What is Kalari Chikilsa?

What is Kalari Chikilsa?

Kalari Chikilsa has its roots in the traditional Ayurveda and the Siddhaveda systems practised in South India. Ayurveda is the traditional healing system of India, mostly found in Northern India, with reference texts in the Sanskrit language. Siddhaveda, on the other hand, is a science which came from the sage Agastya, and its reference texts are in the Tamil language. Despite being a blend of these two systems, Kalari Chikilsa is itself a unique system, using particular indigenous medicinal preparations and methodologies.

The Kalari Chikilsa system began in ancient times, when warriors had to treat their own injuries in the battlefield. Through their practice of Kalaripayattu the warriors had an excellent knowledge of the human body, especially of its ‘Marmas,’ or vital points.

Centuries later, at Dharmikam Ashram the knowledge and practice of this ancient healing system remains alive for the benefit of anyone who wishes to come and enjoy it.

How does Kalari Chikilsa work?

Traditional Indian medicine teaches that the human body is composed not merely of physical matter. It also contains a subtle energy known as Prana. Within the physical body, fluids travel through the circulatory system and nerve impulses through the nervous system. And within the subtle body, Prana travels through the Nadi channels and Chakras centers.

According to traditional Indian medicine the human body is a manifestation of the five basic elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth. These elements come together in certain patterns known as Doshas,  which literally means “quick to go out of balance.” While in a balanced state, Doshas are an energy force that cannot be detected visibly. When imbalanced they manifest visibly in the form of wind, bile and mucus.

Dosha functions

Each Dosha has a primary function in the body:

Vata –  Air and Ether is the moving force within the body. Air moves within spaces inside both the body, such as the lungs and colon, and the subtle channels.
Pitta Fire and Water is the force of assimilation in the body. Fire in the body exists in the form of water, which can be found in acidic fluids.
KaphaWater and Earth is the force of fluidity and stability in the body. Water in the body is contained by boundaries of earth, i.e. skin and tissues.

In order for a person to be in good health these forces must be balanced within his or her body. This principle is seen in the scientific concept of homeostasis where a system regulates its internal environment in order to maintain a stable and constant condition.

Marma points

Inside the human body there are 108 Marma points, also known as vital or pressure points. These points correspond to the nervous and circulatory systems as well as to anatomically sensitive areas. Furthermore, these points serve as junctions in the subtle energy system of the body. Any obstruction to the free flow of energy creates an imbalance which results in disease and discomfort.

A skilled Marma therapist will be able to identify and remove these inflammatory blockages and restore the natural equilibrium of the body. Treatments for these blockages include physical manipulation, heat therapy, and traditional herbal medicines.


A further benefit of Marma therapy is the powerful detoxification of the body. In many ways modern life encourages us to live in a ‘toxic soup,’ constantly surrounded by artificial chemicals. Our body absorbs many of these harmful substances through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and our daily interactions with our environment. These toxins become lodged inside the body and may remain there for many years.

Marma therapy treatments stimulate the body in a way which releases these toxins and draws them to the surface. After their elimination, the patient feels refreshed and rejuvenated.

Medicine making

Traditional medicine making is one of the most important aspects of our treatment system. The medicines used at Kalayiril Dharmikam Ashram have been passed down from Guru to Disciple from generation to generation. Many of these remedies are unique to our treatment system. And since there is no reliance on commercial mass production, full emphasis can be placed on the quality of each medicine. The medicines are made from pure, natural ingredients, and they are made by hand, using a wood fire. No deviation from the traditional methods is permitted.


We consider Kalari Chikilsa as a divine art, so no treatment is begun without first offering prayers.

Ayam me hasto bhagavan
{ My hand is the lord }
Ayam me bhagavattarah

{ Boundlessly blissful is my hand }
Ayam me visvabheshajah

{ This hand holds all healing secrets }
Ayam shivabhimarshanah

{ Which make whole with its gentle touch }Rig Veda