Annalepam (Medicated Rice Therapy)

Annalepam is a Sanskrit term that is comprised of two words. Anna means food and lepam means application. Annalepam therapy is an Ayurvedic treatment where rice is directly applied to an individual’s body. This treatment is used for vata and pitta disorders, rakta (blood) problems such as contamination, and inflammatory and degenerative diseases. Overall, it heals and rejuvenates the whole body. Annalepam falls under the Panchakarma strain of treatments in Ayurveda.

How Annalepam Works

Annalepam treatment primarily requires Shastika Shali, a special type of rice which needs to be grown and harvested for 60 days prior to being used in Annalepam. The ground rice is mixed with milk, medicated oils, and ghee. It is then applied all over the body.

The concoction strives to achieve the balance of the doshas in the body and purify the bloodstream in order to alleviate the ailments the patient has. The rice is massaged in a gentle way by two masseurs working in synchronicity. 

The rice is rubbed in a direction opposite to the tilt of body hair, mostly upwards. The postures of Abhyanga (massage) are:

  • Sitting posture
  • Sleeping by facing the roof (supine position)
  • Sleeping on the left
  • Sleeping on the right

The duration of the treatment is usually around 7-12 days, depending on the nature of the disease.

Why is Annalepam Important?

Annalepam is used in the treatment of vatta, pitta and rakta conditions, inflammation, and degenerative conditions. The following diseases are alleviated by this therapy:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Consumption
  • Lower back pain or Lumbago
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Sciatica (pain in the back, hip and outer side of the leg)
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Paralysis

Benefits of Annalepam include:

  • Strengthening tissues and muscles
  • Rejuvenating the body
  • Preventing degeneration of joints and tissues
  • Relief from pain, stiffness, and swelling that accompanies arthritis and other painful conditions
  • Balancing the doshas and morbidity in joints
  • Soothing nerves and improving blood circulation
  • Alleviating conditions like bronchitis and asthma

Purvakarma

Purvakarma, or the preparations prior to treatment, involve a thorough examination of the patient. The Prakriti (the basic vitals of the body) and Vikriti are examined in detail. The disease is then observed and diagnosed. Afterwards, it is determined whether the Annalepam treatment will be suitable as treatment.

The materials needed for Annalepam are:

  • Shastika Shali (a special grain of rice grown and harvested for 60 days)
  • Milk
  • Balamula (roots of Sida Cordifolia)
  • Water
  • Vessels to cook rice
  • Spoons
  • Sterile napkins and tissues
  • Medicated oils and ghee for Abhyanga (massage)

The oils used for Shiro Abhyanga (head massage) are Ksheerabal taila, Chandanabala Lakshadi Taila, Shatavari Taila, and Lakshadi Taila.

The oils used for Sharira Abhyanga (body massage) are Sahacharadi Taila, Ksheerabla taila, Chandanabala Lakshadi Taila, Dhnwntara taila, Mahanarayana Taila, Balashwagandhadi Taila, Karpasasytyadi Taila, and Panchaguna Taila.

For preparation, balamula is cleaned and added to heated water and reduced to a quarter of the original volume. This decoction must be filtered. The shastika is added, and once the rice is cooked it is applied all over the body. The body must be anointed with a generous amount of oils before the rice is applied. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, milk and wheat may be used. If the patient is suffering from rakta problems, ghee must be added while preparing the rice.

Paschatkarma

After the treatment, the rice is wiped gently away from the body using sterile tissues and cloths. Traditionally, the leaves of a coconut tree or castor plant can also be used to wipe off the remnants of rice.

A light massage is given once again after the procedure, followed by a hot water sponging and a hot water shower. A prescriptive course of purgative oils is administered on a daily basis over a period of time. Oils like Gandharvahastadi Kashayam, Gandharvahastadi Eranda taila, and Nimbamritadi Eranda taila can be used for this.

The patient is then advised to follow a proper lifestyle along with an appropriate diet to maintain a healthy life.

Contraindications of Annalepam

Annalepam should not be administered if the patient is suffering from any of the following conditions:

  1. Diabetes mellitus
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Deep vein thrombosis
  4. Fractures
  5. Fever
  6. Inflammation (severe)
  7. Kaphaja diseases

Conclusion

Annalepam treatment is an effective and non-harmful Ayurvedic treatment which entails the usage of rice and natural medicated oils and ghee to energize and rejuvenate the body.