Patra Pinda Sweda is an ayurvedic sweat therapy used for relieving pain and stiffness of muscles and joints. Patra Pinda Sweda is also known as Elakizhi or leaf bundle massage. Here patra means leaves, pinda means a bolus and sweda means sweat. A bolus is a small bundle or potli made by wrapping the cloth around the leaves of medicinal plants.
This treatment involves ayurvedic body massage with medicinal leaves and herbal oils in order to obtain sweating. This massage can also be done for specific parts of the body depending upon the requirements and health issues of the patient. The use of various medicinal herbs in the mixture helps in relieving pain and stiffness. The excessive sweating during this treatment helps in elimination of toxins from the body.
The leaves to be used for the treatment are collected beforehand. These leaves should be fresh and free from insect or worm infestation. For this purpose, the leaves should be collected from plants grown in clean and fertile land. The leaves need to be plucked by hand for collection.
The leaves are sliced, and cooked with other spices (fenugreek, turmeric, lemon etc) and oils for certain time. Coked mixture then is tied into a bolus made from soft and clean cotton cloth. The bolus should be tied in such a way that the ends of the cloth form a handle, which can be used as handgrips. The bolus is then placed into a pan containing heated oils and other ingredients. The selection of these ingredients depends upon the body type and disease severity. Once the desired temperature is gained the bolus is removed from the pan and applied directly onto the affected parts of the body.
- Nirgundi leaves.
- Arka leaves.
- Castor plant leaves.
If fresh leaves are not available, then dry leaves can be taken.
Other ingredients used commonly are:
- Turmeric Powder.
- Coconut Grating.
- Rock Salt.
- Rasnadi Churna.
One of the following oils can also be used according to the health condition of the patient:
- Pinda oil.
- Vishgarbha oil.
- Mahamasha oil.
- Ksheerabala oil.
- Sahacharadi oil.
Patra Pinda Sweda Procedure
This phase of pre-treatment is very necessary as it involves the detail consultation of the patient. Ayurvedic consultation with an ayurvedic doctor can help to determine the best suitable herbs and oils, which are used for bolus formation.
The formation of bolus takes place in this step. Once is bolus is prepared and sufficiently heated, the main therapy begins. Herbs are chopped and cooked in medicated oil (any of listed above). Then cooked herbs and leaves are place in a cotton cloth and bolus is prepared.
Main Treatment Procedure:
The patient is asked to lie on droni table (Ayurvedic massage table) and light ayurvedic massage is given with prescribed ayurvedic-medicated oil.
The ayurvedic therapists then use the prepared bolus and apply it directly onto the affected area. Medicated bolus is simultaneously rubbed and tapped on the skin. The temperature of leaf bolus is maintained throughout the therapy. For this purpose, medicated oil is poured in a pan and heated on mild flame for keeping it warm. A few prepared boluses are dipped into this oil. The leaf bolus is dipped in this warm medicated oil several times during this therapy to maintain the proper temperature of the bolus. Once bolus loses its heat, a warmer one should replace it. This replacement of bolus with a warmer one is necessary in order to maintain uniformity of temperature throughout the therapy. The procedure is conducted until proper fomentation or sudation is achieved.
Circular strokes of bolus massage are given on all joints. Downward strokes of bolus massage are given from neck to lower back and from hips to the feet. This therapy requires synchronized and uninterrupted massage strokes.
The signs of an effective patra pinda sweda can be seen immediately during the therapy. These signs may include:
- Feeling of lightness in body.
- Increase in body temperature.
- Lowered stiffness.
- Reduction in pain.
Post Treatment Procedure:
After the treatment, the patient’s body is wiped out with a clean cotton cloth or towel. The patient is advised to take rest after the treatment. The time taken to conduct the whole therapy is approximately 60 mins. The course of the whole therapy may vary from 7-14 days depending upon the health condition of the patient.
