If you’re suffering from sore muscles and joint pains, you might just benefit from an Elakizhi treatment. This Ayurvedic therapy boasts many health benefits, but it’s particularly known to ease muscle and joint stiffness. It’s an ancient treatment that uses herbal leaves in a muslin bag to induce sweating.
In Ayurveda, arthritis, weakness, fatigue, and other body aches are caused by dosha imbalance, particularly an excess of Vata dosha. Doshas are body energies that affect how we live, act, and think. Elakizhi can help restore the dosha balance by pacifying the Vata dosha aggravation in our bodies.
In this article, we’ll learn more about Elakizhi treatment and how it can benefit your overall wellness. We’ll also go through its steps and methods. We’ll understand why many people turn to this therapy to heal their bodies, minds, and spirits.
What Is Elakizhi Treatment?
Elakizhi comes from the Sanskrit words “Ela,” meaning fresh leaves, and “Kizhi,” meaning bolus, potli, or poultices. As the name suggests, Elakizhi uses warm poultices, or pouches, filled with fresh herbal leaves and oils.
During the process, it induces sweating to eliminate toxins and ease body pains. Ela or fresh leaves wrapped inside potli help pacify Vata dosha aggravation, restoring your body’s energy flow.
Elakizhi is often part of the Ayurvedic panchakarma treatment, the five therapies of complete detoxification and purification of the body. However, it can also be used as a stand-alone treatment, particularly if you have pain in a specific body part.
This Ayurvedic treatment has many benefits but is highly effective for ailments affecting the bones, joints, and nervous system. It is often useful for various types of arthritis, frozen shoulders, sports injuries, and other body aches. We’ll get to learn more about these amazing benefits in detail below.
Elakizhi Treatment Step By Step
The Elakizhi treatment is performed following the 7 postures of Ayurvedic abhyanga or full body massage. The poses are beneficial to ensure that your body gets the full benefit of the treatment. Here are the 7 positions you should follow:
- Position 1: Extend your legs while sitting on the massage table.
- Position 2: Lie down flat on your back (supine position).
- Position 3: Lie on your left side and turn to the left (left lateral position).
- Position 4: Lie face down on your stomach (prone position).
- Position 5: Lie down on your right side (right lateral position).
- Position 6: Repeat position 2.
- Position 7: Repeat position 1.
Here are the different steps that you will go through during an Elakizhi treatment.
- Step 1: Since Elakizhi is an Ayurvedic healing treatment, you should start with deep breathing. Clear your mind from negative thoughts and fill it with positive energy.
- Step 2: Prepare the potli or warm medicinal bags. Collect and chop fresh leaves from plants with Vata pacifying properties like coconuts, turmeric, lemon, etc. We’ll learn more about these herbs in detail below.
- Step 3: The leaves are fried, divided into four parts, and placed in a linen cloth to form potli or small bags. The bags are placed in a heated vessel during the process to keep them warm.
- Step 4: You first get a 15-minute abhyanga or full-body massage with herbal oils.
- Step 5: Then, the practitioner starts to apply the warm potli to your body, following the 7 postures. Elakizhi induces sweating, so the temperature of potli should be maintained by reheating them over the hot vessel.
- Step 6: After completing all 7 postures, your body is covered with a warm blanket to rest for 30 minutes. Then, you’re ready to take a warm shower.
- Step 7: Like any Ayurvedic ritual, end the treatment by drinking warm herbal tea and tapping into the power of gratitude by giving thanks.
What Herbs Are Used During Elakizhi Treatment
Ayurvedic medicine places significant importance on the healing power of herbs and oils. In an Elakizhi treatment, the herbs are chosen for their Vata-pacifying properties.
Signs of Vata imbalance include dryness of skin, hair, joints, and dehydration. It also manifests as asthma, constipation, body pains and aches, and a lightness of the mind. Thus, herbs chosen for Elakizhi should have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and hydrating properties.
The most commonly used herbs are the following:
- Tamarind – rich in vitamin C and has anti-aging properties. It’s often used as a laxative for constipation and improves skin elasticity and hydration. It smoothens fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also used to treat arthritis and other joint pains.1
- Calatropis gigentica or giant calotrope – has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in treating joint pains, sore muscles, cramps, toothache, etc.
- Coconut – has a cooling and hydrating effect that brings luster to dry hair and skin.
