The Healing Center


We consider Kalari Chikilsa a divine art, so no treatment is begun without first offering prayers.

Ayam me hasto bhagavan
{ My hand is the lord }
Ayam me bhagavattarah
{ Boundlessly blissful is my hand }
Ayam me visvabheshajah
{ This hand holds all healing secrets }
Ayam shivabhimarshanah
{ Which make whole with its gentle touch } Rig Veda


What we offer

At Dharmikam Ashram, we practice the ancient Indian healing system of Kalari Chikilsa, which is a specific holistic approach to optimal physical and mental health.  There is a range of specific treatments offered which are described in detail.  The treatment packages combine exclusive pressure point modulations passed on through ancient texts, and herbal medicines, customized to your individual needs.  All package time durations can be adjusted to suit the length of your stay. All patients will have the opportunity to experience the wisdom of Ayurveda and Kalari Chikilsa through professional consultation with in-house Ayurvedic Doctors and trained therapists.

What is Kalari Chikilsa

The healing practice performed at the Ashram is called Kalari Chikilsa and it includes Marma Chikilsa, or pressure point therapy. This system has its roots in the traditional Indian healing systems of Ayurveda and Sidhaveda. Ayurveda originated in Northern India, with reference texts in the Sanskrit language. Sidhaveda, is a science that came from the sage Agastya, and its reference texts are in the Tamil language of Southern India. Kalari Chikilsa, although a blend of these two systems, is unique in that it uses specific indigenous medicinal preparations and pressure point therapy.

The Kalari Chikilsa system originated as a result of the warriors having to treat their own injuries on the battlefield. Through their practice of Kalaripayattu, the warriors developed an intricate knowledge of the human body, particularly of its ‘Marmas,' or vital points.

Marma points

Inside the human body, there are 108 Marma points, also known as vital, or pressure points. According to ancient texts, these points correspond to specific junctions or energy points and correspond to major anatomical landmarks within the nervous and circulatory systems. Furthermore, these points serve as junctions in the sensitive energy system that exists within our body. Any obstruction to the free flow of energy creates an imbalance, which results in disease and discomfort.  Knowledge of Marma points was vital for Kalari practitioners in warfare and was one of the last areas of knowledge passed on to the students in the Kalaripayattu tradition. When used properly, these vital points can also be used to heal major ailments.

Kalari Chikilsa Practitioners are able to identify and remove inflammatory blockages and restore the natural equilibrium of the body. Treatments for these blockages include physical manipulation, massage, heat therapy, and traditional herbal medicines.

How does Kalari Chikilsa work?

Traditional Indian medicine teaches that the human body is composed not only of physical matter but subtle energy known as Prana. Within the physical body, fluids travel through the circulatory system and nerve impulses through the nervous system. Within the subtle body, Prana travels through the Nadi channels and Chakras centers.

According to tradition, the human body is a manifestation of the five basic elements, ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements come together in certain patterns known as Doshas, which literally means "quick to go out of balance". While in a balanced state, Doshas are an energy force that cannot be detected visibly. When imbalanced they manifest visibly in the form of wind, bile, and mucus.

Each of the three Doshas has a primary function in the body.  Vata (air and ether elements) is equated with the nervous system and the moving force within the body, including lungs, colon, and subtle channels.  Pitha (fire and water elements) is equated with enzymes and, is the force of assimilation in the body. Fire in the body exists in the form of water, which can be found in acidic fluids. Kapha (earth and water elements) is the force of fluidity and stability in the body. Water in the body is contained by the boundaries of the earth, i.e. skin and tissues.

Each ‘dosha‘ has particular attributes and roles within the body and mind; the natural predominance of one or more ‘doshas ‘ thus explains a person’s physical constitution (prakriti) and personality.  In Ayurvedic tradition, an imbalance among the bodily and mental doshas is a major etiologic component of the disease.  In order for a person to be in good health, these forces must be balanced within his or her body. This principle is seen in the scientific concept of homeostasis where a system regulates its internal environment, in order to maintain a stable and constant condition.


A further benefit of Kalari Chikilsa is the powerful detoxification of the body. Environmental toxins are unavoidable in our current environment. Our body absorbs many of these harmful substances through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and our daily interactions with our environment. These toxins become lodged inside the body and may remain there for many years.

Kalari Chikilsa and Marma treatments stimulate the body in a way that it releases these toxins and draws them to the surface. After their elimination, the patient feels refreshed and rejuvenated.

Why treatments at Dharmikam Ashram?

All practitioners who administer the treatments at Dharmikam Ashram are highly experienced and trained. This ensures an authentic application of the ancient healing system of Kalari Chikilsa.

Another aspect that makes the treatments traditional, authentic, and unique to the Kalari Chikilsa system, is the use of specific oils and medicines by the practitioners. These are handmade at the Ashram, and each unique formulation and preparation method has been passed down directly through the Gurukula sambradhaya. Generally, practitioners use four types of medicines, ‘enna', medicinal oil, ‘Kashayam,', a medicinal liquid, ‘Lehayam', a medicinal jelly, and ‘Gulika', a medicinal tablet.

