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Panchakarma for Vigour and Vitality

Panchakarma, a branch of ayurveda, prescribes body massage with medicated oil for restoration of youth and vigour. These oil massages practiced in accordance with great works of Caraka, Sushruta and Vaghbhata tone up the circulatory system rejuvenating the body and reinjecting virility.

Prescribed in Carak Samhita, Sushrutha Samhita and Ashtangahrudaya, the special treatment of oil massages are being brought to many all over the country. The state of Kerala has imbibed the ayurvedic spirit to the hilt. Kerala has many Arya Vaidyasalas. Panchakarma Centre at Arya Vaidyasala, Kotakkal, Kerala is one besides many health centres, hotels and even backyards offering ayurvedic massages to suit every pocket.

Although the panchakarma treatment is especially practiced in Kerala, there are other panchakarma centres in Poddar Hospital, Mumbai and the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University.

Panchakarma Treatment

This is the age old practice prescribed in Ayurveda to restore youth. This treatment has been supported through intensive research and has received wide public acceptance. The process arrests degeneration of body cells, nerve debility and assures smooth flow of blood, reaching oxygen down to the very pores of the skin. A stream bath after the refreshing massage is said to open body pores, easing out toxins through the skin leaving one's skin tingling with joy.

Diagnosis in ayurvedic therapy is just by a look at the skin and a feel of the pulse known in ayurvedic jargon as technique of darshan, sparsha and prashna. According to the system, chronic ailments like arthritis, spondylitis, sinus, migraine are the illnesses of mind and body system combined so the treatment lies in ridding toxins from the system, soothing the nerves and relaxing tense muscles.

Administered by masseurs and masseuses who are specially trained in the technique, the herbal oil massages cast almost a hypnotic spell as one undergoes the treatment lying on the hard wooden beds made silky smooth with constant contact with oil. The wood itself is 200 years old. The contours of these beds are so designed to conform to body curvatures for complete harmony of body with the surface.

For those with nervous problems, the traditional methods of Dhara and Sirovasti are prescribed. In Dhara, even as the body is massaged, medicated oil is poured in a gentle stream like flow on the forehead and the head in a prone position.

Sirovasti is effective for sinus, migraine, deafness, facial paralysis and also to improve the eyesight. In this a leather cap is fitted on the patient's head with the prescribed medicated oil at a bearable temperature for 15 to 40 minutes, depending upon the severity of the attack. Administration of the treatment is closely monitored by the doctor.

Pizhichil is author type of special treatment for paralysis and polio. In this pieces of soft cloth dipped in warm medicated oil are squeezed all over the body by one masseur, while the other one gently massages the poured oil.

For improper muscle formation and hemiplegia a special treatment Navara Kizhi is administered. It is particularly beneficial for children suffering from polio with resultant deformities. In this a special type of navara rice, cultivated for medicinal applications, is used. Navara rice, cooked in cow's milk and a mixture of herbs is put in small linen bags, which are applied all over the body. The body is then wiped dry and a gentle oil massage is given. The course is of 14 to 21 days and is repeated, consecutively for another two years during the same period. Up to 50 per cent recovery is claimed during the first sitting of 14 days in children with leg deformities due to polio. Many children have been up on their toes after the full course of three sittings.

Slim and Beautiful

One can also avail of a unique "health and fitness programme" to get rid of excess weight without exercises and dieting at Kairali. "Herbal oil massages and ayurvedic medicines help in losing excess weight and streamlining the body in matter of a few weeks" says Gita. What is striking is the most natural, scientific and healthy method to shed off excess weight. The resident physician, Dr. Chandra Shekharan explains that reduction therapy eliminates accumulated toxins and aggravated humors from the body. In fact the aim is to eliminate factors that cause disease. During the herbal oil massage treatments for obesity for a minimum period of 14 days at Kairali, detoxification and toning of the skin go hand in hand, adds on the attending physician. The herbal oils help to liquefy toxins, so that these can be eliminated more easily. In tonification therapy oils are applied to nourish the body through the skin. The effects of such nutrients extend to the bones and nerve tissue for a direct penetration into the deeper tissues.

The weight loss treatment also aids in reducing cholesterol levels, prevents and maintains years of healthy, active and vigorous life. Thus, as the weight is being reduced by burning out fat, making the figure more proportionate, the tonification therapy imparts lustre to the skin, giving a young wrinkle free glow. A trial well worth the ayurvedic way.