Ayurveda, the ancient system of healthcare native to the Indian subcontinent, has now crossed regional and linguistic barriers. This great philosophy of relief and rejuvenation is now being regarded as one of the best contributions that India has made to the world.
Ilakkizhi or Pathrasweda belongs to the Purvakarma performed prior to the Panchakarma therapy in Ayurveda. Literally, Pathra means leaf and Kizhi is linen bundle. Ilakkizhi is a sudation therapy using herbal leaves.
The procedure involves fomentation of the affected region using a fist sized bundle of linen filled with finely chopped herbal leaves warmed in medicated oil. The poultice also contains sliced lime, cumin seeds and scraped coconut in addition to herbs. The whole body is fomented in the usual seven standard positions. In rheumatic pains and associated swellings, Ilakkizhi brings relief.