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This is a write up giving a brief account of my experience with ARYA VAIDYA SALA – Kottakkal in Mallapuram District, Kerala, in connection with my 14 days PANCHAKARMA CHIKITSA (Treatment for rejuvenation) undertaken by me during 24th July to 6th August 2017.
The idea to attend this Ayurveda treatment came to me through my friend who has been attending this type of treatment for the last 7 years. Generally the admission is not that easy as patients are admitted and treated who are already registered and appointments taken well in advance. The ideal/suitable period for this type of treatment inJuly/August. In the Malayalam calendar this is called KARKIDAKAM month.
Therefore, as stated above I have no illness/problems but just for a rejuvenation of my body I attended this treatment. It is my ­firm belief that we should not go for treatment after a disease attacked our body. What is common with most of our people is that we go to doctors for getting treatment due to some ailment. They advise us to take all sorts of tests to ascertain the cause of illness. It is assumed that we normally take this route after the disease attacked us. Do we not service our motor vehicles periodically to ensure its trouble free driving? Yes of course when mechanical trouble starts we go to workshop to repair the fault. To sum up, after diseases attacks the body we consult the doctors and then the treatment is suggested by them. Generally speaking modern medicines treat the symptoms and suppress them. What we need is prevention and not just systematic treatment. Ayurveda addresses a medical condition by pulling it off its root. Ayurveda can treat, cure and above all, prevent ailment. It works on the immunity system boosting the body’s resistance to ailments. It goes with the old saying “prevention is better than cure”. Ayurveda is one of the most ancient remedies known to man.
Here in this hospital doctor first asked me for my profile and what problems I face to enable them to start the line of treatment. I simply told that I have no problem except the age related ones, which every human being face after attaining senior citizens certificate (70 plus) and I am a known type II diabetic patient. With the details of medicines that I am taking including insulin (combination), attending doctor suggested the following procedures:-
14 days were confined to PIZHICHAL, PINDASWADAM (NAVARA KIZHI) SHIRO DHARA, PICHU , VASTI (2 types – Sneha and Kashaya) as under:-
PIZHICHIL: It is only a modified form of Sarvangadhara. But only unctuous oils are used for it. Since it is not possible for common man to take such huge quantity of oil daily, this method was devised by the old physicians to get the same effect with a reduced quantity. Usually the quantity is four measures (one measure – 480 ml). As in the case of dhara of the body, this is also performed by four attendants, each managing the part patient’s body allotted to them. Senior Attendant, praying to Almighty applies oil on the head and shoulders and back of the body. Then folded cloth, a broad and thick as their palms, are supplied to each. The fifth attendant is for heating the oil and supplying it to them on regular intervals. As in the case of Dhara of the head, after anointing the head with the prescribed not so warm kuzhampu is applied all over the body. After massaging the body for a while in a sitting position, the patient is laid in the droni. Again the whole body is smeared with the Kuzhampu and then the above said old cloth pieces are dipped well in the remaining warm kuzhampu and squeezed over the body stroking the body with the hand all the time. The patients are to turn on their sides so that the left hands of the attendants can reach all parts. The massage is to be very gentle, without exerting much pressure with care not to miss any part. The utensil is to be heated every now and then and the collected kuzhampu is to be poured into it. Re-heating of the kuzhampu is untraditional, as the procedure is said to reduce the medicinal value of the medicine used. When it accumulates in the droni it is removed to another pot by dipping the cloth and squeezing them out. Flowing out through the hole of the droni is not allowed. If it is allowed to flow out, it will lead to waste. The kuzhampu is to be changed each day. The best way is not to use the kuzhampu again which is once used. But in cases, where there are no wounds, skin diseases, or diseases with dirty discharges, the usual practice in Kerala allows taking the clear part of the kuzhampu of the previous day and adding to it some fresh quantity to bring it to the required measure. This is continued for three consecutive days and on the fourth day, a completely fresh kuzhampu is taken for use. This is the maximum choice. The time limitations are exactly as prescribed for the dhara on the head. There is no need of emphasizing again on the necessity of good experience for the attendants in this field so that no part of the body is left untouched by their hands.

SHIRO DHARA: (Murdhanya Dhara)
Dhara is a method of the Kerala’s special treatment evolved from the genius of the medical tradition here. This treatment is good for almost all diseases. Changing the liquid as per the dosha condition with necessary alterations in its process, necessitate the dosha alleviation. For a healthy man, yamaka (mixture of oil and ghee) is preferred as per tradition. Therefore, alternate of oil/ghee mixing is the discretion of the physician.
Generally, there are three varieties of dhara. They are mainly grouped as murdhanya (on the head), sarvangina (all over the body)and pradesika (local). The most important of these is murdhanya. It is employed for various diseases. The other one is sarvagina. It is to be done in sarvagina vata (vata affecting the whole body), sarvagina sopha (anasarca, swelling all over the body), etc. Pradesika or local dhara comes as the third in importance. This is done locally in case of rheumatoid arthritis, swelling, ascitis, abscesses, wounds etc.

