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Kizhi-Procedures, Side effects, Recovery time, Costs and alternatives

Last Updated: Jul 05, 2024

What is Kizhi?

Kizhi is an ayurvedic massage that is done with the help of small and warm bundles that may contain herbal powders and medicines, medicinal rice or sand. It helps in providing relief from pain and relaxes the muscles, so it’s used to treat conditions like arthritis, spondylitis, fibromyalgia, any type of rheumatism, and general or chronic pain in any part of the body. It is also claimed to improve circulation and skin complexion, as well as delay the signs of aging.

The treatment mainly includes the application of the bundles or pouches of medicinal herbs on affected areas of the patient’s body, followed by massage with hands. By applying heat and pressure on the body, it helps the muscles to recover and boosts blood circulation. This process also focuses on inducing perspiration in the patients, which will cause toxins in the body to be released with the sweat. Along with being a treatment for some conditions, it’s also good for general relaxation.

Kizhi is divided into a few categories, depending on the ingredients used in the pouches. The different types of Kizhi are:

  • Ela Kizhi: In this treatment, the bundles include leaves of medicinal plants and herbs mixed with warm medicated oil.
  • Navara Kizhi: This method uses bundles made from a special rice called Navara, prepared with milk and herbs.
  • Mutta Kizhi: Here, the pouches are packed with boiled egg yolks and herbs that is dipped in medicated oil.
  • Podi Kizhi: This is a type of Kizhi that used cotton bag pouches filled with different herbs in powder form.

The type of Kizhi to be used on patients is determined by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner after observing the patient’s condition and the ailment for which the patient requires treatment.

How is the treatment done?

Though there are different types of Kizhi, the difference lies only in the ingredients used for making the medicinal pouches. The basic procedure of treatment is the same irrespective of the type of Kizhi. Steps involved in the treatment procedure are explained below.

  • First, the ingredients are prepared and tightly packed in a bundle of cloth.
  • The bundle is dipped in hot medicated oil. However, milk is used instead of oil in case of Navara Kizhi.
  • The bundle is then placed on different parts of the body and appropriate pressure is applied.
  • Then the patient is massaged with hands, focusing mainly on the affected body parts of the patient.
  • The intensity of pressure to be applied during the massage depends on the condition for which the patient is being treated.
  • The patient’s body absorbs the medicinal ingredients during the application of the message, which works to heal the body and provide relief from pain.
  • The overall process might take 45 minutes to an hour, and the process is repeated everyday for a duration of 7 to 14 days.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Those suffering from inflammatory and pain inducing conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, cramps, and chronic pain in the muscles or any other parts of the body can be treated with Kizhi, and are thus eligible for this treatment. There aren’t any preparatory measures that need to be followed before the treatment. The ayurvedic doctor or practitioner will observe the general condition of the patient, enquire about the ailment that the patient is suffering from, and then proceed with the treatment accordingly.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who have some sort of Pitta imbalance may not be eligible for this treatment. In Ayurveda, Pitta imbalance basically refers to problems with the digestive system and metabolism of the body. Those who are suffering from skin disorders like hives, psoriasis and allergies are also not eligible for Kizhi treatment. As a general precaution, this treatment may not be recommended to people suffering from hypertension, enlarged lymph nodes, fungal infections and fever, flu or cold. It is also not suggested for pregnant women. If there are any other conditions that prevent a person from getting this treatment, it will be determined by the Ayurvedic doctor.


Are there any side effects?

Being an Ayurvedic treatment that only involves herbal/natural ingredients and massage, there aren’t much side effects associated with it. Some patients may experience excess sweating and fever, but it will subside quickly.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Following guidelines are to be maintained after the treatment:

  • Recommended to sit for a herbal sauna session for a few minutes after the massage.
  • Do not take a bath or soak yourself immediately after the treatment.
  • Take rest for sometime after the treatment and don’t rush into daily activities immediately.

If the patient does not get relief even after completing the entire course of treatment, then it is recommended to visit a hospital as soon as possible. This is to ensure that they are not suffering from conditions that require immediate surgical treatment.

How long doesit take to recover?

Since this is not an invasive, surgical procedure, the patient does not need to go through a recover period and can resume their daily routine just a few hours after treatment. In fact, patients usually feel fresh and rejuvenated after a Kizhi massage.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The sole cost of Kizhi treatment lies in the range of Rs.2500 – Rs.5000. But since this treatment is provided in special Ayurvedic centres, patients may also have to incur the expenses for travel, lodging, food and other extra services required during the course of treatment.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Unlike the allopathic treatments, Ayurvedic treatments are focused more on natural healing. So while the treatment is effective and can provide immediate relief, it cannot guarantee a permanent result. For the best results and long-term benefits, patients will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise and proper diet and may also need to undergo Kizhi treatment at least once a year.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

If Kizhi treatment fails to bring satisfactory results in patients, then the best alternate is to approach allopathic or surgical treatment, depending on the condition that the person is suffering from. While such treatments may not be a pleasant experience, their effectiveness has been medically proven.

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Written ByDr. Tushar ChipraBachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)Ayurveda
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