Thokkanam (herbal oil massage) is a form of Herbal oil application on the body of the patient, based on the levels of Vatha, Pitha and Kapha components in their bodies. Thokkanam is a word framed by combining two words Thokku and Anam – Thokku means skin, Anam mean support/tones/heat. Thokkanam focuses on treating diseases caused by aggravation of Vatham, the kinetic force of the body. The humoral theory of Siddha states that Vatham is the active force responsible for the physiological functioning of Neuro muscular as well as musculo-skeletal systems. Thokkanam is also useful in diseases where Pitham, as well as Kapham is disturbed. A simple Thokkanam session removes the sedentary feeling, which is due to aggravation of Kapham. As per the basic principles of Siddha, the meeting points of muscles, nerves, joints and skin including hair roots are places of flow of the vital energy -Vatham. A depletion of the vital energy may lead to pain, altered tone, twitching, spasticity, rigidity, numbness and neuritis.

According to ancient Siddha text THOKKANAM

– Delays the aging process

– Helps to rejuvenate the body

– Helps to reduce body ache or pain

– Improves blood circulation and vitalizes the cells

– Constipation will be removed

– Helps to increase the utilisation of oxygen in the cells

– Relaxes the nervous system

– Helps to prevent wrinkles and maintain the complexion of the skin

– Tones the muscles

– Helps to keep the joints flexible

– Relieves fatigue, aches and pain in the body

– Calms the nerves

– Improves the complexion of the skin

– Improves energy and mental alertness

– Promotes deeper and better sleep

– Nourishes the whole body, promoting longevity

Thokkanam therapy (herbal oil massage) is provided under the following categories –

  1. Whole Body Massage
  2. Neck and Arms
  3. Back and Lower Limbs
  4. Knee Massage

Kadi Vasti is a traditional treatment used for lower backache and disorders of lumbosacral region, including slip disc, lumbar spondylosis, sciatica, spinal problems etc. Vasti refers to a ring shaped compartment which is made up of special grains, where medicated oil is stored. In this procedure the vasti is placed on the affected area and warm medicated oil is poured in the ring. Slowly the skin absorbs the oil and after 30 to 40 minutes the ring is removed and remaining oil is massaged over the affected area. This treatment not only relieves from the pain, but also enhances blood circulation in stiff muscles.


In this therapy, warm medicated oils is allowed to flow on the forehead from a specific height, for a specific time period in a continuous stream, allowing the oil to run through the scalp and down into the hair. While there are different types of massage techniques that work only on the external surface and help in relieving muscle pain and stress, Dharai, on the other hand, works on multiple layers of the being. It helps in exfoliating dead skin cells, transporting lymphatic fluids, mitigating stress, expunging muscular tension, balancing the tridoshas and removing toxins. It even enhances the function of the central nervous system, treats diseases like anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue and bestows a whole new experience to the mind and body.

  1. Mooligai Ottradam – This refer to herbal fomentation. Ottradam consists of applying medicated oil over the inflamed part. Then a cotton pouch (Kizhi) of roasted medicated substances with or without oil is allowed to touch that area with tolerable heat. This therapy helps to reduce pain and inflammation in local area through medicated oils.
  1. Steam Bath – Steam Bath is a therapy wherein a person sits inside a box, which is filled with steam, keeping their head out. This therapy helps to push the herbal oil used in a massage more profoundly through the layers of the skin. The sweat generated also helps to remove toxins. When a person undergoes Steam Bath, the heat of steam quickens the chemical processes inside the body to expel the accumulated toxins out of the body.  This therapy aids in the detoxification of the body.
  1. Navarakizhi – This therapy consists of using a medicated rice poultice (pouch). It is used to relieve pain and stiffness in the muscles. It helps in improving muscle strength. Navarakizhi also provides nourishment and strength to body tissues including bones, muscles and soft tissues. This type of massage is special due to the use of the milk and Navara (medicated rice). Navarakizhi improves the complexion of the skin, promotes digestion and restores vigour.
  1. Therapeutic Yoga – It is a type of therapy that uses yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation to improve mental and physical health. The holistic focus of yoga therapy encourages the integration of mind, body, and spirit.
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