Yoga Kaya Chikitsa is a branch of yoga that is used to heal the body without medicine, by deploying methods derived from different yoga postures for purification, detoxification and rejuvenation. The tradition of Kaya Chikitsa has been passed down for thousands of years in Northern India. The knowledge comes from Narayana Swamy the author of Hatha Yoga Ratnavali. This tradition was passed through his family to his great, great grandson Narayana Munindra who taught it to a few select students including Dr ALV Kumar in the 1980s.
Kaya means body and Chikitsa means therapy. It is a complex science that requires practical training in order to deal with the entire body and the full range of health conditions. Kaya Chikitsa involves diagnosis and treatment. The diagnosis involves a respiratory test and pulse test as well as a physical checking of the affected organs of the body. The methodology of Kaya Chikitsa requires an understanding of the 72,000 neuron transmission channels called Nadis. Working with the Nadis is used in Reflexology. Kaya Chikitsa is effective in removing the root cause of the problem at the brain level. Famous healing treatments such as Acupressure, Acupuncture, Thai massage, Shiatsu, Kerala Panchakarma have strong roots in the ancient science of Yoga Kaya Chikitsa.
Kaya Chikitsa is to be practiced on those who are unable to practice Yoga for themselves. It is effective for severely ill or terminal patients. It can be used to treat a wide range of problems including Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, heart problems, skin diseases such as Erithrodermis, spinal problems including slipped disc and Spondilitis, reproductive problems such as infertility, polycystic ovaries, thyroid as well as respiratory problems, Asthma and sinusitis.
The terminology used for both Yoga and Ayurveda (traditional holistic Indian medicine) until the period of King Charaka (Charaka Saṃhitā Sutra, believed to be the oldest of the three ancient treatises on Ayurveda authored by Patanjali) was very similar. Kaya Chikitsa draws on the knowledge of both Ayurveda and Hatha Yoga.
Shat Kriyas in Hatha Yoga deal with the cleansing of the senses and the channels of the respiratory and circulatory systems. In Yoga Kaya Chikitsa, these cleansing techniques are referred to as Shat Chikitsa meaning Six Therapies. This involves the purification of the neuro-transmitory channels connected to the senses and the internal systems. It also involves the following six cleansing techniques which help in rectifying problems connected to the sinus passages, sight, hearing, thyroid, parathyroid and all the channels connecting the cerebral cortex, as well as working with the stomach, liver, excretory system and reproductive systems.
- Dhauthi is the cleansing of the digestive system.
- Vasti is the cleansing of excretory system.
- Kapalbhathi is the cleansing of digestive system.
- Nauli is the cleansing of the urinary and reproductive systems.
- Trataka is the cleansing of the eyes and brain.
Kaya Chikitsa deals with the purification of the seven elements, plasma; blood; muscle; fat; bone; marrow and reproductive cells. It involves a systematic way of regenerating the body by rebuilding cells and tissues by working with the entire muscular skeletal system.
Kaya Samvadhana, Yoga Massage Therapy
As in Kayakalpa in Ayurveda, Yoga Kaya Chikitsa has a special branch of Yoga massage known as Kaya Samvadhana which involves working with 26 types of movements using the palms, such as squeezing, tapping, pulsing, weaving and kneading using medicated oils as in Pancha Karma.