You will see below the various treatments available, but Abhyanga (full body oil massage) forms the basis of the treatment.  Practitioners generally perform this particular massage in conjunction with other specialized treatments, in order to customize and maximize the healing effects for the patient.

The Ashram environment provides not only a serene atmosphere but a contemplative lifestyle, which we believe is conducive to healing. The nutritious food, much of it grown here, is appropriate for the patient's condition and ideal for assisting in the detoxification process.

In addition to the healing treatments, we offer training in the ancient martial arts forms Kalaripayattu, which is described in detail elsewhere on this site.  We encourage martial arts and/or yoga as an adjunct to your treatment packages.  These practices encompass physical exercise, discipline, and Eastern philosophies, which can improve your state of health and enhance your Kalari Chikilsa treatments. You may discuss this during your initial consultation if you wish to add these activities to your daily treatment course.

Finally, Kalari Chikilsa is highly effective while still allowing maximum flexibility for the patient's needs.  Practitioners can personalize the treatment course, oils, and medicines to the patient's condition, the overall state of health, and the length of time available.

Treatment Descriptions

Below are brief descriptions of the specific treatments offered. In combination, they make up the treatment packages.

Abhyanga/Thirummu – Full body oil massage (approximately 45-minute session)

Full Body massage with a focus on specific Marma points helps to activate energy centers. The specific medicinal oils are absorbed through the skin and help with detoxification.

Benefits include full body detoxification, tissue strengthening, increased circulation, relief from pain and stiffness, reduced swelling, prevention of muscle wastage, improved digestion, and general mind, and body relaxation. This is the basis of the Kalari Chikilsa treatment and is generally performed in combination with the specific treatments outlined below:

Kizhi – Targeted Massage using heated medicine bundles/hot bags. (Approximately 1-hour session)

Generally performed in conjunction with full body oil massage for maximum benefit.

Cloth-wrapped medicine pouches are heated and applied with a gentle force directly to an area for maximum concentration and absorption. Benefits include reduced joint pain and reduced muscle cramping.

Patra potala swedam – (approximately 30-45-minute session)

This is also called ‘elakizhi'. It involves the preparation of a bolus, which consists of herbs and plants sautéed in medicated oil tied in a cloth. The warm bolus is slightly pressed all over the affected area in the form of a massage. This therapy is recommended for ailments of the joints, muscles, and bones.

Shiro Dhara – Head oil bath (approximately 45-minute session)

Heated oil was poured continuously over the forehead and head.  Benefits include relaxation, improved sleep quality, reduced insomnia, improved memory, and reduced stress/anxiety.

Sarwanga Dhara – Full body oil bath (approximately 45-minute session)

Heated medicinal oil is poured continuously over the entire body in a systematic way, while performing a gentle massage.  The patient lies on a dhara pathi (a specially designed massage table).

Benefits include tissue strengthening, pain and stiffness relief, swelling reduction, skin hydration and rejuvenation, improved digestion, and general mind and body relaxation.

Pooch Chikilsa/ Lepam – Body Pasting / Skin Treatment (approximately 1-hour session)

A paste made from herbs and minerals is applied to the skin and the entire body and then covered/wrapped in banana leaves.   The medicine is absorbed into the body through the skin.

Benefits include exfoliation, treating a host of skin conditions as well as reducing swelling from general affected areas. Treatment also aids in generally reducing inflammation in the body and provides relief from pain caused by inflammation.

Ksheera Dhara – (approximately 30-45-minute session)

This involves the continuous flow of medicated milk poured over the head and body from a specific distance. It is a remedial therapy for stress reduction.

Thakradhara – (approximately 30-45-minute session)

In this treatment, a thin, continuous stream of medicated buttermilk is poured over the head or body of the individual.

Avi Chikilsa/Swedana – Full body medicated steam therapy (approximately 30 – 45-minute session)

Full body covered in medicinal oil while sitting in an enclosed "steam box" (with the head exposed) while the pores in the skin open and absorb the medicated herbal steam.

Benefits include toxin removal, skin purification, and rejuvenation, improved blood circulation, and reduction in water weight.

Virechanam /Purgation – detoxifies and purifies the body by eliminating the toxins through the alimentary system.

Pitha dosha controls metabolism, digestion, and the body’s energy. Virechana purges from the body through administering an oral purgative to remove the toxins and disease accumulated by an imbalanced Pitha dosha.   This prompts the formation of "new" Pitha, leading to all the benefits of a balanced, healthy Pitha .

Benefits include improved digestion and metabolism, relief from gastrointestinal disorders, improved skin condition, weight reduction, and much more.

May include other treatments specific to the condition of the patient.

Below are of some of the general health issues which can be treated in various degrees by Kalari Chikilsa (This list is not exhaustive). We focus on disease prevention.

