The traditional Dravidian system of medicine referred to popularly as siddha medicine is a vast repository of external therapies particularly, administration of drugs through routes other than oral. These procedures are as important as the internal siddha medicines in the management of health and disease. Most of these therapies aim in maintaining a healthy equilibrium of the physiological factors (Vatham, Pitham & Kapham). According to the Siddha system of medicine, there are 32 external therapies including Ophthalmic application, Nasal application, Aural application, Steam therapy, Heat therapy, Physical manipulation etc. External therapies help greatly in treating – Chronic Degenerative diseases like Osteo Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lumbar Spondylosis, Cervical Spondylosis and also Headaches, Insomnia, Autism, Stress management, sinusitis, Cough, haemorrhoids, piles, wound healing, Vericose ulcer and Diabetic food ulcer.


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Thokkanam (herbal oil massage) is a form of Herbal oil application on the body of the patient, based on the levels of Vatha, Pitha and Kapha components in their bodies. The term ‘Thokkanam’ is a combination of two words 'Thokku', meaning skin and 'anam' meaning support or tone or heat. Thokkanam also called Marthanam, is a structured therapy technique which is mainly used in the treatment of chronic vaatham ailments. It can, however, also be used in pitham and kabham ailments as well. This therapy practiced in nine methods gives excellent results even without any internal drug administration.


Helps to rejuvenate the body

Helps to reduce body ache or pain

Improves nutrition of muscles.

Relaxes and increases sleep

Improves blood circulation and vitalizes the cells

Tones skin, muscles and nerves.

Thokkanam therapy (herbal oil massage) is provided under the following categories

Whole Body Massage I Neck and Arms I Back and Lower Limbs I Knee Massage


Kadi Vasti is a traditional treatment used for lower backache and disorders of lumbosacral region, including slip disc, lumbar spondylosis, sciatica, spinal problems etc. Vasti refers to a ring-shaped compartment which is made up of special grains, where medicated oil is stored. In this procedure the vasti is placed on the affected area and warm medicated oil is poured in the ring. Slowly the skin absorbs the oil and after 30 to 40 minutes the ring is removed and remaining oil is massaged over the affected area. This treatment not only relieves from the pain, but also enhances blood circulation in stiff muscles.



In this therapy, warm medicated oils are allowed to flow on the forehead from a specific height, for a specific time period in a continuous stream, allowing the oil to run through the scalp and down into the hair. While there are different types of massage techniques that work only on the external surface and help in relieving muscle pain and stress, Dharai, on the other hand, works on multiple layers of the being. It helps in exfoliating dead skin cells, transporting lymphatic fluids, mitigating stress, expunging muscular tension, balancing the tridoshas and removing toxins. It even enhances the function of the central nervous system, treats diseases like anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue and bestows a whole new experience to the mind and body.


This refers to herbal fomentation. Ottradam consists of applying medicated oil over the inflamed part. Then a cotton pouch (Kizhi) of roasted medicated substances with or without oil is allowed to touch that area with tolerable heat. This therapy helps to reduce pain and inflammation in local area through medicated oils.



Steam Bath is a therapy wherein a person sits inside a box, which is filled with steam, keeping their head out. This therapy helps to push the herbal oil used in a massage more profoundly through the layers of the skin. The sweat generated also helps to remove toxins. When a person undergoes Steam Bath, the heat of steam quickens the chemical processes inside the body to expel the accumulated toxins out of the body. This therapy aids in the detoxification of the body.


This therapy consists of using a medicated rice poultice (pouch). It is used to relieve pain and stiffness in the muscles. It helps in improving muscle strength. Navarakizhi also provides nourishment and strength to body tissues including bones, muscles and soft tissues. This type of massage is special due to the use of the milk and Navara (medicated rice). Navarakizhi improves the complexion of the skin, promotes digestion and restores vigour.



It is a type of therapy that uses yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation to improve mental and physical health. The holistic focus of yoga therapy encourages the integration of mind, body, and spirit.