Ayurveda hospitals are institutions that treat patients according to the principles of ayurvedic medicine. This is a system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. It is considered to be the oldest medical discipline in the world. Ayurveda hospitals treat patients using a combination of products and techniques tailored specifically for each patient. This differs greatly from western medicine, which uses a one-size-fits-all approach.
The goal of ayurvedic medicine is to balance and integrate the body, mind, and spirit. According to ayurvedic philosophy, this balance will result in health and happiness. In addition to employing substances and techniques to help patients achieve a state of balance, ayurveda hospitals treat specific mental and physical illnesses. Cleansing the body of toxic substances in order to restore physical harmony is an important part of the regimen.
Panchakarma is a system of cleansing the body used in ayurveda hospitals. The goal is to eliminate ama, or undigested food from the body. Techniques employed in panchakarma may include the use of oils administered nasally, massage, and enemas.
Ayurveda hospitals commonly offer various types of massage therapy. Snehadhara, or stream of love, is a type of massage where medicinal oils are poured on in a certain pattern and then massaged into the body. Another type of massage used in ayurveda hospitals is Njavara kizhi, named after a rice with medicinal properties. This rice is cooked with milk and herbal decoctions, then tied in cloth bags. The patient is then massaged with a combination of these bags and medicinal oils to tone the muscles and rejuvenate the body.
Udvarthanam is another type of massage used in ayurvedic medicine. In this technique herbal powders instead of oils are massaged into the body. Abhayangam is an ayurvedic massage technique where the masseuse strokes the body in a certain way to reduce the symptoms of specific ailments.
Thalapothichil is another treatment employed by many ayurveda hospitals. This treatment begins by gently massaging the face, head, and shoulders with medicated oil. Following this massage, a paste of crushed, medicinal herbs is layered on the head, then covered with a cloth for about 40 minutes. Thalapothichil is believed to reduce stress by cooling the mind and body.
Medicated herbal steam baths to purify the body are also often part of the regimen in ayurveda hospitals. When learning about ayurveda, one can see that herbs play a vital role. Some estimate that the herbal knowledge used in ayurveda has been around for 6,000 years, and it is believed to be as valid and efficient a system of healing today as it was when it first began.