Podikizhi is one of the most common and effective Ayurvedic therapies for treating pain relief in the body. In Ayurvedic texts, this therapy has been classified under SwedanaChikitsa (sweat-inducing treatment)
Meaning of Podikizhi
Podikizhi is made up of two words, Podi and Kizhi. The word ‘Kizhi’ is an Indian Malayalam language word that means poultice or a pouch or a cloth which is folded in a way to carry something inside it. Podi means powder. Hence in short Podikizhi means a type of body massage done with the help of a bag full of herbal powder. Podikizhi is also called as ‘ChoornaPindaSweda’.
The massage with poultice is done over the affected area or the whole body as required.
There are many types of Kizhi therapies and the name depends on the type of herbs used in the poultice. These are Ela Kizhi, MuttaKizhi, NavaraKizhi, PodiKizhi etc.
Preparation of poultice (bag of herbs)
Generally, a white cotton cloth is used for making a poultice.
The most essential element of the Podikizhi treatment is the medicated powder of the dried herbs which is filled inside the poultice. The combination of herbs is decided according to the Prakruti and the current status of the disease of an individual. The various herbal powders which are used are Kottamchukkaadi, Nagaradi, Dashanga, Gruhadhumadi, Jatamayadi, etc.
Roots and barks of medicinal plants in powdered form are tied in a completely white and clean piece of cotton cloth to give it the shape of a bolus. The selection of herbal powder as stated before is done basis of the ailment being treated.
The idea in Pozikizhi therapy is to make the whole body or certain parts of the body sweat by the application of medicinal powders.
Once the poultice is prepared as mentioned above, the next step is to heat it. For this purpose, oil is taken in a pan and heated on the stove on low heat. The bolus is heated or dipped in hot oil and then is gently rubbed and pressed into the skin by the therapists in a synchronized, rhythmic motion.
When the temperature of the bolus starts to drop, a new bolus is used to continue with the treatment. The key is to ensure that the bolus is hot enough throughout the process. Fomentation takes effect when the patient begins to feel sweaty and light.
The therapy can also be done without the use of oil. Discretion of rubbing poultice with or without oil depends on the physician who considers many factors including imbalances in the Doshas of the person.
This treatment is followed by a steam bath. The duration of Podikizhi treatment is approximately an hour and the number of days of the treatment may vary according to illness.
Abhyangam(oil body massage) is generally performed before the Podikizhi treatment.
Benefits & Indications of Podikizhi
Podikizhi is a technique used in the management of various pain-related conditions affecting the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems.
In addition to treating arthritis and neuromuscular conditions, Podikizhi is also effective in treating paralysis, insomnia, obesity, and ageing.
Podikizhi can be effective in acute pain in the body parts with smaller bones such as feet, ankles, wrists, fingers, etc.
Swelling, immobility, stiffness, pain, and numbness in arms, neck, lower back, hips, spine, and knees can be cured. Pain because of sprained ligaments and cartilage tears can be arrested to a great extent.
Podikizhi can help in relieving soreness, swelling, sprains, and muscle strain. Podikizhi brings a glow to the skin and makes it appear youthful.
As mentioned earlier, the choice of herbal powder makes a difference in treatment. Depending on the condition of the disease choice of herbal powder is made. These herbal powders prepared by pounding the medical drugs have analgesic, anti-degenerative and anti-inflammatory properties as below:-
- KottamChukkadi herbal powder for treating inflammation and pain.
- Gruhadhumadi herbal powder for treating aches and inflammation.
- Ellumnishadi herbal powder for treating gout and swollen knees.
- Guloochipathradi powder for treating gout inflammation, aches and burning sensations.
- Jatamayadi powder for treating gout inflammation, and burning sensations.
- Rasnadi herbal powder for treating painful and swollen joints and the spine.
- Kolakulattadi herbal powder for treating stiffness, aches, and swelling.
- Dashanga herbal powder for treating oedema inflammation.