Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda is an ayurvedic therapy that is used for the purpose of strengthening muscles and to get relief from pain. The therapy is also known as Navarakizhi. Here shastika means sixty, shali means rice, pinda means a bolus and sweda means sweat. A bolus is a small pocket or potli made by wrapping the cloth around the medicinal rice.

This treatment includes body massage with preparation of milk and rice in order to obtain sweating. It also provides strength to the body tissues, bones and muscle. The use of various medicinal herbs in the mixture help in rejuvenating the muscles and relieving pain and stiffness. The excessive sweating during this treatment helps in the elimination of toxins from the body.

Preparation of Bolus

The main components used for this therapy include milk, shashtika shali rice, medicated oil or medicated ghee and balamula (herb). Shashtika shali is a special variety of rice, which is harvested over a period of 60 days, and balamula is the root of Sida Cordifolia. Soft and clean cotton cloth is needed for the preparation of bolus. The use of other medicinal herbs depends upon the body characteristics and the nature of the disease of the patient.

First, the balamula roots are cleaned properly and chopped into pieces. The roots are boiled in water until the portion reduces to one-fourth. Alternatively, balamula root powder can be used if fresh roots are unavailable. The portion is then strained in order to remove all the solid ingredients from it. This portion is then mixed with milk and divided into two parts.

Preparing Rice

The first part is added into the rice and heated until the rice gets properly cooked. When the rice is cooked, the mixture is then grounded into a soft paste. The cotton cloth is cut into four equal lengths and the paste of milk and rice is spread on it. The cloth is then folded and tied with a thread on the upper end. The bolus should be formed in such a way that the ends of the cloth form an elevation, which can be used as handgrips.

The second part of the processed milk is used for dipping the boluses before being rubbed onto the patient’s body. The bolus should be mildly hot before being rubbed on the body. Therefore, the processed milk is placed on a medium flame.

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda (Navarakizhi) Bolus

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda Procedure

Pre-treatment procedure:

The phase of pre-treatment is crucial as it involves the details examination of the patient. Careful assessment during ayurvedic consultation helps in determining the use of various herbs in the mixture. This step is vital for the formation of the bolus based on these herbs.

Before the commencement of the main procedure the patient is given a full body oil massage or abhyanga and shiro abhyanga (Indian head massage). This helps in maintaining the calmness of mind and body during the whole procedure of Navarakizhi. The oils used for head massage include- ksheerabala oil, lakshadi oil, himsagar oil, chandanbala lakshadi oil or shatavari oil. Oils used for full body massage include- chandanbala lakshadi oil, dhanwantharam oil, ksheerabala oil, sahacharadi oil or mahanarayana oil.

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda (Navarakizhi)

Main treatment procedure:

This massage therapy requires trained practitioners. The person is asked to lie on the table. The bolus is then dipped into hot processed milk and rubbed against the body of the patient. For joints, circular strokes are used. Downward strokes are used from neck to lower back and from the hips to the feet.

The therapy should be conducted on the whole body in a synchronized and uninterrupted manner. A warmer one should replace the cold bolus, once the heat is lost.

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda (Navarakizhi)

The signs of an effective state of shali sweda can be seen immediately during the therapy. These signs may include:

  1. Rise in body temperature.
  2. Excessive sweating.
  3. Reduction in pain and stiffness.
  4. Lightness in body and mind.

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda (Navarakizhi)

Post-treatment procedure:

After the procedure is over, the bolus is opened and the rice mixture is rubbed gently on the body of the patient for 10-15 mins. The patient’s body is then wiped out with a clean cotton cloth or tissue. The patient is advised to take rest for a while after which he is advised to take a warm bath. The main treatment takes approximately 60 mins. The course of the whole therapy may vary from 7-21 days depending upon the situation of the patient.

Benefits of Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda

Muscular Pain and Joint Stiffness

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda is a type of wet heat therapy. Heat therapy works well for body pains. The high temperature works as a thermal stimulator and reduces the sensation of pain. The medicinal herbs used in this therapy have anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing pain, stiffness and inflammations.

Frozen Shoulder and Whiplash

Whiplash refers to neck pain caused due to sudden forward and backward movement of the head with great force. Both frozen shoulder and whiplash are caused due to muscle tension. Massage has proved to be one of the most effective treatments for muscle tensions. Rice and milk strengthen the muscle tissues and ensure better passage of nutrients and oxygen in that area by improving blood circulation. This acts as a relaxant for muscles and ensures greater flexibility.

Improves Blood Circulation

Due to increase in the body temperature, a process called vasodilatation occurs in the whole body. This process helps in increasing the blood supply in the parts of the body where it occurs. Increased supply of blood ensures better transportation of oxygen and nutrients in the body. Better nutrition provides strength to the body tissues and reduces the risk of catching diseases.

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda (Navarakizhi)

Arthritis

Arthritis is a word given to a group of joint and muscular problems, which are characterized, by swelling, pain, stiffness, numbness and sometimes immobility of joints. Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda works wonder in reducing the symptoms of arthritis and preserves muscle tissues. This ensures uninterrupted mobility of joints and strengthens them.

Spinal Disc Herniation and Spondylolisthesis

Spinal disc herniation refers to the damage or injury to the connecting tissues of the spine due to excessive pressure. Spondylolisthesis refers to the displacement of the vertebra. Both these conditions can get very severe if not taken care in the initial stages. Shati shali sweda if undertaken on a regular basis can prove to be very helpful in both these conditions. The massage provides structure to the back and helps in re-organizing the displaced vertebra. The herbs used in the preparation help in providing nutrition and reduce the damage caused to the muscles.

Neurological Imbalances and Stress

Neuromuscular disorders like hemiplegia, paraplegia and muscular wasting can be well managed with this therapy. After the constant numbers of therapies, there has been seen significant improvement in nerve conductibility and muscle strength and bulking. Sweat therapy helps in eliminating the toxins from the body. This gives the body and mind a sense of lightness. 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.

Smoother Skin

Milk is always known for its nutritional qualities. Our skin, the outermost organ of our body, is interconnected to organ systems, muscles, tissues and membranes. Any health problem suffered by a person is easily reflected on the skin. Therefore, proper care and nutrition are needed to maintain healthy skin. Sweat released during this therapy helps in removing harmful toxins from the body. This enhances the sensory channels of the skin and helps in better transportation of signals to the brain.

Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda (Navarakizhi)

Necessary Precautions:

Though this therapy is based on the usage of all-natural ingredients and is very effective and safe, but a few precautions are important to prevent any negative side effects. These precautions are given below:

  • This therapy is not being undertaken in cases of fever, fractures and severe inflammation.
  • Therapy should be performed only by expert therapists or ayurvedic practitioners.
  • In case the patient develops excess sweating during the treatment, the treatment should be stopped immediately to avoid dehydration.
  • Some patients may get skin burns due to bolus being too hot when applied on the skin. Therefore, care should be taken to avoid such instances.
  • For patients having uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, is advisable to avoid this therapy.

References:

  1. Aggithaya, Guruprasad & Sr, Narahari & Vijaya, Shanthakumari & Valappil Sushma, Kandathu & Panicker Anil Kumar, Nadesa & Prajeesh, Parameswaran. (2013). Navarakizhi and Pinda Sweda as Muscle-Nourishing Ayurveda Procedures in Hemiplegia: Double-Blind Randomized Comparative Pilot Clinical Trial. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249317057.
  2. Vyas AG, Kori VK, Rajagopala S, Patel KS. Etiopathological study on cerebral palsy and its management by Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda and Samvardhana Ghrita. Ayu. 2013 Jan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24049406