AN INTRODUCTION TO A UNIQUE MASSAGE THERAPY
By Jenny Carrigan
Chavutti Thirumal is a format of massage, which has its origins in Ayurvedic medicine and has been practised in India since ancient times. This is a full body oil massage, but it differs greatly from other forms of massage, in that, to perform Chavutti Thirumal, the practitioner uses her bare feet to carry out specific strokes; some are short, but generally they are long controlled strokes. Chavutti was borne out of the ancient Indian art of Kalarippayattu – a fighting system – which is indigenous to Kerla in Southern India.
Kalari embodies elements of dance, yoga and Ayurvedic medicine and this extraordinary massage was originally developed to heal, as well as to promote suppleness and flexibility, thus enabling the Kalari practitioners to perform their art with fluidity and dexterity.
Chavutti Thirumal, literally translated, means massage by foot pressure. So, during a treatment the masseuse applies one foot at a time, whilst holding on to a support rope which runs at head level across the treatment room. This support enables the practitioner to use her foot to travel the whole length of the body in one sweeping, flowing stroke, working from the fingertips to the toes. This allows for a wonderfully deep continuous movement, this being just one of the unique characteristics of the massage.
So, by using the foot, the body and the breath correctly throughout the massage, the practitioner can achieve greater depth, precision and accuracy. It goes without saying that back problems respond well to this treatment, as Chavutti not only relieves aches and pains in the muscular system, but it can also help alleviate mild postural problems by gently stretching and re-aligning the spine. This helps create space between previously compacted vertebrae. It therefore becomes apparent, that Chavutti works on the muscular system and the skeletal system simultaneously. Without doubt, Chavutti helps loosen tight contracted muscles, but conversely it can help tone muscles where these are under formed, thereby improving muscular weakness.
As with other forms of massage, the three main circulatory systems are also affected. By these I am referring to the blood, the nervous and the lymphatic systems. One of the obvious benefits of working so deeply and thoroughly on the body in this way, is that it encourages an increase in oxygen uptake by the tissues, whilst at the same time facilitating toxin release, encouraging a gentle detoxification.
Perhaps more importantly though, Chavutti really is a mind, body, soul treatment and works not only on a physical level but on an emotional level too and at the very least creates an overall sense of well-being.
Jenny Carrigan is practising exclusively at Panakeia, a holistic therapy centre in London SW1 – for an appointment call 0207 730 9977.