introduction to Ayurveda

History of AyurvedaIn our culture, the human body is considered the temple in which your soul resides. So, we need to take good care of the body so that we not only have a healthy life but also seek the truth and enlightenment. Ayurveda is the science of life, and one of the oldest scientific medicinal systems in the world.
Basic Theory of AyurvedaAyurveda takes a holistic view of health. A human being who is part of the universe is composed of the same elements as nature: fire, earth, air, water and ether. The tridosha (or three elements) theory is the basis for Ayurveda. The tridoshas comprise Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water). In general terms, vata is considered to be present below the navel, pitta is present between the heart and navel and kapha is positioned in the chest, throat and head area. The tridoshas in their balanced state keep the body fit and young. In Ayurveda, physical well-being is considered only a part of total health. Mental and spiritual health is also equally important.
Massage Therapy & its popularity in Karalla, Southern IndiaAyurvedic practitioners have long prescribed the use of natural herbs, essential oils and massage in treating several diseases. Pastes of herbs or medicines, which permeates the skin, are applied to the body. These reach different tissues, blood and other elements in the body.
The southern state of Kerala has become an ideal destination for all patients seeking ayurvedic massage treatments. Kerala’s climate, natural abundance of forests with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants, availability of trained ayurvedic doctors and masseurs has made it a favorite destination market for patients. The monsoon season is ideal since the atmosphere is dust-free, and the temperature is cooler. Two therapists, who work in perfect synchrony, generally conduct the massage. A herbal steam bath and a warm shower follow. A medicated steam bath after the massage treatment is ideal to detoxify your body. Eucalyptus or lemon grass essential oils are used in the bath. The steam bath improves circulation by vasodilation, which opens the pores in the skin, and absorbs the medicinal properties of the herbal oil, eliminates impurities through sweating, and relieves stiffness and pain.
All the massages are done with herbal oils. These oils are made from herbs, which have healing properties. The oil is not only a medium, which makes it easy for the smooth application of the massage strokes; it is also a carrier of medicinal properties of the herbs. Gingelly, coconut or sesame oils and ghee are generally used.
Some of the common herbs used in the treatment are: Brahmi, which improves focus and calms the mind. It promotes better quality of sleep, enhances memory and helps you withstand stress. Amla, Bhringaray, Tulsi, Aswagandha, Sandlawood, Triphala, Hibiscus, Eucalptus and Lemon Grass are the other common herbs used in the oils.
The therapeutic massage treatments stimulates the nervous and immune systems, cleans and improves the quality of your skin, soothes your aching muscles and joints, and calms your mind totally. Besides the massages, which promote general health, special massages are used to treat ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, hypertension, paralysis, nervous debility, sinusitis etc.
Types of Massage TherapiesElakizhi: is recommended for muscle pain, joint pain or sports injuries. This treatment begins with the rubbing of sesame oil on the body. Then a poultice is made of fresh medicinal herbs. The poultice in dipped into hot boiling oil. The hot poultice is then applied all over the body for an hour. The heat soothes the muscles and joints. You have to take a warm bath an hour after the treatment.
Shirodhara: herbal oil is added to medicated milk or buttermilk, and is poured on the forehead continuously. This treatment is given for an hour and it relieves mental tension, headache or migraine and relaxes your mind and body. Ideally, sandalwood paste is applied to the forehead and a cloth is wrapped over it. Simultaneously, your body is lightly massaged. Eyes are blindfolded. The smooth flow or dhara of the milk or buttermilk totally relaxes you.
Chavutty Thirummu is a massage given by the foot. After a mild massage by hand, the body is massaged with the feet of the experienced and well-trained masseurs.
Udwarthanam is a treatment where a combination of various medicinal powders is rubbed in an upward direction. This treatment helps you in reducing your weight and controlling cholesterol. It also strengthens muscles and tightens loose skin.
Abhyangam promotes blood circulation. Medicated oil is applied all over the body and a mild massage is given in five different postures.
Pizhichil is excellent in the cure of rheumatism and nervous disorder. Luke warm herbal medicinal oil is poured continuously over the body.
Njavarakizhi is also used in the treatment of rheumatism and nervous disorders. Medicinal pudding is applied all over the body, and gently removed after an hour.
Shirovasthy is effective for memory ailments, disturbed sleep and nervous disorders. Here luke warm oil treated with herbs is maintained on the head by using a cap fixed around the head.
Nasyam is very effective for ailments above the neck like sinusitis, headaches, congestion etc. Here, luke warm medicated oil is poured into both nostrils for cleaning the nasal cavities.
Tharpanam is ideal for the treatment of the eyes. Here medicated oil or ghee is applied over the eyes carefully.
Panchakarma treatment involves abhyanga, svedana (sweating), shirodhara and evacuative nasal medication or kriyas.
Pinda Sewdna relaxes the body, and also deep cleanses the skin. Here, a mixture of rice boiled in milk and herbs is massaged into the client‚s tissues and joints.
So, Ayurvedic massage treatments are extremely useful for your health, but only if conducted under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic doctor, use of the pure and natural oils and herbs, right environment, experienced therapists and the use of the right treatment for your body type.