Ayurveda is an ancient science which deals with health promotion, disease prevention and treatment as well. Ayurveda can be used to improve the performance of a sportsperson as well as to treat sports injuries. Following the daily and seasonal regimen mentioned in Ayurveda texts, practicing daily exercise according to one’s capacity, undergoing seasonal Panchakarma therapies and intake of suitable food according to one’s body type and regulated sleep will not only help to maintain the health of a sportsperson but improve his performance too.
Ayurvedic treatment is beneficial in Sports injuries and it involves the administration of internal medicines, suitable diet and external therapies to alleviate pain, decrease disability, improve function of affected part and strengthen the body.Internal herbal supplements, which are health promoting, rejuvenating and strengthening the body are beneficial to improve physical strength of an athlete. Also many external therapies help reduce pain and inflammation while rejuvenating the body thus brings ultimate healing. Following are the Ayurvedic therapies beneficial in Sports Injuries -
Marma Abhyanga (Therapeutic body massage) - Marma Abhyanaga is the Ayurveda way of massaging the body with medicated oil in a therapeutic manner. It is beneficial for generalized body pain, weakness and for maintaining health. It is revitalizing and relaxing. Marma massage provides Prana energy to the body and mind, which gives ultimate healing.
Patra Pinda swedana (Leaf bolus steam) - It is a process by which the whole body (or any specific part) is made to perspire. This is done by external application of medicinal boluses, which are tied in a cloth bag. This treatment is useful in localized pain, swellings, muscular cramps and muscular stiffness, etc.
Nadi Swedana (Localized steam) - Nadi swedana is usually done for localized conditions like sprain, cervical stenosis, muscle cramps or to relieve localized pain. Here fomentation is done with the vapors generated out of medicated decoction is applied to the affected area with the help of a rubber tube following a gentle massage.
Shirobasti - This is a procedure in which a belt is fastened around the head covering the portion of the forehead so a well like formation takes place over the head. This well is then filled with oil and kept for some time. This is beneficial in diseases of the head especially in difficulties arising due to injuries to the head.
Katibasti - Dough of Urad (black gram) is put around the lower back in such a way that a dam like appearance is seen. This well is then filled with warm oil and kept for specified period of time. This is beneficial in low back pain, slip disc, compressed disc, injury to low back region etc.
Greeva basti - This is also carried out in the same way like katibasti but for cervical stenosis, pain and injuries.
Janubasti - This is carried out in the same way like kativasthi but for the knees. It helps in relieving knee pain, runner’s knee, ACL tear and other knee injuries.
or Kayaseka (Oil bath) - In Pizhichil / Kayaseka, warm medicated oil / herbal liquids are poured on to the body of the person in a rhythmic manner. This treatment is very useful for nervous weakness, body ache etc. It provides optimum relaxation and it strengthens the nerves.
Shirodhara (Third eye treatment) - Following a head massage, there will be slow but rhythmic and continuous dribbling of warm oil on forehead. This treatment is beneficial in mental exhaustion, stress, central nervous system disorders, head injuries and headache.
Nasya (Nasal medication) - Instilling medicines through the nostrils is called Nasya. The medicines that are administered through the nose enter the head and cures diseases above shoulders especially injuries of trigeminal nerve, head injuries, frozen shoulder, etc.
Shastika shali swedana (Rice bolus steam) - Shashtikashali rice cooked in milk and herbal decoction is tied in a cloth bolus and dipped in warm herbal liquids and applied on the affected part or the whole body after a massage. This is nourishing, helps in gaining strength and is useful in muscular pain and muscle wasting.
Avagahana (Exotic tub bath) - It is a kind of immersion bath where the patient is made to sweat while sitting in a tub filled with a specific warm medical decoction for the whole body or different parts of the body like the hips or feet. This therapy is useful in treating many vata disorders, body aches and pains, stiffness in the joints etc. and is also very relaxing and invigorating.Bandhana (Immobilization) - Bandaging the affected part after application of suitable medicated oil or herbal paste does immobilization of the affected part. There are 15 types of bandages explained in Ayurveda texts which are beneficial in crushed wound, fracture, dislocation, cutting / tearing of bones, tendons, veins, etc.
Anushastra Karma (Para surgical procedures) in Ayurveda - Para surgical procedures like Raktamokshana (Blood letting) using Jalauka (Leech) or Siravyadhana (Venesection) and Agnikarma (Medical Cauterization) are effective in sports injuries mainly musculo-skeletal and inflammatory joint conditions. Raktamokshana (Blood letting) is beneficial in pain, oedema, bursitis, synovial effusion, tendinitis, muscle sprain, golfer’s elbow, sciatica, ankle sprain, etc. Agnikarma gives good results in injuries of skin, muscle, ligaments, veins, joints and bones. It is effective in plantar fasciitis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, calcaneus spur, runner’s knee, carpel tunnel syndrome and trigger thumb. In Ayurvedic texts it is stated that diseases cured with Agnikarma will never relapse.
Lepana (Medicinal paste application) - Application of warm medicinal paste of fresh herbs like Shigru, Nirgundi, Eranda, Dhattura, Rasna, etc or herbal compound formulations like Nagaradi lepa, Jatamayadi lepa, Dashanga lepa mixed in suitable liquid medium is effective in subsiding pain and inflammation. It is beneficial in synovitis, bursitis, soft tissue inflammation, ligament and tendon injury.
Upanaha Swedana (Poultice) - In this procedure warm herbal paste is applied to the affected part / joint followed by bandaging while the paste is wet. The application of warm herbal paste and bandage produces heat thereby causing relaxation of the muscles and tendon and improves the blood supply. It is effective in pain, stiffness and inflammatory conditions. This is generally beneficial in knee, ankle, elbow and wrist injuries.
Thus Ayurvedic management of sports injuries is more effective and can improve the performance of a sportsperson and help heal from over exertion.