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Ayurveda Therapies

by Ayurveda Therapist on June 25, 2011


Also known as oil bath, this is a rare and lavish Ayurveda treament that uses 3000 ml of warm medicated oil. It utilizes 2-5 therapists to provide a constant stream and rhythm of the oil as it is poured all over the body. This treatment leaves the patient feeling fully rejuvenated and completely relaxed.

It is mainly used in Vata disorders such as joint pain and degeneration of the body. It also yields good results in trauma, Parkinsons, Mulitple Sclerosis, and Muscular Dystrophy. It is good in the treatment of excess stress, depression, and for respiratory problems.

Contraindications: fever, indigestion & rheumatoid arthritis.

Time and duration: 45 to 90 minutes for 7-14-21 days


Podi → powder or choornam, Kizhi → sacks.
This is a dry pounding massage, also known as Choorna Sveda, which provides dry heat that is beneficial for Vata and Vatta-Kapha conditions. Podikizhi uses herbs tied in a muslin cloth to make small herbal satchels. These powder sacks are then heated and lightly pounded over the body or specific parts of the body as needed. The treatment is given for 45-60 minutes daily for 7-14 days as part of a Panchakarma treatment. This treatment can be done with or without oil.

Indications: This treatment is useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis, spondylosis, muscular cramps, obesity, swelling, diabetes, and low back pain. It especially useful for a person with a kapha dosha.

Contraindications: Pitta imbalances, strong pitta prakruti, psoriasis other skin diseases.

Powders: You will need at least four kizhis (2 for using 2 for heating), or 8 (4/4). (40 gm of each powder= 160 gm per Kizhi).
o Dill seed
o Fenugreek
o Mustard
o Grams (lentils, horse gram, black sesame seed)

Podikhizi is done before panchakarma because the doshas (impurities) are in the dhatus, or tissues. By this procedure the ama or impurities are removed from the tissues and go to the stomach and eventually out of the body.


Also known as dry powder massage, Udvarthana is a kapha and kapha-related conditions such as diabetes and obesity. The massage uses an herbal powder that is mixed with warm oil and massaged onto the whole body with special attention to areas of increased fat deposition. The massage strokes are performed in an upward direction that helps to melt the fat and create friction.

The powders used in Udvarthana are equal amounts of:
o Dill seed
o Fenugreek
o Mustard
o Grams (lentils, horse gram, black sesame seed)
Alternatively, you may choose to use Triphala powder in absence of other powders.

Indications: Very effective in obesity, hemiplegia, paralysis, skin diseases, impaired circulation and similar Kapha-predominant diseases. It also regarded as an excellent exfoliant leaving the skin glowing and smooth.

Contraindications: skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.

Kati vasti

Kati → Lumbar / low back.
Vasti → To retain / to hold.

Kati Vasti is indicated for chronic conditions. It is provided following Pichu to maintain the healing achieved in the acute phase of injury.

In this procedure, specially prepared warm medicated oil is kept over the lower back with herbal paste boundary. This treatment last for 40 minutes to 50 minutes per day for period of 7 to 14 days.

Indicated: This treatment is very effective in the treatment of herniated discs, sciatica, pelvic inflammation, lumbar spondylosis, chronic back pain and other spine-related disorders.

Contraindications: Rheumatoid arthritis, acute fever, diarrhea, varicose veins, after heavy food.

Other types of Vasti:
o Greeva vasti (cervical) – Cervical degeneration
o Janu Vasti (knees) – Osteoarthritis, tendonitis
o Hruth vasti (chest) – Heart and chest-related issues

Herbal oils: (especially for lower back problems)
Use 150-200 ml oil. Changing oil each three days.
1. Dhanwanthram thailam (175 ml.)
2. Sahacharadi thailam (175 ml.)
3. Karpooradi thailam (25ml)

Preparation of your own oil:
Start with 200 ml. of sesame oil and mix in six cloves or crushed garlic. Next, add 25 gm of rock salt powder. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. The rock salt removes stiffness and rigidity and helps oil to reach target area. Filter the oil to remove cloves/garlic pieces. You can substitute cinnamon for garlic or you can add eucalyptus oil with camphor to already heated oil. Add 1-2 drops of myrrh essential oil – good for pain relief.


Pichu → Cotton
Pichu is done to decrease inflammation and augment the healing process after acute injury. Pichu uses 2 to 3 layers of cotton soaked in warm oil and placed onto the area of injury. The bottom layer remains and the top layer(s) are swapped to maintain the heat. After Pichu, it is recommended to have a steam treatment with eucalyptus oil or camphor for 10 minutes to improve results.

