Upanaham (Herbal Sudation Therapy)

What is Upanaham Therapy in Ayurveda?

Upanaham therapy is a treatment for the joints of the body to relieve stiffness, pain, swelling, and fractures through localized perspiration. It is accomplished using a paste of herbal oils and powders, medicated leaves, and a cotton bandage. This treatment benefits those suffering from conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, inflammation, and bursitis.

Upanaham is a type of Sweda treatment which is a subset of the Panchakarma branch used in Ayurveda. Sweda, known as Herbal Sudation Therapy, involves perspiration of affected areas of the body in order to heal various ailments. In some instances, a Sweda treatment might involve a full body herbal steam as well.

How It Works

Through perspiration, the aim of Upanaham therapy is to flush out the toxins trapped under the skin in the affected joints.

In Upanaham therapy, the three principle parts of application are medically treated bandages to induce heat and perspiration, a paste made of herbal oils, and medicated leaves. The paste is made by boiling the recommended oils in milk or medicated fluids and creating a paste of them. The paste is then applied evenly as a thick coating on the affected area of the body.

After application of the paste, it is covered with a medically treated leaf to retain the heat. After this, a cotton bandage made from a long roll of cloth is lightly wrapped over the area. The entire procedure typically lasts for a duration of 12 hours. This may vary however, depending on the condition of the patient.

Importance of Upanaham Therapy

The science of Ayurveda is primarily concerned with maintaining balance in the body. The tattvas or elements, i.e., earth, water, fire, air, space (Akasa), and the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) are required to be kept in balance.

Upanaham therapy is primarily concerned with balancing the vata dosha. Vata causes dryness of skin and blockages in the body. Using localized perspiration by inducing heat causes the swelling, blockage, dislocation, or fracture to begin its healing process.

Powders and Oils Used

Kottomchukkadi choornam, upanaha choornam, nagaradi choornam, and gruhadhoomadi lepachoornam are some of the homegrown powders utilized for upanaham therapy. Sahacharadi tailam, chinchadi tailam, kottamchukkadi tailam, and narayana tailam are some of the oils used. The oils are selected after gauging the condition of the individual to be treated. They are essential to the process.

Indications for Upanaham Therapy

Upanaham therapy is recommended for:


  • It diminishes pain and swelling by supporting the tissues.
  • It is powerful in alleviating painful conditions like osteoarthritis.
  • It balances the vata dosha, thus preventing bone diseases and blockages.

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