Januvasti is a Sanskrit term where janu means neck and vasti means to hold something. Januvasti is essentially the primary treatment recommended by Ayurveda to relieve pain in the knee joints.
It is comprised of medicated oils which have been heated and then stored in containers made from black gram flour. These are placed directly on the knee area.
How Januvasti Works
Januvasti operates through Sweda (sweating) and falls under the Panchakarma category of treatments. Sweda is done with the help of warmed medicated oils held in a container made from black gram flour around the affected knee cap(s). This helps to relieve the ailment. After this procedure, a light Abhyanga (massage) is done on the patient.
Knee problems are primarily caused due to obstruction or imbalance of the vayu (wind) in the area. Vayu is primarily caused by imbalance of the vata dosha. Januvasti, with the help of heated medicated oils, helps to counteract the cold and dry condition created by vata imbalance through Sweda (sweating).
Januvasti is done in the morning if kapha dosha is dominant (neck stiffness), in the noon if pitta predominates (burning sensations or inflammation), and if vata (pain) is dominant then the treatment is performed in the evening. With these factors considered, Januvasti is generally performed early in the morning.
The oils used in Januvasti and in the light Abhyanga (massage) are Ksheerabala tailam, Mahanarayana tailam, Mahamasha tailam, Kottamchukkadi tailam, Balashwagandhadi tailam, Ashwagandhabalalakshadi tailam, Sahacharadi tailam, Murivenna, Pinda tailam, Tiktaka ghritam, Guggulutiktaka ghritam, and Til tailam (sesame oil).
The performance of Januvasti 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 Januvasti Important?
In the breakneck pace of modern life, lack of proper sitting posture, active exercise, and basic stretching exercises has contributed to an increase in knee joint problems among the young and old alike. If a person is involved in an athletic lifestyle, he/she is even more susceptible to knee injuries or other complications related to the knee.
Standard procedures for knee treatment or kneecap surgery are complicated, exorbitantly priced, and come with a high chance of side effects and relapse of the condition post-treatment.
Januvasti provides a healthy and cost-effective alternative to standard treatments for knee injuries. It is the therapy most recommended in Ayurveda for knee injuries and allied conditions pertaining to the area. It is a wholesome treatment which ensures minimal chances of relapse.
The conditions which Januvasti alleviates are:
- Osteoarthritis of knee joints
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Osgood-Schlatter disease (a painful bump under the kneecap, common in teenage girls and boys)
- Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome
- Loose bodies in the knee joint
- Runner’s knee
- Knee bursitis
- Torn meniscus
- Patellar tendonitis
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury
The benefits of Januvasti are:
- Relief of pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the knee joints and legs
- Providing lightness in the knees and legs
- Strengthening of the knee joints and related structures
- Soothing the nerves supplying the knee joints and surrounding structures
- Enhanced blood supply to the knee joint and soft tissues around it
Purvakarma (the preparations prior to actual treatment) involve an 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, a decision is made whether the Januvasti treatment is suitable or not.
The materials needed for the treatment are medicated oils, medicated ghee, bowl to store the oil, water, black gram flour, sterile cloths, and herbal powders.
The herbal powders used are Rasnadi Churna, Kottamchukkadi Churna, Jatamayadi Churna, Ellumnishadi Churna, Grihadhoomadi Churna, and Kolakulattadi Churna.
After the 35-40 minute procedure of Januvasti is completed, the oil containers are slowly removed. This is followed by a light massage (Abhyanga) using the same oil on the knee joints. The thighs and lower limbs may or may not be massaged.
This is followed by a proper bath and finished with a medicated enema to balance air in the body.