Kalaripayattu Kalari Treatment

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The training of a student to become a master includes the training in Ayurveda and in locating the vital points of the body. A Kalari Guru is not only a trained movement artist but also a professional in Ayurveda, a doctor who treats people of diseases and general ailments. Kalari has developed a traditional orthopedic system which is widely popular all over the states, especially for the setting of displaced bones. There are different types of Oils, pastes, herbs etc are used only by kalari masters to treat muscle and bone injuries.

Kalari Massage: The first stage of the preparation of a warrior and the artiste is based on oil massage known as Udvarthaizam or Uzhichal. The Ayurvedic tradition of Susrutha says that diseases are afraid of approaching a body which has been foot-massaged, just like animals in the sight of a lion.

Kalari massage is a traditional massage, performed by the therapist using his hand and feet, applying appropriate pressure to specific vital parts of the body. It involves a full body massage with medicated oil and stimulating or massaging the Marma points on the body.

Kalari Treatment

Usually an uzhichil course lasts for fourteen days. At the time of this massage the student has to follow strict restrictions in his or her daily routines. He should not expose to the sun for a long time should take only the prescribed food and drinks and should follow strict celibacy.

Massage helps the body to attain a healthy constitution as well as flexibility, nimbleness and suppleness. Moreover, massage enables proper blood circulation and easy maneuverability of the body for turning and twisting. Kalari massage not only relieves back pain, stiffness and sports injuries but also stimulates various bodily organs and systems.

Marma points: Marmas are certain vital points of the body. A marma point is a juncture on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints and ‘where the Prana is present’. There are total 108 Marma points in the body in which 64 are considered as kulamarma (deadly points). These points could be used to heel or to harm. If these points are pierced hard, it could result in trauma or even death. A kalari masseur uses the Marma points to heal.

The mind is considered as the 108th marma. The other marma points are classified for better understanding according to the physical components:

  • Mamsa Marma – muscle
  • Sira Marma – vessel
  • Sanyu Marma- Ligament
  • Asthi Marma- bones
  • Sandhi Marma – joints

Marmams (vulnerable parts of thehuman body): It is claimed that learned persons can disable or kill their opponents by a mere touch in a Marmam. Marmam is taught only to the promising and level-headed persons, to forbid misuse of the technique.

Detailed Reflexology Chart

Kalarippayyattu teachers often provide massages (Malayalam:uzhichil) with traditional medicinal oils to their students in order to increase their physical flexibility or to treat muscle injuries encountered during practice. Such massages are generally termed Thirumal and the unique massage given to increase physical flexibility is known as Katcha thirumal.

Kalari marma treatment is as sophisticated as the uzhichil treatment of Ayurveda. This system of marma treatment comes under Sidha Vaidhyam, whose origin is attributed toSage Agasthya and his disciples.

The kalari treatment in the southern style Kalarippayattu has the following:

Atankal: It is a form of physical manipulation to rectify the misalignment of joints and thus relieving the nerves of any stress due to such misalignment . In many cases the effect is more than this. The energy flow inside the body which has been disrupted by strikes to the vital points are balanced by the often seemingly violent manipulations of the joints. This method has been employed by almost all of the southern kalari masters and is extremely effective while there are no side effects.

Tirummu or massage: Massage is performed after applying medicated oils. The massage is superior to the other systems of massage and the ayurvedic uzhichil because the massage is done according to the principles of vital points and the energy flow through the nadis or meridians. The oil acts as a medium to carry the herbal medicines into the body thus increasing the rate of recovery from illness or injuries.

Herbal concoctions: Concoctions prepared using various herbs are internally administrated. There are many different such preparations and the Tamil manuscripts describe the ingredients, methods of preparation and administration in detail.

Some medicines are prepared by distilling fermented herbal concoctions along with whole free range country chicken or wild cats. These are very effective in curing injuries to the internal organs. Since distillation of alcohol is prohibited by law, these medicines are prepared only for extreme cases of internal injuries.

Herbal oils: Mainly used for the kalari massage but can be used just like any other liniment for pain relief. Some preparations use the meat, fat, bones and marrow of various wild animals. May be due to the not-so-easy availability of the animals these preparations are made only very rarely.

Powdered herbs or Podi: Many herbal mixtures are dried and powdered which are taken along with honey or ghee.