Joint pain can be debilitating, limiting activity and affecting many aspects of life. While there are medications that can help manage the pain, these often tend to have temporary effects and in many cases, severe side effects. Ayurveda offers a natural approach to pain relief without any harmful results.
Joint pain and arthritis are usually associated with Vata imbalance and often include a build-up of ama, or internal toxins. Following a Vata-pacifying diet, getting to sleep on time, and being regular with one’s daily oil massage can often help reduce symptoms of Vata imbalance.
Ayurveda also offers a number of helpful massages that can be enjoyed either as a part of Panchakarma treatments, or as day spa treatments. A consultation with an Ayurveda expert can help you to decide which approach could best help with your specific condition.
Abhyanga: This is a two-technician, synchronized, full body massage with herbalized oil that lasts about 45 minutes. The herbalized oil is selected according to your specific level of balance or imbalance. The massage is done in seven standard positions so that all the joints and large muscles are addressed.
Benefits: Most Ayurvedic massage is done by two therapists working in synchrony on either side of the body. This is said to help balance the left and right sides of the brain. The oils lubricate joints and release toxins, while the gentle, rhythmic strokes stimulate the body’s lymphatic system and relax the muscles. After receiving this treatment for a number of consecutive days, the body begins to absorb the oils, which help lubricate the many channels of the physiology and remove deep-rooted toxins.
Abhyanga helps to relieve joints and muscles from stiffness and pain. The treatment increases blood circulation, which in turn encourages the removal of metabolic wastes and toxins. It is often recommended for anxiety, fatigue, circulatory disorders, rheumatism, arthritis, and backache. It helps in treatment of sleep disorders and induces a general sense of well-being.
Pizzichili: Pizzichiil literally means “squeezing”. During this treatment, warm oil is pumped through hoses that are held by technicians as they perform a synchronized massage. Guests have described this massage as “river of velvet” that both heats and relaxes the body.
Benefits: Relieves body pain and muscle spasms, helps preserve and promote optimum health, increases immunity, and promotes health of muscles. The massage also helps ensures improved blood circulation. A soothing and relaxing procedure, it is very useful for rheumatic disorders, arthritis and, diabetes. It can also be very effective in helping with symptoms of asthma.
Pinda Swedana: This massage involves massage of the body with boluses of cooked rice. The rice is first cooked with milk and an herbal decoction. This is a strengthening fomentation that can be helpful with a number of neurological disorders, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, and even injuries. This therapy is done in the seven standard positions.
Benefits: Strengthens the body, rejuvenates the tissues, improves muscle tone, improves blood supply by cleansing the channels of circulation, and is traditionally said to be effective with diseases of the nervous system and others such as chronic rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and gout. It is said to make the body strong and sturdy, nourish the body, and increase immunity. It also gives softness and luster to the skin.
External Basti: A well of dough is built around the affected area. Warm, herbalized oil is then poured into the well. Various bastis include:
Kati basti for back pain
Hridaya basti for heart problems, emotional or physical
Griva basti for neck pain
Merudanda basti for spine health
Janu basti to address knee pain
Shiro basti (on the top of the head) for emotional stability, insomnia
If you are looking for relief from particular symptom or disorder, schedule a consultation with an Ayurveda expert to see what massages can help. Often a mixture of two or three massages is recommended. For more information on Ayurvedic programs for joint pain, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website: