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Friday, January 04, 2013

Ayurvedic Treatment In Cochin, Kerala

This is the logo for tourists-- run the other way

Traditional tourist guide books all say Cochin in central Kerala is a beautiful town but they them give it the bum rap of claiming it's the kind of place to stay for a day or two before moving on to see the rest of the state. That may be a good way to go-- but it surely isn't the only way to go. Cochin (Kochi) is a dreamy, mellow tropical paradise, an idillic place to just veg out and relax. The food is delicious; the prices are still inexpensive and the people are educated, sweet and very attractive. We've been here over a week and it would be lovely to stay for another week.

As I said earlier, we rented a flat facing the beach and everything is either within easy walking distance or-- at most-- a $1.00 tuk-tuk (motorized 3-wheel ricksha) ride away. People while away the days getting into Kerala's rich cultural heritage-- like taking Malayalam cooking lessons or art lessons or massage lessons, or by going on cruises on the gorgeous inland waterways, the glorious backwaters, or by shopping, going to see the wild elephants, site-seeing, relaxing...

And that massage I mentioned, it's part of a serious and ancient medical treatment. Well, most of the "ayurvedic massages" I see offered here are for tourists and they're probably not really as serious as they are just wonderfully relaxing. But I get a massage every week in the U.S. and I'm always eager to try massages in different cultures. And as for illnesses that need treating... I've got as many ailments as anyone. The "best doctors" in the U.S. have assured me there is no cure for hives and I've had chronic hives for a full year. I got it after a bout of dengue fever I got in Mérida (Yucatán) last year. I wondered if the ayurvedic approach would do me any good.

When I was still back in the U.S., I found a government-run ayurvedic hopsital online and e-mailed them. They didn't respond. When I got here I found it was just a mile down the road from our house so I went over. The doctor was sick so it wasn't open. Then I happened on a quasi clinical practice and tried that. It was a 90 minute oil massage for around $20. It was good. But the next day I found a serious ayurvedic clinic and the doctor understood how to treat hives. I was surprised. She gave me a topical cream and some herbal manjishtadi kashayam tablets (which claims to be good for skin diseases, obsesity, gout, syphilis, eye diseases and the common cold). And then the massage.

The guy who gave me the massage had studied for 2 years and then worked in an ayurvedic hospital in Mumbai for almost 4 years before moving back to Ft. Kochi. The clinic-- though filled with mosquitos-- is very clean and well-organzied. The massage was inexpensive (around $18) and absolutely expertly done, good enough for me to make appointments for every day for the rest of our stay in Kerala. The thing I like about it are the long stroke-- like one powerful stroke from the neck to the ankle or one the entire length of the spine.

Vedic medicine goes back thousands of years and the vast majority of people in India use it to at least some extent. They know what they're doing and the Indian government takes it very seriously in terms of licensing and research. There are 8 categories of Ayurvedic medicine and the one I found is rasayana, which deals with rejuvenation and immunity-- as opposed to ophthalmology, surgery, toxicology or even psychiatry. The fascination with balance in Hinduism and Buddhism have had a big influence on the evolution of ayurvedic medicine. It's the ultimate holistic approach to medicine.

The place I would recommend if you're in Ft. Kochi is the Soorya Panchakarma Ayurvedic Clinic. You can e-mail them at It's too early to know if my hives are actually cured. But after just a couple days of the medicine and massages, all the hives that have plagued me all year are gone. The head of the department at UCLA that deals with chronic hives (so not the allergic reactions that last a day or two, the long term stuff) told me there is no cure and that if I'm lucky it'll just disappear in a year or two. I think I was lucky to try the ayurvedic way... although we'll see what happens when I'm back in L.A. with no medical massages and when the medicine runs out.


Unknown said...

Thank You for the write-up.
It is a great pleasure to know that you could derive the benefits of this age-old science from our services, at Soorya Panchakarma Ayurveda Clinic at Fort Kochi. Wishing You the best of health.

Thanks and Regards
Dr. Sreeraj K.R.
Dr. T.G.Sreedevi

+91 8606121819

diawin said...

nice psot..Siddha vaithiyam
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