Indicated: Like Kati Vasti, Pichu treatment is very effective in the treatment of herniated discs, sciatica, pelvic inflammation, lumbar spondylosis, chronic back pain and other spine-related disorders.

Contraindications: Rheumatoid arthritis, acute fever, diarrhea, varicose veins, after heavy food.

Herbal oils:
Use 150-200 ml oil. Changing oil each three days.
1. Dhanwanthram thailam (175 ml.)
2. Sahacharadi thailam (175 ml.)
3. Karpooradi thailam (25ml)

Manal Kizhi

Manal → Sand
Kizhi →Poultice

Sand sacks pounding massage. Sand should be medium-big texture like river sand. Don’t apply oil before treatment. Fry sand first with rock salt to remove water. Kizhi can be bigger or smaller depending on person/body parts. If there is pain apply mild pressure. Apply only on joints not in the skin.

Indications: Rheumatoid arthritis, good for winter treatment, big swelling of joints

Time and duration: 30-45 minutes for 7-14-21 days

Lemon Kizhi

Indications: Frozen shoulder, shoulder pain/stiffness, neck pain/stiffness, and cervical spondylitis.

8 lemons
½ grated coconut
10 grams turmeric
10 grams dill seed powder
100 ml sesame oil

1) Cut lemon into small pieces
2) Heat 50 ml oil and fry lemon until light brown
3) Add coconut
4) Add dill seed and turmeric
5) Make 2 Pounding Balls
6) Massage upper back, shoulder and neck with one ball at a time. The other ball remains in the pan to warm. Continuous massage (rubbing and pounding for 30 minutes)
7) Remove oils with cotton towel

Time and duration: 30 minutes for 7-14 days.

Note: Use caution with turmeric as it can stain skin when used continuous treatment. To avoid staining, avoid using turmeric and instead double the quantity of coriander.

Healing Properties of Lemon Khizi:
Dill seed –pain reliever
Turmeric – anti-inflammatory
Coconut – nourishing
Rock salt – removes obstructions
Lime – grounding earth quality of lime helps healing reach the bone/joint. Due to the heat properties it opens the channels of the body.

Nadi Swedana

Swedana → Steam
Swedanam means medicated steam bath. This treatment uses healing herbal leaves boiled to produce steam that is then passed to the whole body for about 10 to 20 minutes. The client lies down or sits in a steam chamber made from wood.

Steam may be prepared by using a pressure cooker:
o 6 liters pressure cooker (remove steam nozzle)
o 2 m of rubber tube
o Gas heater
o 100 gm of dasamoola root or use asafetida, cinnamon, trikatu powders or eucalyptus oil/leaves
o 1.5 liters of water

Heat until steam comes out, then wrap a towel around the tube and move it in circular motion a foot from indicated area. You can use steam for the whole body or locally. Treatment time is approximately 20 minutes.

Indications: This is very good for certain skin diseases, to eliminate toxins form body, to improve body tone, to reduce fat, decrease osteoarthritis, paralysis, bronchial asthma, neck and back pain, joint pain, sciatica, cough and certain nervous system disorders.

Contraindications: Jaundice, skin disease, fever, and diabetes.
Note: Avoid excess heat at eyes, brain, heart and genital organ.

Matra Vasti

Vasti → Herbal Oil Enema
Types of VASTI:
1. Anuvasana vasti (oil or ghee, 1200-2000 ml)
2. Niruha vasti (kashayam -1800-2000 ml)
Matra vasti is a part of anuvasana vasti but using less oil or medicated ghee (60-100 ml)

Indications: chronic constipation, urinary obstruction, skin discoloration, muscle wasting, loss of sensation in the skin, numbness, joint pain, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, insanity, osteoporosis, and other psychosomatic disorders.

Contraindications: Immediately after purgation, in a state of anxiety or when experiencing anger or fear, hemorrhoids, anemia, skin diseases.

Herbal oils:
o Sahacharadi mezhukupakam
o Dhanwanthram thailam
o Sesame oil – If the other 2 options are not available

Before applying you can do some gentle massage on stomach, lumbar and buttocks using warm oil. After this lubricate anus and tube before inserting. Use disposable syringes or a catheter. The oil should be held as long as the possible before it is released.

Before the treatment eat only a light meal. Following Vasti, it is necessary to wait 2-4 hours before the next meal and prefer light food and coriander tea. Otherwise, indigestion or fever may result. If the oil is not eliminated it will be absorbed and it not an issue.

Note: In chronic constipation 20 ml of castor oil enema should be taken in sterilized syringe mixing it with a little rock salt. This relieves constipation, increases skin complexion, and improves strength and memory power.

IMPORTANT: This information provided is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The content presented is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any disease or illness. For further information please seek in-person guidance from a medical or ayurvedic professional.

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