SIROVASTI (VASTI FOR THE HEAD)
This is the most important of all external uses of sneha and is a rather major treatment. This gives extra ordinary relief from all ailments connected with vata in the head, extreme head ache, suryavartta, vata – oriented cataract, ear ache, humming in the ears, deafness, facial paralysis, dryness of the mouth or nose, numbness of the head and particularly all ailments based on the cranial nerves. I understand that foremost is the oil specially prepared for the ailment, none is more important, generally, kshirabala or dhanvantaram tailam (of different potencies) suitable in all vata ailments is used.
PROCEDURE FOR SIROVASTI
The patients head is cleansed with application of mild warm oil and swedana is done after sitting on a stool. A piece of cloth is tied around the head (just above the ears) and the cap is fixed. The cap is made of stiff, smooth buffalo or cow hide, both ends open. It should be about 12 fingers in diameter – it should stand up four finger girths from the patient’s crown when fitted. A paste made of black gram is applied on the forehead around the cap to avoid any leakage of oil from the head. The duration is fixed on the basis of the doshas. Acharyas have fixed the duration of treatment ranging from 53 minutes to five minutes depending upon the ailments of the patients.

PINDASVEDAM (NAVARAKKIZHI)
Known as navarakkizhi in Malayalam, this is the most important sveda method, used in hemiplegia, opisthotonus, emprosthotonus, wasting paralysis and other chronic vata diseases. This is most effective in gulma and colic. Very efficacious wherever seating is prescribed.
Equipments used for this is rice made raw from grins over a year old. Anpit 3/4kg of this is cooked near dry in 32 litres of milk and bala root decoction and tied up in 8 equal cloth buyndles. They should not be very tight. The other items are undiluted milk and bala decoction. (The roots are cut fine crushed and cooked in water 16 times the medicine, until only a fourth is left and then strained). All other items like oil, kuzhampu, headband (vartti), dhara droni, pillow, lamp and others for bath as in dhara. A stove (kept at a distance to avoid smoke), a pan to heat the bundles, spoon and ladless and underwear cloth, string to tie it, are required. There must be 5 attendants and a physician.
Snehavasti and Kashayavasti (Vasti with decoction).
These are administered in the prescribed method without any problems to me. If one day Snehavasti is done subsequent day Kashayavasti done. The advantage of vasti are : “vayu is capable of expelling faeces, kapha, pitta and all unwanted suff and destroying their bases; there is no way other than vasti of pacifying vayu when it is greatly excited, many consider vasti as half the entire range of treatment and some as the complete range.”
The above treatment is within the ambit of panchkarmas (treatment in Ayurveda) with their preparatory and concluding formalities, which are the specialties of Kerala. It discusses all important aspects of the maintenance and promotion of health, such as regimen, diet and the suitable time and place for treatment.
The Pizhichil and Dhara shakes the impurities in the body and the Vasti removes the same from the body. Thus during the course of treatment the impurities in the body is removed from the body and thus attains good health.
quantity of oil daily, this method was devised by the old physicians to get the same effect with a reduced quantity. Usually the quantity is four measures (one measure – 480 ml). As in the case of dhara of the body, this is also performed by four attendants, each managing the part patient’s body allotted to them. Senior Attendant, praying to Almighty applies oil on the head and shoulders and back of the body. Then folded cloth, a broad and thick as their palms, are supplied to each. The fifth attendant is for heating the oil and supplying it to them on regular intervals. As in the case of Dhara of the head, after anointing the head with the prescribed not so warm kuzhampu is applied all over the body. After massaging the body for a while in a sitting position, the patient is laid in the droni. Again the whole body is smeared with the Kuzhampu and then the above said old cloth pieces are dipped well in the remaining warm kuzhampu and squeezed over the body stroking the body with the hand all the time. The patients are to turn on their sides so that the left hands of the attendants can reach all parts. The massage is to be very gentle, without exerting much pressure with care not to miss any part. The utensil is to be heated every now and then and the collected kuzhampu is to be poured into it. Re-heating of the kuzhampu is untraditional, as the procedure is said to reduce the medicinal value of the medicine used. When it accumulates in the droni it is removed to another pot by dipping the cloth and squeezing them out. Following out through the hole of the droni is not allowed. If it is allowed to flow out, it will lead to waste. The kuzhampu is to be changed each day. The best way is not to use the kuzhampu again which is once used. But in cases, where there are no wounds, skin diseases, or diseases with dirty discharges, the usual practice in Kerala allows taking the clear part of the kuzhampu of the previous day and adding to it some fresh quantity to bring it to the required measure. This is continued for three consecutive days and on the fourth day, a completely fresh kuzhampu is taken for use. This is the maximum choice. The time limitations are exactly as prescribed for the dhara on the head. There is no need of emphasizing again on the necessity of good experience for the attendants in this field so that no part of the body is left untouched by their hands.
Normally after the treatment is over they suggest to continue the massaging (self) for a minimum period of two months. I would like to write that during my stay, I have come across many people who have come with acute problems of pain in the back, knee, and all other types which they have not been able to get good results in allopathy. The patients come all over India and also abroad on regular basis. There is no system of emergency admission as normally in Ayurveda it does not happen. Diet is really to be adhered to strictly to get good results for the treatment. The Hospital has got is also equipped with good restaurant and other amenities like Library, travel desk and also temple adjacent to the Center.
(source CHIKITSA SAMGRAHAM BY VAIDYARATNAM P.S.VARIER)

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