Ayurveda is one of the oldest known systems of medicine that originated in the Indian subcontinent. The principles of Ayurveda have been mentioned in the various Vedas including the Upaveda which is a part of the Rig-Veda and AtharvaVeda. It is mainly based on three fundamental principles of Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (earth and water). The principles of Ayurveda was used to treat various ailments and diseases.
In today’s age and period, Ayurveda has been used widely as an alternative therapy and treatment to cure many disease and relieve a person from stress. One of the forms of Ayurvedic treatment is Pizhichil. It is a type of Sarvangdhara where Sarvanga means the whole body and dhara means stream. Therefore, Sarvangdhara refers to pouring a stream of oil on the whole body. Moreover, the therapy is a combination of two treatments called Snehana (oil therapy) and Swedana (heat therapy).
The whole body is bathed in streams of lukewarm medicated oil with simultaneous warm message. It helps the body from illness and builds up immunity. It is extremely useful for rheumatic disease, arthritis, paralysis, sexual weakness, and neurological disorders, blood pressure, nerve weakness and helps in arresting the aging process. Other benefits include improved blood circulation, detoxification of the body, reduction in stress and depression and also sexual weakness.
The meaning of the word Pizhichil is squeezing and the procedure involves squeezing of the warm and heated oil from a cloth. However, the first step in Pizhichil usually starts with applying oil on the head and body of the person receiving the massage. Then a cloth is placed or tied over the forehead so that the oil poured on the head does not enter the eyes. The oil that is used in Pizhichil can be varied ranging from sesame oil to ghee to other types of thailams which are made by combining various herbal oils. The type of Ayurvedic oil used on a person depends on his or her medical conditions and requirements.
The massage is given by three or four masseurs depending on the medical conditions and requirement of the person receiving it. A gentle, synchronized massage of up and down stroke is carried out on all parts of the body except for the head. A cloth dipped in lukewarm medicated oil is squeezed over the patient’s body uniformly and then rubbed smoothly by the masseurs. Special caution has to be taken so that the patients head does not get sweat or the body gets cold during the massaging.
The person receiving the massage is usually required to change his positions seven times for optimal heat and oil therapy. A normal Pizhichil lasts for 60 to 90 minutes and is taken for a period of 7 to 21 days.
People suffering from muscular aches and pains, rheumatic problems, paralysis, osteo- arthritis, insomnia, depression and sexual problems are eligible for undergoing Pizhichil.
If a person is suffering from fever or indigestion, then he or she may not be able to undergo the treatment. Moreover, you ahould consult a doctor before undergoing the procedure.
Pizhichil does not have any side effects as such when done by trained professionals. If wrong methodology is used then a person can have complications like burning sensations, herpes, tiredness, hoarse voice, splitting paints in joints, vomiting, bleeding, fever, itching, skin rashes or irruptions.
Post Pizhichil procedure, the person is allowed to relax for a while. Ideally the body should not be exposed to cold or cold measures. The head is wiped off with a sterile cloth. After which the person is given another massage. Following which the person is asked to take a hot water bath.
Proper instruction should be followed in terms of food as while. Liquid or semi- solid food prepared with ginger, peppers and cumin’s should be eaten. Light digestible food always compliments a Pizhichil treatment. Other than this a person is advised to not do certain things like strenuous physical activities, exposure to sunlight, indulging in sexual intercourse and others.
Recovery will usually depend upon the period of the procedure but generally does not involve any downtime.
Pizhichil is a cost effective treatment that is offered across Ayurvedic centres in India. The price generally starts at Rs.1000 and go up to Rs.4000 but is depended on your medical conditions and requirements.
The results of the treatment are not permanent because it does not result in complete alleviation of the diseases or medical conditions that the person is having.
There are not alternate treatment for Pizhichil, as it is an Ayurvedic therapy used in lieu of conventional medicinal treatments.