Karkataka Chikitsa for Health & Rejuvenation Kerala’s friendly climate, natural abundance of forests, wealth of herbs and medicinal plants, and the cool extended monsoon season are best suited for ayurveda’s curative and restorative packages. Kerala is the only state in India which has perfected and still practises this traditional system of medicine which is based on the constitution and vital energies of the human body. Ayurveda aims to re-establish the equilibrium of the body and mind at all levels, to keep it wholesome and healthy. This is done through a strict regimen of diet, exercise and medicated treatment over a prescribed period. Traditionally, according to ayurvedic physicians, rejuvenation therapies have their best effects during the wet monsoon months, when the winds and the cold temperature render the body especially amenable to the therapeutic powers of the herbs and concoctions used in ayurveda. It’s a time when the atmosphere remains moist and dust-free which in turn opens up the body pores, making them more receptive to the herbal oils and massages. In addition, during the rains, the herbs and medicinal plants which form vital ingredients in these medicines, grow in plenty. As per ayurvedic principles, a person is healthy when there is a balance in the three fundamental bodily humours or ‘doshas’viz. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ritucharyavidhi in ayurveda says sudden climatic changes cause imbalance between the three doshas which then gets manifested as diseases such as cough, cold, allergies, fever, skin diseases, inflammations and digestive disorders. To prevent this, the time-tested authentic system of ayurveda advocates the seasonal therapy titled ‘karkataka chikitsa’ to be undertaken during this period. It includes a combination of oil massages, steam bath, internal oleation with medicated ghee, enemas to remove the body toxins and excess water, and ingestion of ‘rasayanas’ to rejuvenate and restore new life to the tissues. The therapy is supplemented by intake of medicated food generally known as ‘karkataka kanji’, a health porridge. This chikitsa has been prescribed in ayurveda during the last month of the malayalam calendar to ensure prevention of diseases and to facilitate vigour, energy and longevity. The best of the monsoon ayurvedic treatments comprise head massage or ‘sirodhara’, ‘abhayangam’ or full body massage, ‘tharpanam’ for the eye, ‘nasyam’ for the nose, ‘karnadhoopanam’ for the ear, ‘njavarakizhi’, ‘pizhichil’, herbal steam bath and panchakarma treatment.