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13 Effective Therapies: A List of Ayurvedic Treatments

Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine originating in India over 5,000 years ago, offers a holistic approach to health and well-being.


Rooted in the balance of mind, body, and spirit, Ayurvedic treatments emphasize natural therapies, dietary habits, and lifestyle changes tailored to an individual's unique constitution or "doshic makeup."


This comprehensive guide explores the ultimate list of Ayurvedic treatments, shedding light on their benefits and applications.




list of Ayurvedic treatments: woman receiving a foot massage during abhyanga

1. Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Oil Treatment): First on the List of Ayurvedic Treatments


Abhyanga, a traditional full-body treatment using warm, herb-infused oils, is the first on this list of Ayurvedic treatments.


It is the treatment I usually recommend as a starting point for my clients.


This treatment is designed to nourish the skin, relax the muscles, and promote overall well-being while relaxing the mind and breaking up impurities.


Abhyanga stimulates arterial and lymphatic circulation, delivers nutrients to cells, and removes stagnant waste from individual cells.


It creates a heightened state of awareness, which directs the body to heal naturally and opens pathways within the body and mind.


A synonym for this beautiful treatment is "sneha," which means both "oil" and "love."


The oil selection is personalized based on the individual's constitution and current state of balance.


Benefits:

  • Enhances circulation

  • Detoxifies the body

  • Improves skin texture and tone

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Soothes the nervous system

  • Promotes good, deep sleep at night

  • Improves stamina and energy

  • Promotes clearer thinking

  • Builds ojas (immunity and juiciness)

  • Lubricates the muscles and joints

  • Relieves fatigue and stress


Abhyanga is a therapy you don't want to miss in this list of Ayurvedic treatments.


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive an Abhyanga treatment from me when I'm in the country.




2. Shirodhara


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a copper shirodhara pot used to give shirodhara treatments

Shirodhara involves a steady stream of warm, herb-infused oil poured over the forehead, specifically on the "third eye" region.


This entry in our list of Ayurvedic treatments aims to calm the mind and the nervous system.


Shirodhara is said to synchronize brain waves and coordinate and calm the mind, changing behavioral patterns and healing trauma over time.


The head is a site of vata, so applying this steady stream of oil to the head helps to pacify vata dosha.


Benefits:

- Alleviates stress and anxiety

- Improves sleep quality

- Enhances mental clarity and focus

- Treats certain headaches and migraines


Shirodhara is most beneficial when received in a series of three or more consecutive treatments.


I find combining Shirodhara with a full-body oil treatment like Abhyanga helps the body to relax so the mind receives even more benefits from this treatment.


Vata and pitta dosha constitutions and imbalances benefit the most from this item on the list of Ayurvedic treatments.


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive a Shirodhara treatment from me when I am in the US.




3. Marma (Energy Points) Balancing Treatment


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a woman receiving a marma balancing treatment

Marma Balancing is similar to Acupressure but comes to us from Ayurveda, so the system is slightly different.


No list of Ayurvedic treatments would be complete without this therapy.


This treatment works with the vital life-force energy (Prana) to balance the body, mind, and soul.


Warm herb-infused oil is applied to the entire body, so you still get that lovely "sneha" mentioned above.


The marma points are stimulated with gentle pressure in a pattern conducive to opening the bodily channels.


These points correspond to various organs and bodily systems, helping to restore balance and promote healing.


Most of my clients tell me that they feel both energized and calm after receiving this treatment.


Benefits:

  • Enhances energy flow

  • Relieves pain and tension

  • Improves organ function

  • Promotes relaxation and well-being


While this is a lesser-known therapy, it should be on your list of Ayurvedic treatments to try once in your life.


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive a Marma Balancing treatment from me when I'm in the US.




4. Kati Basti (Pool of Oil on Sacrum)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a ring of dough and warm oil prepared for giving kati basti

Kati Basti should definitely be included in this list of Ayurvedic treatments.


A reservoir of dough, yes, you heard me correctly, dough made of wheat flour and black chickpea flour is applied to the sacrum.


This reservoir is filled with warm, herb-infused oil that penetrates deeply into the lower back easing spinal pain and disc issues.


