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Dhara means pouring of a
liquid in a nonstop flow. In this treatment a steady stream of medicated herbal
oil (thailadhara) is poured on the whole body in a particular pattern for about
45-60 minutes in a day for a period of 7-14 or 21 days. Dharaactivates
the five energy centres of the spine and thereby raises the energy. Patients
say that they feel very light, thought free and blissful during this treatment.
This treatment is ideal for insomnia, mental tension, for all progressive
degenerative diseases like arthritis, spondylosis, motor neuron diseases etc.
This treatment is highly rejuvenating and prepares the person to bear the
stress and strain of modern life style. It improves sexual, physical, mental
and spiritual abilities. Dhara is done with medicated ghee, sesame oil and
other oils, with Kashayas or with cow's milk etc. according to the type of
illness. Dhara is another specialized
treatment found to be effective for diseases of the head, insomnia, impaired
memory and fatigue. In the Dhara process, the patient is made to lie supine on
the treatment table. Medicated Oil is then liberally applied over his head and
body. Then a continuous stream of prescribed medication (Oil, Decoction, etc)
is made to drip steadily on his forehead from a specific height through a
specialized apparatus. The head is considered to be the prominent command
center of the human body. It may be done on the head, on the body or on both
head & body together. Usually it is done only on the head in case of
diseases affecting the head or mental diseases like insanity. In the case of
'Vatha' and other diseases affecting the whole body it is done on the body or
on both head and body. Dhara when done on the head alone is called Urdhwanga Dhara and when
the process is done throughout the body, it is called Sarvanga Dhara. This treatment is a kind of sudation
therapy using herbal decoctions. This is a process by which the body is made to
perspire by means of pouring warm decoction from special herbs with a special
vessel from a certain height in a rhythmic manner and is rubbed into the body.
This method removes 'ama' or toxins from the tissues and promotes fat
metabolism, removes tension from the muscles and also good for pain and
stiffness of the joints and muscles, fibromyalgia etc

Dhanyamla Dhara:
Special warm herbal decoction is
poured all over the body in a rhythmic way for 30 minutes daily. This is very
effective for all neurological problems.

Dhara is another variation of
Urdhwanga Dhara, wherin special medicated buttermilk is made for chronic
diseases like psoriasis & other skin problems, mental diseases,etc.

The important apparatus necessary for Dhara are "Dhara
Patthi" and "Dhara Chatti". "Dhara Patthi"/ "Dhara Droni" resembles a
cot made of wood/fiber moulded, sufficiently long and broad for the patient to
lie comfortably, slightly raised at the edges so that liquid medicines when
poured over the head or the body may not flow away, and with two holes situated
at both ends the liquid medicines when poured over the head or the body may
flow down separately. "Dhara Chatti" is a basin usually made of clay,
about 2 liters capacity, flat and round, with a small hole, about the size of
one's little finger, at the centre of the base. The patient is made to lie on
his back on the Patthi. Dhara liquid is poured in to the Dhara Chatti (which is
suspended above the patient's head by means of a rope) and made to flow
continuously on the fore-head of the patient, in appropriate quantities along a
wick passing through a hole in the centre of the Dhara Chatti. The process
generally takes one to two hours

Facial paralysis, Partial paralysis, Neuralgia, Lock-jaw, Loss of
speech etc.
In the above and such other
cases Dhara is done, according to condition of the patient, with 'Ksheerabala',
'Dhanwantharam', (the oil will have to be medicated in accordance with the
state of advance of the illness) 'Balathailam' and other oils or with suitable
Kashayas like Dasa Mulam.
In the case of patients 
suffering from insanity, severe head-ache, loss of memory, dullness of the
brain etc. several medicines are generally used for Dhara. But the most common
and in several cases effective one is
Takra Dhara. This Dhara is done by a mixture of Kashayas of 'Pitha hara' and
'Kapha hara' medicines like Gooseberry and butter-milk which though cooling are
at the same time cold resistant. Vaidyas in Kerala have personal and almost
daily experience of many a severe and nearly incurable disease caused mainly by
Pitta, being brought under control and cured by this treatment accompanied by a
rigid observance to the "don't's" (pathya) prescribed. But it may be necessary
to alter the ingredients in the Kashaya or the butter-milk, or use other
liquids in accordance with the state of the disease of the patient. The other
liquids used alternatively are Kashayas made up of 'Panchagandha', cow's milk,
breast milk, tender coconut-water etc.
In case of peenasam, diseases of the eye, the ear and the
face, Takra Dhara is generally preferred. Yet the liquid may be changed
according to the state of the disease and the diagnosis of the Vaidyas. Besides
these, Vaidyas use their discretion and resort to Dhara with appropriate
Kashayas in case of skin and other diseases also and these have been found
eminently effective.

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