Travel: Kerala - Where the drip, drip, drip on your forehead is far from torture...

AYURVEDA is the centuries-old Vedic herbal medical approach used in many parts of India. Kerala is its home, and the famous Aryavaidya Sala college and hospital is in the town of Kottakal.

The approach is holistic and bent on overcoming imbalances in body and spirit. It is based on diagnosing the "humours" of the body (wind, mucus, gall and, sometimes, blood) to achieve a balance. It makes use of 107 extremely sensitive areas (marma) of the body. Ayurveda has classified substances and chemical compounds based on panchabutas, the theory of five key elements. The trick, as anywhere, is to find genuinely capable doctors and hygienic clinics.

Treatments are available for many medical disorders and for toning and rejuvenating the body. Courses of sustained treatment are offered for periods of up to and sometimes more than a month involving massages with herbal oils and powders, administering of internal medicines, special diets, steam baths, yoga, and dripping of oils onto the forehead. Below is an Ayurvedic doctor's description of some of the available treatments.

In Pizhichil, lukewarm herbal oils are applied all over the body by two or four trained masseurs in a rhythmic way for 60 to 90 minutes daily for a period of seven to 21 days. Pizhichil is very useful for rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, sexual and nervous weakness and nervous disorders.

In Kizhi, herbal leaves and other herbs or herbal powders are applied to the whole body in boluses with hot medicated oils for 45 minutes daily for seven to 14 days. This treatment is for osteo-arthritis, sports injuries and spondylosis.

Navarakizhi is a process by which the whole body (or a specific part of it) is made to perspire by the application of medicinal rice puddings externally in the form of boluses tied up in a muslin bag. This is applied by two to four masseurs for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 14 days. This treatment is for all types of rheumatism, pain in the joints, emaciation of limbs, blood pressure, cholesterol and some skin diseases.

Dhara involves herbal oils, medicated milk and buttermilk being poured on the forehead using a special method for 45 minutes a day for seven to 21 days. It is mainly for insomnia, mental tension and certain skin diseases.

In Vasthi, certain herbal oils and extracts are applied through the rectum daily for five to 21 days. Vasthi is for arthritis, paralysis, numbness, gastric complaints, rheumatism and constipation.

Nasyam applies herbal juices and medicated oils through the nose for seven to 14 days. It is highly effective for certain kinds of headache, mental disorders, paralysis and some skin diseases.

Shnehapanam administers medicated ghee internally in a gradually increased quantity for seven to 14 days and is to combat osteo-arthritis, leukaemia, etc, and Rasayana is a special Ayurvedic vegetarian diet.

Normally, a course involves a combination of treatments. For example, Kayakalpa Chikilsa is offered as a 28-day body immunisation/longevity programme including Pizhichil, Nasyam, Shnehapanam, Rasayana, body massage, medicated steam bath, yoga, and several other treatments.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesChuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf