Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sheethali Chikithsa

Sheethali Chikithsa (Heat Reduction Therapy)

ശീതളി ചികിത്സ Language- മലയാളം
शीतली चिकित्सा Language- हिन्दी

Scientific evolution in terms of inventions and discoveries gave a valued focus on diseases, causes, micro-organisms and also significant awareness on health and fitness. Sophisticated medical technology of today’s world makes any disease vulnerable to subside. But the challenging question would be the increase in health problems due to pollution, psycho-disorders, mal nutrition etc.

Sheethali Chikithsa (Heat Reduction Therapy) is an integral and complete Indian approach to the health and wellness of body, mind and soul of human beings. It is a way of life as it explains dietary, life style, yoga, meditation, counseling and herbal therapy.
The word ‘sheethali’ comes from a Sanskrit word ‘sheethal’ which means ‘cool‘. The basic principle of this treatment is that an integrated and healthy human being can live only in a cool mind and body. All diseases and discomforts of human body / mind caused, by the excess heat generated, in the metabolic system due to abnormal reactions. These abnormal reactions caused by the life style, negative attitudes and changing environment.
According to Sheethali Chikithsa, health considered a pre-requisite for achieving all the goals of life, whether it is materialistic or spiritual. It takes an integrated view of the physical, mental, spiritual, and social aspects of human beings, each impinging on the others.
Healthy body, healthy mind and healthy society are interlinked. Only an integrated person can live a happy life. Modern life style and stress have made the individuals and society unhealthy, imbalances and sick. This has led to an unsatisfied society. The modern so-called health care is inaccessible to the majority of the people. Moreover, modern health care system has become highly commercialized and is out to drain the pockets for the poor patients.
Sheethali Chikithsa is an alternative, less expensive, harmless, and highly effective treatment. It is a natural way of treatment.
History and development
Sheethali Chikithsa is a newly evolved treatment. It is an outcome of long years of study, practical experiences, meditation and intuitions of a Christian priest, Ayurveda Vaidya Fr. Aji Sebastian, popularly known as Isai Baba (Christian Guru / Sage). He dedicated his life purely for the treatment of people for all kind of physical and mental disorders.
He traveled all over Indian subcontinent from east to west and north to south seeking perfect reason for the human ailments and their remedies. He visited and studied the effective traditional treatment methods of different indigenous groups all over India and Nepal. He explored a lot about herbal medicines through his continuous discussion with Sadhus, Bhikshus, Aadivasis and other renowned Vaidyas. For the past fourteen years of reading, research and experiment lead him to the single point: The cause of all the sickness is the excess heat generated by the body. External heat measured in terms of symptoms like fever, typhoid, etc but the internal heat, which is the cause of all sickness.
This excess heat is mainly due to the over production of bile or pitta which has the igniting power. These excess bile / pitta is the cause of all the disorders, because this pitta is directly related to digestive system and indirectly to all other systems in the body. When internal temperature kept in equilibrium, it will lead to perfect body system and mental harmony.
Concept and Principles
This principles and doctrines of this system, both fundamental and applied, have a close similarity to Ayurveda; Sheethali Chikithsa is based on its natural and remarkable diagnosis methods and is affordable. It is mainly dependent on the internal and external heat of the patient, different complaints, signs and symptoms of the body, external observation, examination of the pulse, urine, stool etc.

Pharmacotherapy is mainly dependent upon local available herbal drugs, which make the system indigenous. In this treatment, single drug or their combination in raw are preferred over compound formulations. Further, the materia medica of Sheethali Chikithsa being limited, the medicines are easy to get as most of them are available locally. The naturally occurring drugs used in this system are symbolic of life and are generally free from side effects.
Like Ayurveda, this system believes that all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements namely, earth, water, fire, air and sky. The food, which the human body takes and the drugs it uses are all, made of these five elements. The proportion of the elements present in the drugs vary and their preponderance or otherwise is responsible for certain actions and therapeutic results.
As in Ayurveda, This system also considers the human body as a conglomeration of three doshas (humours), seven basic tissues and the waste products of the body such as feces, urine and sweat. The food considered basic building material of human body, which processed into humors, body tissues and waste products. The equilibrium of humors considered as health and its disturbance or imbalance leads to disease or sickness.
Ayurveda recognizes three primary life forces in the body, or three biological humors (doshas) called vata, pitta and kapha, which correspond to the elements of air, fire and water. As the active or mobile elements, determine the life processes of growth and decay. It says that these doshas when out of balance are causative forces behind all the diseases. But the basic principle of Sheethali Chikithsa is that of all these three doshas, pitta is prominent and over production of pitta in the body produce excess amount heat in the body this heat is the cause of all ailments. So the basic treatment in this system is to reduce the internal heat of the body controlling the production of pitta.
This treatment states that the cause of all the sickness is the excess heat generated by the body. External heat measured in terms of symptoms like fever, typhoid, etc but the internal heat, which is the cause of all sickness, cannot measure easily but is justifiable by a skilled medical practitioner.
Role of Pitta (humor)
Sheethali Chikithsa is a life style where all the activities and dietary of the person should be able to maintain the production of pitta. Pitta by nature is fiery. Its meaning is that which digests things. Pitta is responsible for all chemical and metabolic transformations in the body. Pitta governs all aspects and levels of light and warmth in the body and mind.
Though the main source and storage of pitta is liver and spleen, it has effect all over the body. It influences the brain, heart, and helps to accomplish the goals of the intellect, intelligence or ego. These include worldly goals of pleasure, wealth, and prestige and the spiritual goal of liberation. It governs our mental energy, mental digestion and our power of discrimination. It has the capacity to govern the visual perception. It governs luster or complexion. It is located in the skin and maintains the complexion and color of skin. It is the fire, which digests food for body. The pitta in the small intestine governs the power of digestion. Pitta imparts color to the blood, and stool. It controls hormones and their activities.
Pitta means heat or that produces heat. Pitta is unctuous, hot, liquid and sour. Increase in pitta in the body can result in the increase in the body temperature, desire for cold, less sleep, yellow color of body, reduced power, coma, urine and stool become yellowish. Decrease in pitta can lead to improper digestion, variation in body temperature and loss of body luster.
Sheethali Chikithsa targets the pitta in the body, as it has the capacity to control the entire human person. The excess production of pitta leads to the excess internal heat, which is the cause of all the physical and mental disorders. Sheethali Chikithsa deals with the different causes for excess pitta production, which leads to the excess internal body heat and the different remedies to bring the person to the normal condition. The remedial methods are purely natural which includes herbal medications, yoga and meditation, counseling and dietary. Therefore, this treatment is a life style, which could be practiced by all, as it is less expensive and highly effective.
Controlling internal heat of the body in equilibrium
Internal heat cannot measure with a thermometer. Due to excess of temperature in the body, the regular functioning of the entire systems is disturbed. This disturbance causes a chaos and therefore the nonfunctioning of the systems in the body like Nephrotic problems, Cirrhosis in the liver, cancer, various skin diseases, Neurological problems, paralyses and even impotency. The remedy for such cases is nothing else, but to cool down the entire system through Sheethali Chikithsa and bring the body back to normal functioning. The immunity power also increases when the system cooled down.
The internal heat could be controlled by different ways. The internal heat is also due to hereditary factors. The particular individual is an extension of his or her parents. Internal heat can also be explained in terms of elements of behavior / moods like anger, jealousy, hatred, selfishness etc. When an individual is in an excited state, the gall bladder produces excess bile. This excess bile is the reason for anger, fear, tension, jealousy etc. When one is over tensed or excited, the gas pushes the bile and the formation of air bubbles takes place. These air bubbles travel through the body and find a place to rest in, wherever there is a small gap. This can be in the spine, chest, neck, back or head. This causes discomfort like Migraine, Cervical pain, Chest pain, Backache, Stomachache etc. Once the bile (the yellow fluid) vomited, the individual gets great relief.
A disturbed body occupies a disturbed mind and vice versa. Guilt, Sadism and other psychosomatic disorders all related to excess heat in the body. Therefore, the mode of action of this medicine lies in destroying the chemical bonds and cell walls of those parasites, which are the cause of internal heat. The essence of this treatment lies in discovering oneself through yoga, meditation, herbal medicines, counseling. Only in solitude and silence, one can discover oneself. Know thyself is the ultimate cure for any disease.
Theory of (effective) fire fighting
Theory of ‘effective fire-fighting’ to balance equilibrium of energy levels of metabolism is called ‘Sheethali Chikithsa’ or Heat Reduction Therapy. This theory originated through meditation, intuition, reading, research and experiment. It is well known in medical terms, each sickness has a specific medicine. His intuition extended for a step further. Extended search leads him to the conclusion that bodily imbalance is the cause of all sickness and this is the result of imbalance or excess heat of body. His treatment is very simple; treat the entire body by cooling down the system; Increase the immunity power and Make the individual whole. This system falls under the category Herbalism of Alternative Medicine Systems. Sheethali Chikithsa practiced through selected herbs, which cools down the entire bodily system and advised on simple yoga / meditation if required.
What are these groups of medicines? It is nothing else but the nature’s gift gathered from the trees and plants of thickly and thinly populated forest. The herbal medicine is in practice from several years among the natives and tribes. It is the cheapest medicine and his VISION come TRUE when it is available throughout the subcontinent. He had tried similar medicines for many sicknesses like kidney problems, cancer, heart problem, tumor, fever, liver cirrhosis, skin diseases etc and found them effective.
The concept of Life
Life in Sheethali Chikithsa conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul. Therefore, the treatment in this method is holistic rather than to any organ or to any particular part of the body. As Body, Mind and Soul are interlinked; defect of any of these can affect others. So the cause of physical ailments can be even in the spiritual or mental realm.
The growth and decay of this body matrix and its constituents revolve around food, which gets processed into humors, tissues and wastes. Ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food have interplay in health and disease, which significantly affected by psychological mechanisms as well as by bio-fire (Agni).
According to Ayurveda all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements (Panchamahabhutas) namely, earth, water, fire, air and vacuum (ether). There is a balanced condensation of these elements in different proportions to suit the needs and requirements of different structures and functions of the body matrix and its parts. The growth and development of the body matrix depends on its nutrition, i.e. on food. The food, in turn, is composed of the above five elements, which replenish or nourish the like elements of the body after the action of bio-fire (Agni). The tissues of the body are the structural whereas humors are physiological entities, derived from different combinations and permutations of Panchamahabhutas.
Health and Sickness
Health or sickness depends on the presence or absence of a balanced state of the body, mind and soul. Both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors can cause disturbance in the natural equilibrium and cause to disease. This loss of equilibrium can happen by dietary indiscrimination, undesirable habits and non-observance of rules of healthy living. Seasonal abnormalities, improper exercise or erratic application of sense organs and incompatible actions of the body and mind can also result in creating disturbance of the existing normal balance. The treatment consists of restoring the balance of disturbed body-mind-soul trio through regulating diet, correcting life-routine and behavior, administration of drugs, meditation, yoga and counseling.
In Sheethali Chikithsa, diagnosis involves the study of person as a whole as well as his disease. The physician takes a careful note of the patient’s internal physiological characteristics and mental disposition. He also studies such other factors as the affected bodily tissues, the site at which the disease is located, age, sex, habits, his daily routine, appetite, dietary habits, the gravity of clinical conditions, condition of digestion and details of personal, social, economic and environmental situation of the patient. The diagnosis also involves the following examinations:
· General physical examination.
· Pulse examination.
· Urine examination.
· Examination of the fasces.
· Examination of tongue and eyes.
· Examination of skin and ear (including tactile and auditory functions).
· Examination of mental condition.
· Examination of stress and strain of the patient.
The basic principle of Sheethali Chikithsa is promotion of health, prevention of disease and cure of sickness.
Treatment of the disease consists in avoiding all causative factors responsible for disequilibrium of the body–mind-soul with medicines, suitable diet, yoga, meditation and counseling.
Types of Treatment
The treatment of disease can broadly be classified as follows:
a. Purification therapy
b. Palliative Treatment
c. Herbal medications
d. Yoga and meditation
e. Psychotherapy and counseling
f. Dietary
a. Purification therapy:
This aims at removal of the causative factors of somatic and psychosomatic diseases. The process involves internal and external purification. The usual practices involved are Purgation, Oil Enema, Decoction enema and Nasal administration of medicines. It provides needed purificatory effect, besides conferring therapeutic benefits. This treatment is especially helpful in neurological disorders, musculo-skeletal disease conditions, certain vascular or neuro-vascular states, respiratory diseases, metabolic and degenerative disorders.
b. Palliative treatment:
This involves suppression of vitiated pitta, the process by which disturbed pitta subsides or returns to normal without creating imbalance of other systems. This treatment achieved by use of appetizers, digestives, exercise and exposure to sun, fresh air etc.
c. Herbal medications:
All the medicines used in this system are purely herbal and so natural. These medicines are prepared from some herbs, which have special property to cool the body.
d. Yoga and meditation:
Yoga and meditation are also incorporated in the Sheethali Chikithsa as they are primarily a way of life. These will stimulate the medication and lead the person to a regain the health in body and mind. Yoga consists of eight components, namely, restraint, observance of austerity, physical postures, breathing exercise, restraining of sense organs, contemplation, meditation and samadhi. These steps in the practice of Yoga have potential for improvement of social and personal behavior, improvement of physical health by encouraging better circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, restraining the sense organs and thereby inducing tranquility and serenity of mind. The practice of Yoga prevents psychosomatic disorders/diseases and improves individual resistance and ability to endure stressful situations. Meditation can stabilize emotional changes and prevent abnormal functions of vital organs of the body. Studies have shown that meditation not only restrains the sense organs but also controls the nervous system.
e. Psychotherapy and counseling:
It concerns mainly with the area of mental disturbances. This includes restraining the mind from desires for unwholesome objects and cultivation of courage, memory and concentration. Psychological stability and health are important factors for the treatment. Healthy mind resides only in healthy body.
f. Dietary:
In Sheethali Chikithsa regulation of diet as therapy has great importance. This is because it considers human body as the product of food. An individual’s mental and spiritual development as well as his temperament influenced by the quality of food consumed by him. Food is basic to all the metabolic reactions and life activities. Lack of nutrients in food or improper transformation of food leads to a variety of disease conditions. Sheethali Chikithsa does not advocate fasting. Fasting can result in the accumulation of gastric juices and acids in the stomach and lead to the burning and destruction of intestinal tissues and lead to other physical problems.
Materia Medica
In contrary to any other medical system Sheethali Chikithsa do not advocate large amount of medicines. All the medicines used in this system are purely herbal. These medicinal herbs are available everywhere and thus less expensive. Medicines are prepared only from natural substances. These medicines do not have any toxic or poisonous effects. These herbs have special property to cool the body system. Following are the important herbs used in this treatment:
Essentials in the treatment
Sheethali Chikithsa emphasize on few essentials in the treatment. These are pure air, food and water, physical exercises, sleep and wakefulness, peace of mind, proper digestion and evacuation of waste materials from the body.
The power of nature
This treatment always believes and trusts in the power of nature. Nature is the ultimate healer. All living beings surrounded by nature’s intelligence at all times. Nature is always there to help and guide us, if we will only take a moment to slow and listen. Every culture of man used to be in touch with and honor the spirit of nature on which they totally relied for survival. To early man all nature was sacred and everything worked in balance and harmony. Sheethali Chikithsa believes that the remedies and solutions for all the diseases and disorders in the human life are in the nature. Sheethali Chikithsa is an effective attempt to go back to the Mother Nature for the holistic healing.
Strength of Sheethali Chikithsa
This system is effective in treating all types of diseases other than emergency cases. This system is highly effective in treating Arthritis, Allergic disorders, Skin problems like Psoriasis, Urinary tract infections, Intestinal problems, Respiratory problems, Mental problems, Spondylitis, Behavioral disorders, Neurological problems and Metabolic diseases can be successfully treated with Sheethali Chikithsa.
Health for all
The treatment in this method is an integration of yoga, meditation, counseling and herbal medicines. The nature has solution for all the disorders on this earth. It is very true in the case of human diseases. It is a wonder that the nature has remedies for all the diseases on the earth. Nevertheless, human beings are not ready to search and find it in his fast-track life style. Therefore, he depends on the impressive commercials / marketing tricks and chooses expensive but quick relieving medicines, which are easily available in the neighborhood medical stores. It further leads him to the health degradation, other diseases, loss of natural resistance, mental agony and money loss. The most painful thing is that modern medical system is highly commercialized, side effects generally ignored and poor people are not able to get proper treatment.
This is the context and reason behind the origin of ‘Sheethali Chikithsa’. Less than thirty species of medicinal plants used for the treatment. These herbs are easily available everywhere and the medicines used in this treatment are less expensive but highly effective. Another positive aspect of this treatment is that with a short term training ordinary people can learn basic treatment techniques and help the people in the surroundings. Sheethali Chikithsa strongly emphasis on the principle: ‘Health is a basic right of all human beings. It should not be denied to anyone by any reason’.

[Document generated based on talks on ‘Sheethali Chikithsa’ and discussions with Dr. Aji Sebastian, Darsanalaya Ashram]