Bandages always win the hearts of individuals by their accessibility and efficiency over pain management. Across the globe, the therapy is utilized in different forms depending on the patient’s health status. Ayurveda, the traditional science, adapted bandages called Upanaham, where the medicated herbal paste is applied over the affected part and tied with a cotton cloth or medicated leaves. Let’s learn more about Upanaham Treatment in Ayurveda.
What Is Upanaham Treatment in Ayurveda?
Upanaham treatment in Ayurveda is utilized to suppress pain and discomfort. It is accomplished using thick herbal paste or oil over the affected area and wrapped with medicated leaves and cotton bandage.
The therapy improves joint and muscle health, preventing medical conditions, including varicose veins.
Upanaham refers to applying a poultice or bandage; as per the name, the affected area is bandaged with medicinal herbal packs.
Upanaham can be performed in the comfort of your home under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician.
Aims Of Upanaham Treatment In Ayurveda
Upanaham is a non-invasive, external therapy accessible even to ordinary people.
The procedure acts as an external fomentation(sweating), stimulating the sweat glands in the skin.
During the procedure, the body temperature in the bandaged area rises.
It results in increased body metabolism, improved blood circulation, and stimulation of nerve endings in the skin.
The blood vessels get dilated, expelling toxins from the cell and increasing the circulation of oxygen and nutrients.
The medicated paste and nutrients are transferred to the affected region as the sweat pores open up.
The paste’s anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant components help reduce pain, swelling, and other discomforts.
Diseases Treated By Upanaham Therapy
The common conditions where this treatment can be advised are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Frozen Shoulder
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Varicose Veins
- Joint injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Swelling and edema
- For healing wounds and ulcers
Types Of Upanaham
Ayurvedic Acharyas classified Upanaham into different types in the classics.
Upanaham is classified into two types as
- Sagni Upanaham, in which medicinal paste is heated and applied.
- Niragni Upanaham, which is an herbal paste containing hot potency, is used without heating.
Upanaham is also classified into
- Pradeha Upanaham – Medicinal herbs are made into a thick paste and applied.
- Sankar Upanaham – The medicinal paste is made into a bolus, wrapped into a cloth, and applied.
- Bandhan Upanaham – Medicines are applied to the affected part, tied with Vata pacifying leaves and cloth.
Bandhana type of Upanaham is commonly performed among physicians as the procedure named Upanaham.
Medicines Used For Upanaham Treatment
The medicated pastes are curated explicitly by combining traditional herbs, powders, oils, and decoctions.
It is selected after detailed consultation with an Ayurvedic physician, understanding the Prakriti, imbalanced doshas, clinical symptoms, and pre-existing medical conditions.
The commonly used herbal powders include Kottamchukkadi choornam, Upanaha choornam, Nagaradi choornam, and Gruhadhoomadi choornam.
They are made into a paste using lemon juice, dhanyamla, milk, buttermilk, Sahacharadi tailam, Chincadi tailam, Kottamchukkadi tailam, etc.
Leaves of Vata’s pacifying nature, such as Vacha, Satahva, Devadaru, Cedrus, Rasna, Castor, etc., are also used for the procedure.
Benefits Of Upanaham
Upanaham provides a wide range of benefits for the body and mind, from localized pain management to flushing out toxins. Some of its benefits include:
- Reduces pain and aches- As per Ayurveda, pain is linked to Vata dosha. Upanaham helps pacify Vata dosha, thus reducing localized pain and discomfort in the joints and muscles.
- Relieves swelling and inflammation – The anti-inflammatory compounds in the medicated paste act on the inflammatory mediators, reducing swelling.
- Enhanced blood circulation – Increased body temperature dilates the blood vessels in the region. Improved blood circulation can flush out the accumulated toxic materials from the area and increase the availability of oxygen and essential nutrients.
- Aids reducing joint and muscle stiffness – The therapy soothes the joints and relaxes the muscles, thereby reducing joint and muscle stiffness.
- Improved flexibility and mobility of the joints – The medicated paste helps eliminate toxins accumulated, nourish the tissues, and enhance joint movements.
- Balances the vitiated doshas – Upahanam helps bring back the vitiated doshas, especially the Vata dosha.
- Flushing out the toxins – The therapy helps eliminate unwanted materials from the painful region. It is beneficial in managing conditions caused by accumulation of ama.
Upanaham Treatment Procedure
Upanaham is a therapeutic procedure in which a warm herbal paste is applied to the affected body parts, followed by bandaging with a cloth and leaves.
Although the therapy can be performed as a stand-alone procedure at your home, it is best advised to be performed by a trained therapist under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician.
A physical examination is carried out in the beginning to determine the medicines used and the duration of the treatment.
The therapy is divided into three stages, including
- The medicated herbal powder is procured and combined with Kanji, Oil, water, etc., per the disease condition and made into a lukewarm paste.
- The affected area of the patient must be checked for wounds or bruises.
- After detailed inspection, the individual must be seated comfortably where the affected part of the body can be accessed.
- Skin sensitivity must be checked for allergy and temperature of the medicine.
- Once the patient is comfortable, local abhyanga must be done with suitable oil for a few minutes.
- The lukewarm paste must be applied over the affected area to a thickness of 3-5 mm, completely covering the area, preferably in the direction opposite to hair follicles.
- Once the paste is spread equally, it must be covered with leaves with a Vata pacifying property.
- Bandage the region with a cotton cloth covering the entire area.
Post Treatment Procedure
- After the prescribed time, the paste must be removed, and the area must be cleaned with lukewarm water.
- Then, the patient can move freely.
Duration Of Upanaham Treatment
The time duration varies depending on the severity of the underlying medical condition.
Usually, it is advised to keep the bandage for twelve hours. It is recommended to perform the procedure by evening or night and remove it in the morning.
The therapy is advised for 7- 14 days, depending on the health status; the bandaging time can vary depending on the disease.
Precautions For Upanaham
Generally, the therapy can be considered safe, and care must be taken while performing the procedure.
- The medicinal paste must be taken under the guidance of your Ayurvedic physician. They can vary as per the doshas involved and your health status.
- The herbal paste must be of a suitable consistency to avoid falling from its position.
- The bandage should be tight enough and loose enough.
- Avoid Upanaham if you have any wounds or cuts.
- The sensitivity of the skin must be checked before the procedure.
- Avoid oil for the first 2-3 days.
Do’s And Don’ts During Upanaham Treatment
It would help to remember a few things while performing the Upanaham procedure.
- The patient is advised to take rest after the procedure.
- Remove the bandage if itching or burning sensation persists after bandaging and seek professional help.
- Avoid heavy and strenuous activities during the treatment.
- Hydrate yourself with fluids.
Upanaham can be a short-term effective therapy for your joint and muscle concerns. It relieves aches, pain, swelling, and inflammation and improves joint flexibility and mobility.