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Written by Dr Ashwini Konnur,
Probably the most popular as well as an important Ayurvedic treatment is the Kizhi, also known as Sankara Sweda or Pinda Sweda. Kizhi, a kind of fomentation therapy is done using a warm poultice containing herbs, herbal powders, rice or sand and massaged on the whole body or specific parts of the body to enhance, purify or rejuvenate the body, mind and soul.
There are several types of Kizhi, depending on the material or drugs used inside the bundle. The Kizhi massage therapy is a synchronized Ayurvedic treatment given to the whole body or part of the body. What goes inside can vary depending on one’s treatment/health concerns. Massaging is done with bundles, in the form of pounding with slight pressure or in circular motion on specific parts, which are made to sweat by the heat and the content of the bundle.
Kizhi is beneficial for conditions associated with Vata and Vata-Kapha such as osteoarthritis, spondylosis, muscular cramps, sprains, obesity, swelling, diabetes, low back pain and neuralgia. Kizhi is not advisable in conditions associated with pitta as it may aggravate pitta.
The different types of Kizhi are:
Patra Pinda Sweda is a treatment in which leaves of medicinal plants having analgesic, anti-degenerative and anti-inflammatory properties are used for fomentation of painful joints or body parts. In this treatment, the leaves of medicinal plants having are heated or fried in vatahara oils to tolerable temperature and tied into a bundle/ bolus with help of koura cloth. The bolus is heated in a pan or dipped in oils being heated at a constant low temperature. This bundle is rubbed or pounded over the affected body part. The temperature of the bundle is maintained constantly. Patra Pinda Sweda is used mainly to provide relief from pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness (catch) associated with bone, joint and or musculoskeletal pains.
The leaves which are generally used in Patra Pinda Sweda are – Fresh leaves of pain killing and vata alleviating drugs like Eranda (Ricinus communis), Nigundi (Vitex negundo), Arka (Calotropis gigantean), Chincha (tamarind), etc. along with other ingredients like Lemon, fresh coconut gratings, Rasnadi Churna, Haridra (Turmeric powder), Methika (fenugreek), Saindhava Lavana (rock salt), Eranda Taila (castor oil).
Patra Pinda sweda is always done after abhyanga (massage). Elai kizhi should be done with caution in patients suffering from Diabetes mellitus and Hypertension and it is contraindicated in severe varicosity of veins, deep vein thrombosis, fractures, fever and severe inflammatory condition. This treatment is usually combined with kati basti/janu basti/greeva basti/abhyanga for better results. Depending on the severity of pain the duration of treatment may vary from 7 to 14 days and each day it is carried out for 30 to 45 minutes.
Churna sweda is best treatment to provide relief from pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness associated with bone, joint and or musculoskeletal system. It is used in the treatments of osteoarthritis, gout, sciatica and pain associated with vata-kapha imbalance. Herbal powders having analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-degenerative property are used such as Kottamchukkadi Churna, Gruhadhumadi Churna, Jatamayadi Churna, Guduchipatradi churna, Rasnadi Churna, Kolakulattadi Churna, Nagaradi Churna, etc. The herbal powder are fried and processed in the herbal oils are tied in a sterile cloth. The upper free ends of the clothes are tied with strong thick threads so as to form a bolus. The massage to the affected area is carried out similar to that of Elikizhi.
Churna sweda gives immense relief from pain and inflammation. Sports injury and pain associated with ligament tear are also relieved from this treatment.
Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda is a form of sweat inducing massage treatment which improves muscle strength, rejuvenate and re-energize body. A special variety of rice that is grown in 60 days is used for the treatment purpose. This rice is processed in herbal decoctions and milk and then tied in a bundle to massage the whole body or afflicted part so as to provide heat to the pain afflicted joints or muscles. It is a strengthening and rejuvenation therapy. It gives nourishment to the depleting and degenerating tissues. It is the best treatment that is administered to those suffering from musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diseases associated with vata, pitta and rakta imbalance. This treatment is not good for condition associated with ama.
Navarakizhi is usually done with help of 2 therapists. Usually 4 to 6 rice bundles are used to massage the complete body in a synchronized manner. The rice bundle should be heated by dipping it in the herbal decoction of milk and this hot bundle is tested for temperature and used for the massage. The temperature of the bundles is maintained constantly and the cool bundle is replaced with the heated one whenever required. The complete procedure is carried out on the whole body with the patient lying down on the treatment table for duration of 45 min to an hour. Depending on the severity of the disease Navarakizhi is done for 7 to 21 days.
Apart from pain reduction and Navarakizhi treatment is very good for skin and enhances the peripheral blood circulation and soothes the nerves. Navarakizhi provides you with complete rejuvenation and relaxation.
Valuka Sweda is a form of fomentation method in which we use heated clean sand tied in a bundle to provide heat to the pain afflicted joints especially in diseases like Amavata (Rheumatoid Arthritis), Urustambha (stiffness of thigh and lower limbs), Medoroga (diseases manifested due to disturbances in fat metabolism) etc. Valuka Sweda is the best treatment when there is chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints that result in painful deformity and immobility, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet and ankles. When vata, kapha and ama dosha are predominant Valuka sweda is the best choice. Due to its dry heating property it liquefies the morbid kapha and ama and facilitates good circulation and clears the blocks. It improves the fat metabolism. It helps in reduction of inflammation and eases the joint movements. Sometimes instead of sand even powdered brick is used for treatment purpose and then it is called as Ishtika Sweda. It is used especially when there is pain in the heels such as in calcaneal spurs.
In this treatment, boiled egg and herbal powders together are made into a bundle and are applied to the whole body along with hot medicated oils. This is indicated in Muscular atrophy, muscular weakness, stiff joints, joint pain and sports injuries. Mutta Kizhi is very effective in facial paralysis and hemiplegia. The effect of Motta Kizhi is most often combined with treatment such as Basti (enema), Abhyanga, Kati Basti, etc.
In this Kizhi treatment wild lemon or normal lemon is used along with other herbs such as Methika churna (fenugreek powder), Shatahva Churna (powder of dill seeds), Haridra Churna (turmeric), Saindhava Lavana (rock salt), Lashuna (Garlic), Horse gram and grated coconut along with castor oil or any vata pacifying oil is used. These herbs are completely fried and made into a bundle and then used for treatment purpose. Naranga Kizhi is best in cervical spondylosis and pain due to frozen shoulder. It is often combined with Greeva Basti and Abhyanga to get better results.
All types of Kizhi help in pacifying aggravated vata thus providing relief from pain immediately. Kizhi improves the blood circulation due to its heat and helps in reducing the stress and tension in the muscles and joints. Kizhi is customized to suit ones ailment and body constitution to provide a complete relief from the agonizing pain. Kizhi along with other treatments like Basti, Virechana, Nasya, etc. is more effective. This Ayurveda treatment works in a unique way and gives you results that are beyond expectation.
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