Pizhichil ayurvedic treatment or 'Thaila Dhara' is a combination of two classical treatments: Snehana (oleation) and Swedana (sudation). Aimed towards rejuvenating and detoxifying the body, Pizhichil is a substantial stage of Panchakarma treatment in Ayurveda. During Pizhichil, a gentle, synchronized up and down massage with lukewarm medicated natural oils is carried out on all parts of the body other than the head. The procedure requires three trained therapists: one for warming the oil and the other two for pouring the warm medicated oil over the whole body or affected area. Pizhichil is administered in seven standard positions so that no area of the body is left uncovered.
Generally pizhichil is administered as part of other comprehensive wellness rituals such as Panchakarma. The procedure for pizhichil is only started after the thorough analysis of the current proportion of three 'doshas': Vata, Pita, and Kapha. Selection of herbs and oils will also be based on the amount of constitution. Small and constant stream of oil will be poured on your head and body in the beginning or in the middle of the procedure. Throughout the rituals, a cloth dipped in lukewarm medicated oil is squeezed over the patient’s body uniformly and then the oil rubbed smoothly over the body of the patient by masseurs on either side.
The session may take 1 hour including continuous oil pouring over the body, then rubbing and stimulating the skin using hands and special cotton cloths. Special caution has to be taken that the patient’s head should not sweat during the treatment. A cloth is tied over the forehead of the therapy taken to prevent oil from getting into the eyes. Generally, a pizhichil treatment session calls for three or four practitioners and 2-3 liters of medicated oil.
Oils used for Pizhichil are generally Chandanbala Laxadi oil, Ksheerabala oil, Shatavari oil, and Dhanwantharam oil. The Pizhichil procedure aims at inculcating these precious herbs and oils into the patient's body through pores on skin. The Malayalam word, Pizhichil, translates into English as "squeezing". The other names also include Sarvangadhara, Kaya Seka, and Thaila Dhara.
Pizhichil ayurvedic treatment is highly recommended for extremely high Vata dosha types, muscular tones, pains, rheumatic problems, osteoarthritis, insomnia, depression, and sexual problems.
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