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The ideal geographic location of Kerala and its salubrious climate has made external purification and rejuvenation therapies most effective for treatment of many psychosomatic disorders.


The high humidity in Kerala helps to open up the body pores and the medicinal oils used in massaging get easily absorbed into the body there by increasing the effectiveness of the treatment.

Sirodhara, Pizhichil, Navarakizhi, Thalapothichil, Pachakizhi
and Podikizhi are some of the kerala special ayurvedic procedures.

The fundamentals of Ayurveda being practised and taught in Kerala are not different from those of the rest of the country, in their essence and philosophy. But in the present days, there indeed is a notable difference in certain aspects of Kerala tradition of Ayurveda. This difference pertains to the importance given to Vagbhata’s Ashtangahridayam in preference to other classical texts by Kerala traditional physicians, the uninterrupted history of practising the classical panchakarma therapies in all their authentic fidelity, the innovative development of the reputed Kerala preparatory therapies and finally the wide variety of exclusive herbal based formulations overshadowing the use of metal and mineral based drugs.

The development of Ayurveda in Kerala is particularly noted for its origins in non-brahminical traditions even before the entry of classical Ayurveda in the early centuries of the Christian era. These two streams subsequently blended so well that it gave a unique strength to the health care tradition of Kerala. Selected few brahmin households, named generally as Ashtavaidyas, were bestowed with the responsibility of maintaining the Ayurvedic tradition by practising it as a health care service as well as by teaching its principles in the unique gurukula tradition. The traditional practitioners of Ayurveda considered Ashtangahridaya as a primary text. Several commentaries were written by experts here. More importantly, new texts were written in Kerala both in Malayalam and Sanskrit. Sahasrayogam, Chikilsamanjari, Vaidyamanorama are just a few examples. These and similar other Kerala texts still remain sources of very useful information on formulation, medicinal plants and therapies.

Another very important contribution by Kerala physicians is the continued practice and enrichment of the panchakarma therapy. Even when they became defunct in the rest of the country due to socio-political reasons, Kerala retained this therapeutic wealth in all its pristine essence. Texts were written here on its practical aspects. More importantly, the famous Kerala special therapies were evolved by the practitioners here. They are essentially preparatory in nature. Dhara, mukkippizhichil, navarakkizhi, etc are typical examples. As the practice of Ayurveda expanded in popular acceptance in the recent past, these treatment modalities have also become more prevalent.

There are several unique herbal formulations described in Kerala texts. Many of them have now received national level acclaim and they are included in the Ayurvedic Formulary of India. One important aspect of Kerala formulations is that the stress is more on herbal components rather than on metals or minerals. There is also the history of Ayurvedic physicians developing some areas of specialisations like paediatrics, ophthalmology, martial therapy, etc.

The establishment of Arya Vaidya Sala in 1902 by Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier was a logical development in the Kerala tradition of Ayurveda. He blended modern pharmaceutical procedures and classical Ayurvedic traditions. He introduced formal teaching systems in line with modern University education. He wrote teaching aids. And it was at Arya Vaidya Sala that a Hospital for imparting classical therapies in an organised manner was first set up in 1924 as a Charitable Hospital and then in 1954 as a major Hospital facility.

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