- Ricinus communis or castor – Studies show that castor can treat Vata ailments, including body pains, stiffness, immobility, and many other neurological diseases.2
- Turmeric – has potent anti-inflammatory properties that treat body stiffness, joint pains, and muscle aches. It also improves the movement of people with osteoarthritis.
- Vitex negundo – improves digestion and treats constipation. It is also used to treat rheumatism and joint inflammation.
Traditional medicated oils used in Elakizhi include:
- Murivenna oil,
- Karpooradi oil,
- Sahacharadi oil,
- Dhanwantharam thailam.
The Health Benefits of Elakizhi Massage
The Elakizhi massage is associated with many amazing health benefits. It can help treat ailments and promote overall good health. Here are some of its benefits:
- Treats Joint Pains & Sore Muscles
- Alleviates Neuropathic Pain
- Improves Muscle Strength
- Enhances Blood Circulation
- Rejuvenates Dry Skin & Hair
- Relaxes and Relieves Stress
- Treats Constipation
1. Treats Joint Pains & Sore Muscles
Elakizhi treatment’s use of warm potli can do wonders in alleviating muscles and joint pains. The heat soothes sore muscles that cause back or neck pain. The warm medicinal bags help stiff muscles to relax and also lubricate joints. Elakizhi is great for those who have arthritis and stiff muscles caused by workouts or injuries.
2. Alleviates Neuropathic Pain
Elakizhi is also beneficial for those suffering from sciatica and other neuropathic pain. The treatment involves applying pressure to nerve points to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Many Ayurvedic herbs, such as turmeric, can significantly enhance and maintain the health of the nervous system.
3. Improves Muscle Strength
Elakizhi also improves muscle strength by promoting better blood circulation. The massage and heat help unblock body obstructions, improving blood flow. As peripheral blood circulation improves, it increases oxygenation in the body, leading to healthier and stronger muscles. Sweating during the treatment also improves muscle flexibility.3
Elakizhi makes use of many medicinal herbs with potent anti-aging properties. Its anti-aging benefits aren’t limited to skin care alone. It can halt aging by improving your blood circulation, boosting stamina, and keeping you away from age-related diseases like arthritis, diabetes, dementia, etc.
Sweating and the use of herbs lower oxidative stress, which has been shown to play a key role in the rate of aging.
5. Enhances Blood Circulation
Elakizhi’s warm medicinal bags cause vasodilation or the widening of blood vessels for better blood flow. Pressure is applied to specific body areas during the treatment to help blood flow through the congested parts. As the practitioner releases the pressure, new blood flows in, improving the overall circulation.
6. Rejuvenates Dry Skin & Hair
Through the use of herbs and the sweating process, Elakizhi also helps rejuvenate your dry skin and hair. Sweat helps cool down and moisturize your skin, restoring its luster. As you sweat, your skin purges the toxins that clog the pores and cause skin ailments like acne, blemishes, and more.
Sweating also promotes hair growth by unclogging hair follicles from dead skin cells, allowing for new hair growth. It releases any toxins that clog your follicles that could be stunting your hair growth.
7. Relaxes and Relieves Stress
At their core, all Ayurvedic treatments focus on relieving stress from the body to restore the dosha balance. It is believed that all modern-day ailments are associated with stress. Thus, stress must be released to restore the body’s energy balance.
Elakizhi is aimed at promoting relaxation and calmness of the mind, body, and spirit. During the process, you are placed in a calm state through warm massage and gentle pressure. Your stress hormone cortisol decreases as you relax, calming you down.
8. Treats Constipation
Vata dosha aggravation also manifests as constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues. Elakizhi uses potent Vata-pacifying herbs like vitex and tamarind to treat constipation. Elakizhi also detoxifies the body from wastes, which can help ease constipation, gas, and acidity in the gut.
Elakizhi is truly a unique Ayurvedic experience that promotes a holistic approach to healing and well-being. Its sudation therapy provides numerous health benefits, such as better blood flow, great skin, pain relief, and many others. The warm medicinal herbs and oils also contribute to Elakizhi’s healing effects on the body, mind, and spirit.
If you’re thinking of trying an alternative therapy for your body pains and want to treat your body with a one-of-a-kind relaxing experience, Elakizhi could just be what you need. Book yourself a healing Elakizhi session right away when you get the chance.
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