The therapy is based on the precise knowledge of the body’s energetic channels (nadis) & vital spots (marmas). The wide selection of medicines, usually homemade by the Gurukkal is entirely organic. Thailam, or oils, medicated with leaves, roots, barks, and even dairy products can be applied externally by massage, or taken internally. Numerous internal medicines are also available: churnam (powders), kashayam (decoctions), gritham (medicated ghee), etc.
Uzhichil, the name given to this treatment is a full body massage system and is executed by the practitioner with his/her hands and feet, and is unique to kalarippayatt. It is a very powerful treatment, which requires the patient and therapist to follow a strict regime during the whole course. It can relieve serious back problems, and also increase flexibility, stimulate the flow of vital energy, and develop mental sharpness.
The treatment is given by the therapist suspending his/her weight from ropes overhead, and applying pressure with long strokes of the soles of his/her feet, after the patient’s body has been prepared with specially medicated oil. He/she also makes use of strokes with his/her hands, as well as some manipulation of the joints and limbs.
Where does it come from? Kalari Uzhichil comes from Kerala in South India. This is the home of the ancient art of Kalaripayattu, a martial art, and Kathakali, a classical style of dance. Both these traditional arts use the Kalari Uzhichil/Chavutti Thirumal treatment on a continuous basis to promote strength and suppleness to aid the practitioners in preventing injury during their training sessions. There is a myth that Kalari Uzhichil/Chavutti Thirumal comes from a very old heritage and that it is based on the dance of the Hindu god Shiva, the lord of destruction and creation.
What’s required? What distinguishes Kalari Uzhichil/Chavutti Thirumal from other massage treatments is the application. The foot of the masseur/se is able to give a deeper, more thorough pressure and is able to cover the whole length of the body from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes, with long continuous graceful strokes. As with many years of training for Kalari and Kathakali, the process of learning the Kalari Uzhichil/Chavutti Thirumal art may require a type of calling and certainly a deep dedication to the well-being of people and their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual upkeep. The masseur/se will have been inspired into trying to understand and prevent illness in order to develop the skill and dexterity required that enables a deep concentration and co-ordination to execute this joyful but intense experience.