Elakizhi, also called Patra Pinda Sweda, is a form of sweat therapy used to provide relief from pain and rejuvenate and strengthen the soft tissues, joints, and muscles in the body. It is prepared from herbal ingredients such as the leaves of medicinal plants to induce sweating.
The term Patra Pinda Sweda is derived from the words Patra, which means leaves, Pinda which means bolus, and Sweda, which means sweat. So, Patra Pinda Sweda (Elakizhi) refers to the treatment that involves applying heat to the body parts using a bolus prepared from the leaves of medicinal plants.
The leaves of different plants are selected for this procedure depending on the disease to be treated and the dosha involved in causing the disorder. The commonly used leaves of the plants include Eranda (Ricinus Communis), Nirgundi (Vitex Negundo), and Arka (Calotropis Gigantea).
- Coconut gratings
- Haridra – Haldi (Turmeric Powder)
- Rasnadi Churna
- Methika (Methi) – Fenugreek
- Saindhava Lavana (Rock salt)
- Eranda Tail (castor oil)
Commonly used oils for frying the herbs:
- Vishgarbha Taila
- Kottamchukkadi Thailam
- Ksheerabala Thailam
- Mahanarayana Taila (Mahanarayan Oil)
- Balaswagandhadi Thailam or Ashwagandha Bala Lakshadi Thailam (main ingredient Ashwagandha)
- Mahamasha Thailam
- Pinda Thailam
- Sahacharadi Thailam
In this treatment, leaves of the medicinal plants are collected, sliced and tied in a bolus. The leaves should be fresh and taken from the plants that have been grown in a clean and fertile land.
Then, the bolus is placed in a pan and heated. Alternatively, it may be dipped in herbal oils that are being heated at a constant temperature. Once the bolus is sufficiently heated, it is removed and rubbed gently over the joints and other pain-afflicted parts.
Before applying the bolus, it should be wiped against the rim of the pan to remove the excess oil sticking to it so that the excessive oil dripping from the bolus does not create inconvenience to the patient.
The bolus should be changed with another heated one once it cools down to maintain the temperature at the site being treated. Once the treatment is over, the treated parts are wiped with a tissue paper or a sterile cloth dipped in warm salt water.
Care should be taken to ensure that the bolus is heated just sufficient enough to provide soothing warmth to the skin. It should not be heated excessively as it may cause burns on the skin.
Duration of the Procedure
Each session of this treatment lasts for about 30 to 60 minutes. The therapy may be repeated once every day for 1 to 2 weeks depending on the intensity/severity of the disease.
Elakizhi (Patra Pinda Sweda) is useful the treatment of the joint pains and stiffness occurring due to osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sciatica and other pain disorders.
- Arthritis – Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Chronic back pain
- Post-traumatic dysfunctions
- Sports injuries
Benefits of Elakizhi
The leaves of medicinal plants used in this treatment possess analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing pain and inflammation in the joints.
Joint & Muscle Disorders
The treatment also produces anti-degenerative and rejuvenating effects, which help in delaying the age-related degeneration of the joints and prevents the damage caused by the joint diseases thereby improving their range of movements, and longevity.
It can also be used to reduce stiffness, swelling and restricted movements in the joints.
It tones up the joints and muscles. It soothes the nerves and improves blood circulation. It also reduces the effusion in the joints.
When used for the patients with paralysis, Elakizhi can help in improving the sensory and motor functions of the affected parts. This treatment can also relieve the radiating, neuralgic pain caused by nerve disorders.
It induces sweating, which brings about a sense of lightness in the affected parts. The excessive sweating can also help in eliminating the toxins from the body.
Elakizhi can help to reduce joint pains and stiffness caused due to osteoarthritis. It can also prevent the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone thus preventing worsening of the condition. It also reduces joint swelling and improves the range of movements.
Elakizhi can help to minimize the inflammation in the joints and the painful deformity and immobility caused by this condition. It also rejuvenates and strengthens the joints and soft tissues.
Elakizhi can help to reduce the radiating pain in the legs caused by sciatica. It also prevents the progress of this condition by inhibiting the degeneration of the intervertebral disc. It also prevents numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and aching sensations in the back, and legs occurring due to this condition.
Elakizhi provides relief from the symptoms of this condition such as back stiffness, leaning forward posture, tight hamstrings, waddling gait and the lower back pain. It also reduces the intermittent shooting pain from the buttocks to the legs via sciatic nerve.
Elakizhi can help reduce the neck pain caused by the damage to the cervical vertebra associated with cervical spondylosis. It also prevents the progress of the disease and improves the quality of patient’s life.
The symptoms of bursitis such as pain and swelling in the joints can be relieved effectively with the help of this treatment.
It is also beneficial for the patients suffering from whiplash, torticollis, ankylosing spondylitis and spinal stenosis. It reduces pain and discomfort associated with these disorders and improves the functions of the joints. Acute conditions like sprains, strains, and cramps can also be treated using this treatment.
Elakizhi or Patra Pinda Sweda is LIKELY SAFE when done by trained ayurvedic therapist under the supervision of an ayurvedic doctor.
Patra Pinda Sweda is a form of Ayurvedic treatment that involves the application of leaves of medicinal plants externally on the affected parts of the body. It is a natural treatment that does not involve the use of any harmful chemicals. Hence, it is free from side effects. However, in some cases, it may cause superficial burns at the site of treatment when the bolus to be applied is overheated.
- Patra Pinda Sweda is not recommended for the patients suffering from skin allergies.
- It is also not suitable for the people with sensitive skin as applying heat may lead to the precipitation of symptoms like redness and itching.
- The bolus should not be applied to the parts of the skin having acute inflammation.
- This treatment is also contraindicated for the diabetic patients and pregnant women.