  • Pain– Neck, Knee, Back, Shoulders, Heel etc.
  • Arthritis– Joint related, Neck, Knee, Back, Spine, Spondylosis (Age related) Cervical, Lumbar, etc.
  • Psychological– Stress, Sleep Problems, Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, etc.
  • Digestive– Irritable Bowel, Bloating, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Peptic Ulcer diseases
  • Skin– Dry Skin, Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema, Hair Loss, etc.
  • Neuro– Post-stroke Rehabilitation, Neuromuscular Weakness, Muscular Atrophy, etc.
  • Respiratory– Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Restrictive Lung Disorders, etc.
  • Autoimmune– Chronic inflammatory Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren's Disease, etc.
  • Cardiac– Cardiac Rehabilitation, Lifestyle Modifications for prevention of coronary artery disease etc.
  • Lifestyle– Special care provided for symptoms of lifestyle modifications for Elevated Blood Sugar, High Blood Pressure, etc.


Outpatient Ayurvedic and Kalari Chikilsa Clinic

The outpatient clinic provides services to patients from the local community as well as patients staying outside of the Ashram facility, who come for daily treatment. All the services, with the exception of accommodations and food, are provided at the outpatient clinic. All patients will be seen for an initial consultation by an Ayurvedic physician and therapist. The course of treatment is based on specific ailments. The outpatient clinic is situated within the Ashram premises, but the treatment center is separate from the regular treatment areas for in-house residents. There is also a weekly multidisciplinary online discussion of complicated cases with Practitioners from Ayurveda, Kalari Chikilsa, and modern medicine.

Medicine preparation

Traditional Medicine Making is one of the most important aspects of our treatment system. All medicines and medicinal oils used for massage, at Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram are grown, formulated, and prepared here. Recipes and preparation methods have been passed down from Guru to Disciple (from Master to Student) from generation to generation. Many of these remedies are unique to our treatment system.  There is no reliance on commercial mass production, so full care is taken to maintain the quality of each medicine. The medicines are made from pure, natural ingredients. They are prepared by hand, using a wood fire. Absolutely no deviation from the traditional method is permitted. The medicines and the medicinal oils used for the massage are a blend of medicines and herbs that are formulated specifically for the patient.

Expectations while receiving treatment at Kalariyil Dharmikam Ashram

It is our primary responsibility to maximize the safety and facilitate the healing of all those in our care. We recognize that everyone's healing journey is unique, but have come to expect the following commonalities during the treatment process:

Although the treatments provide relaxation for the body and mind as a result, they also require energy from the body. Therefore, post treatment of any kind, the patient may experience fatigue. As this is a normal process in healing, we ask that you honor the body's need for rest, when required. The body requires all of its resources while in the active state of detoxing, restoring and healing, which is why we have designed this program to be located within an Ashram setting for maximum results. With the important goal of energy preservation in mind, we encourage you to take advantage of the solitude and beauty that Nature has provided, in order to facilitate your healing. We also have an extensive in-house library if you wish to read or study during this time.

We believe the treatment course should be uninterrupted and void of any unnecessary outside stimulation.  Therefore, we do not structure activities, or encourage travel outside of the Ashram during the treatment course. This way we can monitor your healing process as well as your food and water sources.  We encourage you to allow the body and mind to take a break from or minimize any unnecessary activity, such as use of cell phone, internet and work-related activities, which could potentially interrupt or delay healing.

If you wish to travel or visit tourist destinations beyond Dharmikam Ashram, we suggest that you do so at the beginning or end of your treatment course. We would be happy to help guide you through that process if you wish.

Our treatment therapy has a cumulative affect and works in stages. As the body cycles through the stages of detoxification, one's physical, mental, and emotional states will fluctuate. Therefore, throughout the treatment process, as certain points in the body are activated, one can experience minor blocks before a major release.  You can experience changes to your energy level, elimination, digestion, and moods.  Depending upon the state of one's body and mind when beginning treatment, everyone's day to day healing journey will be unique.  We ask that you honor and accept the changing stages of your healing process.

At any point during the therapy, you can discuss any symptoms or concerns with your Practitioner and he/she can guide you, as well as address any specific issues. The treatment plans allow for flexibility. Although every experience is unique, there are general results that can be expected for anyone who undergoes the full treatment. The maximum benefit is generally felt at the end of the treatment and beyond, once treatment is completed. Especially, if one has undergone a treatment of longer duration, the deeper the healing benefits are, and generally the longer lasting. Many of our guests return yearly or even twice yearly to refresh or rejuvenate.   Once they experience the healing affect in their everyday lives, they choose to maintain the balanced state of health achieved here.

We maintain the utmost integrity in the treatment protocol and in our commitment to your healing while you are in our care, depending upon the treatment package you choose, as well as the reason you have undertaken a healing journey to begin with, the level of transformation at the end will vary.  However, we assure you, that if you allow yourself to fully experience our treatments in the way they were designed and intended, you will be deeply transformed.