Benefits of Patra Pinda Sweda (Elakizhi)
The main action of Elakizhi or Patra pinda sweda is on muscles, bones, joints and skin. Here are a few benefits in several health conditions:
Muscle Pain and Stiffness
Patra pinda sweda is a form of heat therapy in which medicated oil is used. It reduces muscular pain and stiffness. Optimum healing temperature, herbal leaves and medicated oil has synergetic effect in lowering pain and stiffness. The good healing temperature acts as a thermal stimulator and reduces the sensation of pain in the affected area. The leaves of medicinal herbs have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing pain, stiffness and inflammation. For these reasons this is very effective in conditions like frozen joints issues.
Patra pinda sweda is very useful in case of back pain. Medicinal herbs and medicated ayurvedic oil provide strength to back muscles and reduce the damage caused to the muscles. Patra pinda sweda undertaken regularly helps in relieving from such chronic back pains and disc problems. Chronic back pain is a common problem among women. After the initial course, this therapy can be done for 1 to 3 times a month for preventive purposes in cases of chronic back pain.
Paralysis & Hemiplegia
Patra pinda sweda therapy is also helpful in case of hemiplegia, paralysis of any part of the body and full body paralysis. The leaves and medicated oils used in this therapy help in improving mobility and sensory functions. This therapy rejuvenates and ensures more flexibility in the affected areas. The synchronized bolus movements conducted during the therapy help in channelizing the brain waves. This improves brain function and reduces the chances of nerve failures. Undergoing this massage for long term might prove to be beneficial in cases of paralysis.
Sweat therapy helps in eliminating the toxins from the body and opens all blocked channels. This gives body and mind, a sense of lightness. This therapy ensures better passage of blood and oxygen to the brain. The synchronized strokes used in the therapy provide rhythm to the brain waves and work as a stimulator. This gives the brain a sense of calmness and helps in reducing imbalances like stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and emotional imbalances. After undergoing this therapy, the patient may experience better sleep and improved nervous activity.
This therapy aims at inducing excessive sweating from the body. In ayurvedic medicine system, elimination of amavisha (toxins) from the body is given major preference. This acts as a precautionary measure in maintaining a healthy body. Massage helps in opening the blocked channels and application of the heat with leaf bolus gives rise to sweating which results in purification of the body. The effects can be seen on the skin. It results in the following benefits:
- Increase blood flow and oxygen supply throughout the body.
- It eliminates dead skin cells very effectively.
- This therapy softens and deeply moisturizes the skin.
- It reduces tension in the muscles and skin.
- It also improves nutrient supply to the skin tissue.
- Medicated oils used in this therapy also foster the resistance to skin infections.
Elakizhi or patra pinda sweda is a non-invasive ayurvedic therapy in which all natural ingredients are used externally. This therapy is safe and effective for muscular and pain disorders. A few precautions should also be taken for preventing any side effects. These precautions are given underneath:
- The therapy is to be performed by a trained ayurvedic therapist.
- People suffering from any kind of skin allergies and inflammations should not undertake this therapy.
- Patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes should avoid this therapy.
- This therapy is also not suitable for pregnant women.
- Patra pinda sweda is also not suitable for people having sensitive skin as the heat applied during this treatment may result in redness and itching or even burning.
- Joshi, A., Mehta, C. S., Dave, A. R., & Shukla, V. D. (2011). Clinical effect of Nirgundi Patra pinda sweda and Ashwagandhadi Guggulu Yoga in the management of Sandhigata Vata (Osteoarthritis). Ayu, 32(2), 207-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296342/
- Kalpana, Amit Mukherjee, Mukund Supeker, Patra Pottali Pinda Sweda And Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda, Dept. of Panchkarma, Rani Dullaiya Smriti Ayurved P.G. Mahavidyalaya Evam Chikitsalaya, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India published in International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, ISSN:2320 5091. May 2017.
- Nirmal Bhusal, Surya Prakash, Gopesh Mangal, Review on Patra Pinda Sweda: A Peculiar Ayurveda Bolus Fomentation, Department of Panchakarma, National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Published in International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, ISSN:2320 5091. May 2017.