The sacrum is also a site of vata dosha, so applying this pool of oil on the sacrum is calming and soothing to vata dosha and the nervous system.


Ideally, this treatment is combined with a full-body oil treatment to get the maximum benefit.


As the body relaxes from the full-body treatment and the muscles around the sacrum begin to release, the Kati Basti can penetrate deeper into the sacral area.


This treatment can also be used on other areas of the body like the neck, knees, and heart.


Seven to ten of these treatments consecutively are recommended for sustained healing, but I've also witnessed three consecutive treatments make a big difference for some clients.


If you experience back pain, or sacral pain, or need deep grounding, this is a therapy to put at the top of your wishlist of Ayurvedic treatments.


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive an Abhyanga and Kati Basti treatment from me.




5. Hands/Head/Face/Feet Treatment


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a hand being massaged during a Hands Head Face Feet Treatment

This item on our list of Ayurvedic treatments is relaxing and rejuvenating.


It creates an experience of peace and calm in the body and mind while imbuing the face with radiance.


Herb-infused oils are applied to the face, followed by a clay application.


As the clay is drying and detoxifying the skin, work is performed on the hands and feet promoting relaxation in every cell of the body.


Marma points (similar to acupressure points) are gently stimulated on the face after the clay is removed.


This treatment is exceptionally soothing to the nervous system and vata dosha due to the attention to the head, face, neck, hands, and feet.


Benefits:

- Promotes clear and radiant skin

- Reduces signs of aging

- Treats various skin conditions

- Nourishes and rejuvenates the skin


Add Hands/Head/Face/Feet to your list of Ayurvedic treatments that you would like to receive.


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive a Hands/Head/Face/Feet Treatment from me.





6. Garshana (Raw Silk Gloves Exfoliation)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: raw silk gloves being vigorously scrubbed over a woman's back during Garshana

In this next offering in our list of Ayurvedic treatments, raw silk gloves are vigorously scrubbed all over the body.


This scrubbing opens the pores of the body to allow oil to penetrate deeper, exfoliates the skin, relaxes muscles, and stimulates blood and lymph circulation.


Garshana is an invigorating practice and should almost always be followed by an application of oil, like Abhyanga.


Add this to your wishlist of Ayurvedic treatments if you are experiencing a kapha dosha imbalance or need exfoliation.


It can be a bit intense for those with a vata dosha constitution or imbalance.


It can also be too intense for someone with a pitta dosha constitution or imbalance during the peak of summer.


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive a Garshana and Abhyanga Treatment from me.




7. Lepana (Detoxifying Clay)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: clay being applied to a woman's back during lepana, detoxifying clay treatment

Lepana is a detoxifying addition to our list of Ayurvedic treatments.


Organic Fuller's Earth Clay is blended with individualized herbs and applied to the body.


This clay treatment is incredibly cooling and grounding.


The clay and herbs release toxins deep within the bodily tissues, leaving the skin radiant and glowing.


This treatment is used after an oil-based treatment, like Abhyanga.


Add this clay therapy to your wishlist of Ayurvedic treatments no matter your constitution or current state of balance.


It is cooling for pitta dosha, grounding for vata dosha, and drying for kapha dosha (but doesn't over-dry vata dosha).


If you are near Takoma Park, MD, you can receive a Detoxifying Cland and Abhyanga Treatment from me.





8. Swedana (Herbal Steam Therapy)


Swedana involves a steam bath with herbal infusions to induce sweating.


This item on our list of Ayurvedic treatments is often used in conjunction with Abhyanga to enhance its benefits.


The combination of Abhyanga and steam therapy is extremely vata pacifying.


The heat from the steam helps the oil to penetrate and relax sore, stiff muscles.


Benefits:

  • Opens the pores and promotes sweating

  • Detoxifies the skin and body

  • Relieves muscle stiffness and pain

  • Enhances blood circulation



9. Udvartana (Herbal Powder Application)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a combination of chickpea flour, barley flour, and herbs in preparation for udvartana

Next up on our list of Ayurvedic treatments is Udvartana, a deeply cleansing, dry application of herbal powders.


