Kerala Ayurveda stresses on the prevention of body ailments in addition to curing them with holistic Ayurvedic treatments. Kerala is the hub of Ayurvedic treatment in the country. It is the only state in India, which practises this system of medicine with absolute dedication. The people of the state enthusiastically safeguard and promote their ancient system of treatment to make sure that it is not lost amidst the modern day development.
The calm climate and the availability of desired herbal and medicinal plants have contributed to make Kerala the ‘Land of Ayurveda’. The herbs of Kerala have a special strength due to its unique geographical position and tropical climate. The best season to take Ayurvedic treatment in the state is the cool monsoon season as it is considered that the rain cleanses the environment from dust to the maximum in this season thereby allowing the body pores to open up and become friendlier to herbal oils and therapy.
History of Kerala Ayurveda
Agasthyakoodam, a legendary herbal mountain near Neyyar Dam, is considered to be the abode of Sage Agasthya, the foremost among the Siddhars who developed the Siddha medical system. The herbal-healing culture, which spread around this mystical herbal mountain, gave birth to a very potent branch of Ayurveda, which is found in southern Kerala. Kalari system contributed to the growth of Ayurveda in northern Kerala.
Legend has it that when Parashurama created Kerala, it consisted of 18 city-states with 18 kings to rule over them. Each city-state also had a family that practiced Ayurveda and other traditional healing systems in order to look after king and his subjects. These medical practitioners were known as "Ashtavaidyans", meaning doctors trained in the 8 branches of Ayurvedic Medicine. They were the torchbearers of the 5000-years-old Ayurvedic healing system in Kerala.
Various Treatments in Kerala Ayurveda
Kerala Ayurvedic treatment helps the individual to maintain health by using the inherent principles of nature to bring the individual back into balance with their true self. The Ayurvedic Treatments offered in Kerala includes the following:
Njavarakizhi: It is a process by which the whole body or any specific part is made to perspire by the application of certain medical puddings externally in the form of Boluses tied up in muslin bag. 2 to 4 therapists apply this for about 60-90 minutes per day for a period of 14 days. This Treatment is for all types of rheumatism, pain in the joints, emaciation of limbs, high blood pressure, cholesterol and certain kinds of skin diseases.
Abhyangam: Special type of oil massage in which strokes are given according to the diseases for 45 minutes per day for 14 days. This treatment is very useful for obesity, diabetic gangrene, etc.
Kizhi: Herbal leaves and powders are applied to the whole body in boluses with hot medicated oils for 45 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 14 days. This treatment is for osteoarthritis, arthritis with swelling, spondylosis, sports injuries, etc.
Udvarthanam: This is a typical massage with herbal powder for about 30 to 45 minutes daily for a period of 14 to 28 days. This treatment is for the diseases like hemiplegia, paralysis, obesity and certain rheumatic ailments.
Pizhichil: In this treatment, lukewarm herbal oils are applied all over the body by 2 to 4 trained therapists in a special rhythmic way continuously for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is very useful for rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, paralysis, sexual weakness, nervous weakness and nervous disorders, etc.
Sirodhara: In this process some herbal oils, medicated milk, medicated butter milk etc, are poured on the forehead in a special method of about 40 minutes in a day for a period of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is mainly used for insomnia, loss of memory, headaches, mental tensions and certain skin diseases.
Basti: In this treatment certain herbal oils; herbal extracts, etc. are applied through the rectum daily for a period of 5 to 25 days. This treatment is effective for arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness, gastric complaints, rheumatism and chronic constipation.
Sirovasthi: Certain lukewarm herbal oils are poured into a cap fitted on the head and held for 15 to 60 minutes per day according to the patient’s conditions for a period of 7 days. This treatment is highly effective for facial paralysis, dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat, severe headaches and other diseases of the head.
Nasyam: In this treatment certain herbal juices, medicated oils etc, are applied through nose for 7 to 14 days. This treatment is highly effective for certain kinds of headaches, paralysis, mental disorders, some types of skin diseases, etc.
Snehapanam: In this treatment, medicated ghee or oils are given internally in proportionally increasing quantity for a period of 08 - 12 days. This treatment is very effective for osteoarthritis, psoriasis, chronic constipation, haemorrhoids, etc.
Dahanyamla Dhara: Warm herbal liquid is poured all over the body in rhythmic way using a special vessel. This is done for 45 minutes to 01 hour daily. This treatment is very effective for hemiplegia and paralysis.
Ksheeradhoomam: This is a special procedure in which a mixture for medicinal decoction and cow milk is heated and the steam thus liberated is passed to a tube and applied over the affected area or whole body. This is found very effective for facial palsies, speech disorders and various nervous disorders.
Thalam: A special powder mixed with medicated oil is applied on the top of the head for 20 to 45 minutes. This treatment is helpful for curing ENT problems, insomnia, migraine, etc.
Lepanam: This is a process in which medicated herbal paste is applied on the affected part. This is useful for various types of inflammatory conditions, skin diseases, arthritis, gout, etc.
Thalapothichil: Various medicinal herbs selected according to dosha predominance is made into a paste and applied to the scalp for 30 to 45 minutes. This treatment is good for insomnia, premature greying and other problems of the hair and scalp.
Sukhanidra: This treatment program is very much helpful for conditions like insomnia, anxiety and it improves immunity and self-confidence. It includes body massages, shirovasthi, ksheeradhara, thailadhara, thalam, thalapothichil and internal Ayurvedic medicines, yoga and meditation.
Ayurvedic Centers in Kerala
Trivandrum, Kottayam, Kochi, Kollam, Ernakulum, Idukki, Alappuzha, Munnar, Kumily, Kumarakom, Thrissur, Kovalam, Varkala, Kottakkal, Kappad are some of the places, where numerous centres of Kerala Ayurvedic treatments are found.