An important part of kalarippayattu is a healing system called kalari cikitsa. In ancient times, it was practised by warriors both on a battlefield, where they had to dress their wounds by themselves, as well as during regular trainings in order to strengthen body and make it injury-resistent. Therefore traditionally, a kalarippayattu master has been also a doctor and physiotherapist. That is how it sometimes is also nowadays. When in need, a kalari master is visited by not only by his students, but also neighbors from near and far.
Kalari chikitsa is helpful in treating such injuries as:
Massage and therapies also:
- improve general psychophysical condition
- improve flexibility and strength
- prepare body for effort
- brings harmonious functioning of the organism
- cleanse and bring energy
Characteristic of kalari cikitsa is knowledge about marmas (marma cikitsa) – vital spots of the body – that are located on the junctures of bones, muscles, tendons and joints. This knowledge finds practical use in kalarippayattu where all punches, kicks or blocks are directed to certain marmas.
Traditionally, for kalaripayattu students, as well as for dancers and actors, for example of kathakali, who undergo intense physical training, a special kind of massage is applied, called cavitti uzhiccil. The first part is given with the feet, and the second part with the hands. Thanks to the sliding movements and strong impact, the body is warmed up, detoxicated and it becomes more flexible; tense muscles are “smashed”, and blood and lymph circulation is regulated. Regular massages bring back balance to the body, they improve fitness and prepare for further efforts. Such massage is recommended especially to sports people, dancers and others who strongly work with their body.
Kalari chikitsa – similarly to Ayurveda which is connected with it – is a holistic system that views the patient as a whole. When healing a particular problem, the doctor also considers the patient’s lifestyle and other health problems, trying to find the reason of the indisposition. Apart from massages, diet and natural oils and medicines are applied. Everyhing is selected individually for a certain patient.
Sankar continues the Kerala and family tradition, and deals both with kalarippayattu, as well as with Ayurveda/kalari chikitsa. You can find our more about his activities as a therapist on his website: ayurvedam.pl.