Elakizhi or Pathrapotalaswedam is a type of massage done by bundles or cloth bags filled with herbal leaves and some other ingredients. Compared to uzhichil (oil massage) this one is stronger as the bundles are applied or pounded on the body. The type of leaves or other ingredients can be variable depending on the condition of the disease. The leaves are cut into small pieces and fried in neem oil or any other suitable oil with the other ingredients and tied in 4 cotton cloth pieces to make the bags. These are usually warmed in neem oil or castor oil throughout the massage. This massage is usually done by 3 persons and for 45 minutes. After the massage the patient is allowed to take rest for a few minutes and later a hot water bath is given.
The commonest ingredients of an Elakizhi are:
- Ricinus communis
- Calotropis Gigantea
- Pongamia glabra
- Moringa oleifera
- Euphorbia nerifolia
Crushed seeds of:
- Sesamum indicum
- and coconut scrapings
Mode of action
After the gentle body massage, the warm bundles are applied all over the body from neck to the legs. Special care should be given on the joints and muscles where ever pain and inflammations are present. As the herbs present in the bundles are anti-inflammatory in action, they have an affinity towards the weak muscles and joints. With the warmth of the bundles and the pounding of them on the affected part the peripheral circulation will be increased and it will help to enhance the absorption of the active ingredients.
- In all types of joint diseases.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis.
- In paralysis of the body parts.
- Diseases of the spine and lower back etc.