Abhyanga means "to make all limbs smooth by oil". Ayurvedic oil massage is part of the pretreatment of Panchakarma. It is a soft body massage with herbalised oils "in the direction of body hair". It is performed in a synchronized way by two ayurveda technicians. It gives the following benefits:
Vagbhatt, one of the classical Ayurvedic scriptures, states: "Abhyanga should be done every day. It pacifies old age, fatique, excess of Vata, and alleviates problems esp. of the head, ears, soles and feet."
In Shirodhara a fine steady stream of a liquid is poured on the forehead. There are 4 kinds of Shirodharas: Taildhara (with lukewarm oil), Dugdhdhara (with milk), and Takradhara (with yoghurt), and Kvathdhara (with decoction).
The effects of Shirodhara come from two aspect of the treatment: First is the physical effect of the steady stream on the forehead. Second is the nature and contents of the liquid that is poured on the forehead. Among the benefits of Shirodharas are:
Shirodharas have a strong effect on impact on the nervous system by calming of the mind and all the sense organs. Recent research indicated also good effect in high blood pressure.
A cotton ring will be put around the head to protect the face and eyes. Then a piece of cotton cloth will be folded and dipped in medicated oil and put on the tip of the head.
Shiro Picchu has similar benefits as the other 3 head treatments - Shiroabhyanga, Shirodhara, and Shirobasti.
Herbalized lukewarm oil is poured into a special cap that is fitted on the head of the patient. The quality of the oil is according to the patient's disorder.
Shiro Basti has similar benefits as the other 3 head treatments - Shiroabhyanga, Shirodhara, and Shiro Picchu. The Ayurvedic scriptures state that Shiro Basti has the strongest effect among these 4 head treatments.
It brings benefits in
In Netra Tarpana medicated ghee is poured on the eyes in a little "pitch" (dam) that has been build around the eyes. This treatment is beneficial especially for disorders of Vata and Pitta doshas, like weakened eyesight, dryness of the eyes, conjunctivitis, etc.
Drops of lukewarm oil are put into the ears to counteract Vata disorders. It is also used to prevent deafness through the unctuousness of the hearing nerve. It is also helpful in alleviation of earache and tinnitus. It helps in removing malas (various waste products) from the ears.
Swedana is usually done after the body has been thoroughly oleated in Abhyanga. It induces sweating by exposing the body to herbalised steam. The heat of Svedana liquefies malas (certain body waste products) and doshas and helps the body to allow them to easily leave the body through the pores.
It cures stiffness, heaviness and coldness of the body.
It has similar effects as Svedana but the application is more localised. It is indicated for persons who need the effects of Svedana but without undergoing the full body heating up.
Patra Potli is a type of Svedana in which some herbal leafs and medicinal powders are used. The affected areas of the body are massaged with the help of boluses.
Among the benefits are:
Pizzichill is a type of oil bath. It is a procedure in which the whole body is profusely covered with lukewarm herbal oil. Two (or four) therapists are applying this treatment in a synchronized way.
Among the benefits are:
This treatment is a kind of Svedana but usually more effective than other types of Swedana because it involves three aspects that combine: oleation, sudation, and nutrition. During this treatment boluses filled with Shashtik rice are used. The rice is cooked with milk and herbal decoction until it becomes a pudding. Then it is applied externally with heat.
Navara Kiri is useful, for example, in:
Administration of medicines through the nose is called Nasya. There are several types of Nasya. It is a very potent treatment, esp. when considering that the nose is the door to the brain and therefore to consciousness.
An excess of doshas accumulated in the head, esp. in the sinuses, throat, and nose, can be very effectively eliminated by means of Nasya.
Among the benefits of Nasya are:
Directly after Nasya there might arise some heaviness in the head which might last for about 10 to 20 minutes after which it will disappear. For Nasya the following advice are adviced:
Udvarthan is a special massage with a paste made from medicinal herbal powders. The paste is applied over the whole the body and gently rubbed. It improves metabolism of the skin and fat tissues leading to reduction of fat. It brings freshness and vitality.
It is used in skin diseases, for improvement of complexion and blood circulation, in treating obesity, and for removal of dead cells from the skin.
The Ayurvedic Face Pack nutrifies and cleanses the skin of the face. The face pack consists of a combination of Ayurvedic herbs used according to the individual constitution. This rejuvenates and nourishes the skin by providing vitamins and minerals. It includes a soft massage, herbal steam, toning, and moisturizing. It makes the skin healthy, soft, and supple.
Towards the end of your Panchakarma you will have a final consultation with the Vaidya in which he will review and discuss the success of your Panchakarma. The Vaidya will also explain your Dinacharya (best daily routine) at home. Also, Rasayanas and other herbal preparations that might be necessary for your health will be prescribed to you.
The health and vitality from your Panchakarma should last as long as possible also in your daily living. It is therefore highly advisable to follow the principles of balanced life and nutrition also at home.
We wish you a great and healthy time in Rishi Ayurveda, Rishikesh!