It is particularly effective for those with Kapha dosha imbalances, as it helps to reduce excess fat and fluid retention.


Chickpea flour, barley flour, and individualized herbs are combined and applied to the body.


The barley flour helps to open the pores while the chickpea flour and herbs absorb excess moisture and toxins.


Benefits:

  • Exfoliates and rejuvenates the skin

  • Reduces cellulite and body fat

  • Improves circulation and lymphatic drainage

  • Enhances skin texture and tone

  • Relaxes the muscles


If you have a kapha dosha imbalance, put this on your wishlist of Ayurvedic treatments.



10. Nasya (Nasal Therapy)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a bottle of oil for nasya treatment

Nasya involves administering medicated oils or herbal extracts through the nostrils.


This therapy in our list of Ayurvedic treatments is highly beneficial for respiratory issues.


Mental clarity is another benefit because Ayurveda views the application of medications through the nostrils as a direct pathway to the brain.


Benefits:

  • Clears nasal passages and sinuses

  • Relieves headaches and migraines

  • Enhances mental clarity and focus

  • Improves respiratory function



11. Gandusha (Oil Pulling)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a bottle of oil used for gandusha, oil pulling

Gandusha is a traditional Ayurvedic practice involving holding oil in the mouth to improve oral health and detoxification.


Ayurveda views the mouth as a gateway to overall health.


This item on our list of Ayurvedic treatments can even be done at home as a daily practice.


Benefits

  • Improves oral hygiene

  • Reduces bad breath

  • Strengthens teeth and gums

  • Detoxifies the mouth and body



12. Panchakarma (Detoxification and Cleansing)


Panchakarma is a comprehensive 21-28-day detoxification program that works on both the body and the mind.


A skilled Ayurvedic doctor must perform this item on our list of Ayurvedic treatments.


One or more of these 5 main procedures is employed during Panchakarma:


1. Vamana (Emesis Therapy): Induced vomiting to eliminate toxins from the stomach.

2. Virechana (Purgation Therapy): Use of laxatives to cleanse the intestines.

3. Basti (Enema Therapy): Medicated enemas to cleanse the colon.

4. Nasya (Nasal Administration): Administration of herbal oils through the nostrils to clear sinuses and the mind.

5. Raktamoksha (Bloodletting Therapy): Removal of toxins from the bloodstream.


These 5 main actions are combined with treatments, herbs, simple foods, and time to rest.


Benefits:

  • Eliminates deep-seated toxins

  • Restores balance to the doshas

  • Improves digestion and metabolism

  • Enhances immunity



list of Ayurvedic treatments: potlis being used during a panchakarma treatment

If you would like to receive this item in our list of Ayurvedic treatments, I sometimes lead groups to India for 21- or 28-day Panchakarma retreats, check my website for upcoming trips.


13. Rasayana (Rejuvenation Therapy)


list of Ayurvedic treatments: a woman with radiant skin after receiving rasayana, rejuvenation therapy

Rasayana encompasses a wide array of therapeutic treatments and herbal formulations meticulously designed to revitalize both the physical body and the mental faculties.


These rejuvenating practices are deeply rooted in the belief that by harmonizing the body and mind, one can achieve not only longevity but also a profound sense of vitality and well-being.


The herbal preparations used in Rasayana therapies are carefully selected for their potent rejuvenating properties, aiming to restore balance and optimize the body's innate healing abilities, promoting holistic wellness and longevity.


Benefits:

  • Enhances immunity

  • Improves skin texture and tone

  • Boosts energy levels

  • Slows the aging process


Of all of the therapies on the list of Ayurvedic treatments, this is the one best known for slowing the aging process.





Conclusion: 13 Effective Remedies: A List of Ayurvedic Treatments


Ayurveda offers a rich and diverse array of treatments that cater to individual needs, promoting a balanced and healthy life.


By incorporating some of this list of Ayurvedic therapies, one can achieve holistic well-being and harmony between mind, body, and spirit.


Whether through dietary changes, herbal remedies, or specialized therapies, Ayurvedic treatments provide a timeless path to optimal health.


Embrace these ancient practices to experience their profound benefits and transform your life.

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