Greeva Vasti is a Sanskrit term where greeva stands for neck and vasti means to hold something. Greeva Vasti is essentially the holding of herbal oils on the spine, starting from the neck.
How Greeva Vasti Works
Greeva Vasti operates through Sweda (sweating) and falls under the Panchakarma strain of treatments. Sweda is performed with the help of warmed medicated oil held in a container and placed at the spot of discomfort on the back of the neck. This helps to relieve affected areas.
After this procedure, Abhyanga (massage) is lightly performed on the patient.
Greeva Vasti is done in the morning if kapha dosha is dominant (neck stiffness), in the noon if pitta predominates (burning sensations or inflammation), and if vaata is dominant (pain), then treatment is performed in the evening. With these factors being considered, Greeva Vasti is generally performed early in the morning.
The oils used in Greeva Vasti and in the Abhyanga massage are Ksheerabala tailam, Mahamasha tailam, Mahanarayana tailam, Kottamchukkadi tailam, Balashwagandhadi tailam, Ashwagandhabalalakshadi tailam, Sahacharadi tailam, Murivenna, Pinda tailam, Tiktaka ghritam, and Til tailam (sesame oil).
The performance of Greeva Vasti on an empty stomach is preferable because the patient will have to lie on his or her back for a significant amount of time.
Why is Greeva Vasti Important?
Greeva Vasti is important in relieving the strain of the neck, which is the largest portion of the spine (the spinal cord occupying only a minimal amount). This treatment is important to relieve neck pain as it provides significant and lasting relief from even the most acute ailment(s).
Greeva Vasti helps in alleviating:
- Cervical spondylosis
- Sprains and strains
- Tension headaches
- Migraines with aura
- Wry neck (Torticollis)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Spinal stenosis
- Slipped herniated disc
The benefits of Greeva Vasti are:
- Relief from pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper limbs
- Relief from pain and inflammation
- Improvement of neck mobility
- Increased blood supply to the neck, shoulders, and arms
- Reduced frequency of headaches and dizziness
Purvakarma, which is the preparation prior to actual treatment, involves 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. After this, it is determined whether the Greeva Vasti is the suitable treatment for the condition.
The materials needed for the treatment are medicated oils, medicated ghee, a bowl to store the oil, water, black gram flour, sterile cloths, and herbal powders.
The herbal powders used in Churna Pinda Sweda (powder bolus fomentation), before Greeva Vasti are Rasnadi Churna, Kottamchukkadi Churna, Jatamayadi Churna, Ellumnishadi Churna, Grihadhoomadi Churna, and Kolakulattadi Churna.
After the Greeva Vasti procedure takes place for a duration of 30-35 minutes, the oil is slowly removed. This is followed by a light massage (Abhyanga) and a proper bath. The procedure concludes with a medicated enema so that the vayus (air) in the body are balanced and that there is no imbalance of doshas present.
Greeva Vasti is one of the most effective treatments recommended in Ayurveda for relieving neck pain and stiffness.