Treatments in Ayurveda
Ayurveda uses a wide range of treatments as part of a treatment plan. Treatments can broadly be put into two categories– Pacifying (Samana Chikitsa) and Purificatory (Shodhana Chikitsa). Pacifying treatment involves herbs, diet lifestyle changes and is the best place to start for most people. It is the best way of pacifying the Doshas and helping the body return to a state of balance. Purificatory treatment involves deep cleansing techniques that are best experienced in clinical conditions where the process may be overseen by a practitioner. The following treatments may form part of a pacifying approach but also a more extensive purificatory programme:
1. Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Massage)
Massage is a powerful way of bringing the Doshas back into balance, particularly Vata Dosha. Generally, an Ayurvedic massage will stimulate the circulation by working on the Marma points (similar to acupressure points in Chinese medicine) and the nadis (similar to Chinese meridians.) A copious amount of herbal oil is also used to ensure proper absorption. Herbal oils also help to draw toxins and Doshas out of the deeper tissues and encourage them back into the digestive tract for elimination.
2. Svedana (Sudation using Heat treatments)
The application of heat after an oil massage is essential to further loosen the toxins and help eliminate them from the body. Heat can be applied locally (steam hoses and poultices) or generally (e.g. sauna/ steam room).
One of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments is Shirodhara– the pouring of warm liquid over the forehead. Shirodhara is great for stress relief and anxiety. It can also be helpful in other conditions related to the head.
This treatment consists of a head and neck massage, heat treatment and the application of nasal drops. It is beneficial in most cases of migraine and depression.
5. Kati Basti
A specially prepared ring of dough is placed over the lumbar spine and warm oil is continuously poured inside it. This is a wonderful treatment for a variety of back problems including sciatica and prolapsed disk.
6. Heart Dhara
A specially prepared ring of dough is placed over the heart and warm oil is continuously poured inside it. This treatment can support those suffering from heart conditions such as angina or palpitations. It is also useful for emotional problems