the mixture of milk and herbal decoctions.
Njavarakizhi is immunity enhancing & used in rejuvenation therapy. Some of the benefits includes, Improves the luster and texture of the skin, reduce emaciation of the muscles, treats sexual disorders etc.
Anjanam is an ayurvedic eye therapy used to treat and enhance vision and prevent eye diseases by the application of herbal ointments. Anjanam also done to remove foreign bodies, itching and burning sensation in the eyes.
Kashya Dhara Therapy of Ayurveda is the continuous pouring of decoctions on the reuired part on the body. This treatment is mainly for treatment of skin and hair problems.
Shirolepam is the application of a paste of herbal formulations across the entire scalp and allowing the medications to permeate through the scalp for a specific period for more than one session. Shirolepam is an effective treatments in healing sleeplessness, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, certain psycho-somatic diseases, headache, mental illness, hypertension, sinusitis etc.
Yoni Prakshalanam is a therapy in Ayurveda for cleaning vaginal area with medicated oils. The treatment is prescribed to treat gynecological disorders, inflammation, infertility, erosion and provide strength to vaginal muscles. It acts like a purification process for genital organs to prevent fungal or yeast infections.
Snehapanam or Oleation Therapy is an effective Pre-Purification Therapy in Ayurveda which prepares the body to receive specialized Panchakarma treatments, Snehapanam characterized by the oral intake of ghee made from cow’s milk for internal purification. It is recommended to the patients with conditions like gastroenterological illness, arthritis, chronic constipation, psoriasis and others.
Shirovasti is one of the Ayurvedic treatments on head, and considered to be a palliative treatment than an eliminative one.
Here medicated oil is poured into the sleeve and allowed to remain on the pate for a while. Commonly used oils are Ksheerabala or Dhanwantaram.
In Thalam, a medicated paste is applied on the top of head & keping it for about 20 minutes. Thalam is proved to be a very effective treatment of conditions like insomnia, weak sight, skin problems, throat problems, migraine, etc
Thalam Improves memory and concentration power.
Udwarthanam is special therapeutic deep tissue massage using heated herbal powders. Classical treatises on Ayurveda explain this procedure as a daily routine.
Udwarthanam reduces fat tissue and weight, improves skin complexion, removes bad body odor and cleanses the skin.
Upanaha Sweda is the local application of herbal paste to get relief from pain associated with swelling on body parts.
By the act of Upanaha Sweda heat is trapped inside the body by preventing the heat loss through hair folicles (Romakupa). Upanahasweda is therapy taken prior to Panchakarma therapy.
Shirodhara in Panchakarma is a restorative therapy. In Shirodhara, warm, aromatic and Ayurvedic oil, milk or buttermilk will be rhythmically poured onto the forehead, stimulating the pituitary gland achieving instant rest, calm and rejuvenation.
Shirodhara is one of the most ancient and divine Ayurvedic treatments used to help the body to enter a state of deep relaxation.
In Urovasthi (Oil bath of Chest treatment) in Ayurveda is, specially prepared warm Herbal oil placed on chest inside a circle of black gram seed paste for a specific time.
Apart from many other benefits Urovasthi Improves circulation, Nourishes, strengthens and balance heart functions. Treats Asthma, bronchitis, Mild angina, Muscular chest pain etc.
Chavutti Thirummal (Foot Massage) is also known as Kalari foot massage. Chavutti Thirumal has been used for over three thousand years in India, became more popular because of the benefits it offers.
It's origin is from "Kalarippayattu" a traditional martial art of Kerala state in India. It was originally used by the practitioners of Kalarippayattu as a way to stay fit and flexible. The aim of the therapy is to restore overall balance of the body and it helps release stiffness in the joints and muscle spasm, Improves blood circulation.
Shiroabhyangam is a beautiful combination treatment of the Shirodhara and Abhyanga therapies of Ayureda. After giving Shirodhara treatment by gently drizzling warm medicated oil on the forehead for 45 minutes, a gentle but firm massage (Abhyangam) is given to the entire head, neck and shoulders with hand.
Benefits are deep relaxation, improved and enhanced sensor perception, improved blood circulation in the brain, strengthening hair roots and promotes natural detoxification of the lymph glands around the neck and armpits etc.
Marma massage is a therapy in Ayurveda where the vital points of the body are stimulated with mild pressure. The vital points of the body are known as marma in Ayurveda. Ayurveda says, there are 107 marma points in the whole human body. Marma massage helps to maintain health by cleansing ones' blocked energy. Benefits includes-Strengthens the organs & regenerates & nourishes the tissues, strengthens muscles and ligaments, Improves lymph & blood circulation, encourages good sleep & relieves stress etc.
Dhanyamla Dhara is a special kind of Ayurvedic massage in which warm herbal liquid is poured from a hanging vessel over the affected parts of the body. Some of the benefits are it Improves blood circulation & Immunity, Revitalizes the patient’s body, Relieves body pain and muscle spasms etc.
Ksheera Dhoomam is a classic Ayurvedic cleansing therapy of sweating. In this steam generated by heating cow’s milk with herbal medicine is applied on affected areas such of face and neck. Ksheeradhoomam is effective for facial paralysis, trigeminal neuralgia, pimples and other skin problems.
Mukhalepam is a simple Ayurvedic skin care therapy, application of freshly prepared facial creams and massaging them off after 30-45 minutes. This treatment reduces pimples, wrinkles, sagging skin through the facial massage.
Nethratharpanam is one of the most nourishing and rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapies for the eyes. Nethratharpanam involves bathing of the eyes in medicated ghee for approximately 15 minutes on each eye, here medicated ghee is made to stay over the eye inside a freshly made dough ring.
Podikizhi is an Ayurveda therapy, in this the body of the patient is fomented with cotton bags containing a mixture of black gram, horse gram, gingelly seeds & other vital powdered ingredients.
In Thakradhara therapy of Ayurveda herbal butter milk is poured over the body for a fixed duration of time. Takradhara is regarded as a cooling and refreshing therapy with benefits like improving sensory function, clean the skin, and relive stress and fatigue.
Pichu is one of the pre treatment therapies that are known as purvakarma. This is a palliative therapy for conditions of the head, spine, and cranial nerves, shoulder etc. A long, thick layer of cotton wool is soaked in warm medicated oil & kept on the required part of the body. Pichu therapy, also used for lower back pain, leg muscle pain, Migraines, Pelvic inflammation, Lumbar spondylosis, back pain, osteoarthritis, Joint pain etc.
Swedana is the process of inducing sweating with the help of steam generated from medicated decoctions. Usually the patients are making to sit inside a chamber by keeping head outside. When the tissues opens due to steam, toxins deep-seated in the body, can be expelled out of the skin. This helps reduce inflammation, promotes healing, and improves blood circulation and restoration.
Pizhichil known as the treatment for aristocrats because it was given only to the kings of ancient times and so it is also called "Kings' Treatment". Pizhichil is squeezing of medicated lukewarm oil through a cloth dipped inside the oil on the whole body along with soft massaging of body for at least 45 minutes. This promotes relaxation to the body by relieving stress. Improves the circulation and metabolism and thus restores health.
Lekhaneeyam is a special Ayurveda treatment for Obesity. In this a herbal paste is massaged on the body in an upward direction. Lekhaneeyam is to eliminate over body weight and fatty problems, basically it’s a therapy in Panchakarma slimming program.
Netraprakshalanam in Ayurveda is, making the flow of herbal decoction from the medial canthus to lateral canthus of the eye thereby cleaning the eye. This is followed by putting relaxing herbal eye drops.