This therapy was mostly used by Maharajas (royal personalities) in the ancient days, and popularly known as treatment for aristocrats.

It is a type of Parisheka Sweda. It is also a sub-type of Sarvanga Dhara (Sarvanga means full body and Dhara means pouring of medicaments or medicated liquids like milk, oil, buttermilk etc. in stream or shower method).

It is also known as Kaya-seka, Taila-seka, Sarvanga Taila Parisheka, Sarvanga Sneha Dhara, Taila Dhara, Sarvanga Taila Dhara and Taila Seka. Keralian language, it is called as ‘Pizhichila’. Pizhichila is a treatment procedure in which warm herbal oils and or ghee are poured over the body of the person in monitored streams for a fixed duration of time with gentle massage. In this therapy, along with pouring of the stream of oil, simultaneous massage is done to enhance benefits of the treatment.

In this therapy, a gentle, synchronized massage of up and down is carried out on all parts of the body other than the head are subjected to this treatment. The patient should lie on the therapy table and two to four trained therapists perform the massage under the supervision of a physician. It is administered in seven standard positions, so that to cover maximum body area. Here, cloth dipped in lukewarm medicated oil is squeezed over the person’s body uniformly and then the oil rubbed smoothly over the body of the patient by masseurs on either side. A cloth is tied over the forehead of the therapy taker to prevent oil from getting into the eyes. Fresh medicated oil is used every day and the duration of Pizhichila is decided by the Ayurveda expert according to Prakriti (body constitution) and disorder. Normally the treatment may last seven to twenty-eight days. This is a highly Rasayana (rejuvenating) therapy that enhances muscular tone and retunes the entire nervous system.

According to material used for Dhara, its sub-types are as below mentioned:

• Taila Dhara – medicated oils are used
• Ghrita Dhara – medicated ghee is used
• Yamaka Dhara – medicated oils and ghee are used together as a combination or the medicine itself is prepared having both ghee and oil as base substances

Indications of Pizhicchila:

1. Osteoarthritis (Sandhigata Vata) – It is produced from the breakdown or damage of protective joint cartilage on the ends of the bones and underlying bone. It can affect and damage any joint in the body. The most common symptoms are joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of movements. This therapy helps in preventing the degeneration process from progressing and strengthens the joints and muscles.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis (Amavata) – It is a chronic progressive disease which creates inflammation in the joints and resulting in painful deformity and immobility, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet and ankles. This therapy serves the purpose of rejuvenating and strengthening the joints, muscles and soft tissues. It will help in improvising the movements.
3. Paralysis – In this disorder, the loss of muscle function in part of your body (one or more muscles). It can be with a loss of feeling (sensory loss) in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor. It can be complete or partial; can occur on one or both sides of your body.
4. Paraplegia – In this disorder complete or incomplete paralysis affecting the legs and possible also the trunk, but not the arms. It is usually caused by spinal cord injury or a congenital condition such as spina-bifida that affects the neural elements of the spinal canal.
5. Hemi-paresis – It is the weakness of the complete left or right side of the body.
6. Fibromyalgia – It is a rheumatic condition characterized by muscular or musculo-skeletal pain with stiffness and localized tenderness at specific points on the body.
7. Polymyalgia rheumatica – This is an inflammatory problem that causes pain and stiffness in different parts of the body. It generally affects neck, shoulders, arms, thighs and hips.
8. Ankylosing spondylitis – It primarily affects the spine. It origins severe inflammation of the vertebrae that might ultimately lead to chronic pain and disability. In this disease, pain and stiffness in other parts of body may be present with involvement of other large joints such as the shoulders, hips and knees.
9. Spina bifida (occulta) – This is congenital disorder in which an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. The common symptoms are leg weakness, paralysis, club foot, hip dislocation, bladder and bowel control problems etc.
10. Spinal stenosis – In this condition, the spinal column narrows and begins compressing the spinal cord. It is a gradual process and the symptoms such as leg or arm weakness, lower back pain while standing or walking, numbness in legs or buttocks and balance problems are present.
11. Pains and catches in the joints and spine (especially neck and low back) due to bad postures.
12. Pain due to repeated trauma of bones, joints, muscles, soft tissues
13. It helps in diabetes, hypertension, effective in asthma and even in tuberculosis in early stages.

Other benefits of Pizichila:

Sarvanga Sneha dhara is highly beneficial in the below said conditions –
1. Tones and rejuvenates the skin
2. Promotes relaxation, blood circulation, nourishes muscles, nerves tissues and inner balance.
3. Strengthens and fortifies the tissues
4. Acts as an aphrodisiac
5. Makes the body strong
6. Establishes the normalcy of digestive fire and corrects metabolism
7. Provides and establishes proper colour
8. Stabilises and fortifies Ojas in the body (Ojas is the essence of all the tissues formed as an end product of tissue formation, its normalcy in terms of quality and quantity points towards an established immunity)
9. Controls and creates equilibrium in all the Doshas
10. Relaxes and rejuvenates the mind and senses
11. Delays ageing
12. Provides longevity of life
13. Heals fractures and dislocations
14. GB Syndrome etc.

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