Special Therapies

There are some special therapies which are unique to Siddha system of medicine. Varmam, Thokkanam and kayakarpam are the most significant.
I. Varmam
‘Varma kalai’ is a Tamil word meaning "art of vital points".
'Varmam' is the branch of Siddha system of medicine which involves a special kind of therapy based on vital points called varma points present in the body. Though it is closely related to the ancient Dravidian martial art ‘varma kalai’, it was developed and used by Siddhars as a healing science. This healing application called ‘Varma Vaidhiya’ is used to treat patients suffering from paralysis, nervous disorder, spondylitis and other Joint disorders.
According to varma theory, there are points in the body which are vital energy (Prana vayu) storing points through which vital energy is transmitted to various parts of the body and all the functions of the body are mediated. Totally 108 varma nilaigal (points) are defined and these are used to stimulate energy, heal disease or stimulate the immune mechanism. Siddha texts like ‘Varma kannadi’ and ‘Varma suthiram’ have described about these 108 vital points.
Varmams have been classified based on the type of pressure or the nature of source by which injury is caused.
In Varma literature the following classes of varmams are mentioned.
  • Padu varmam (varmam due to injury)
  • Thodu varmam (by touch) 
  • Thattu varmam (by blows)
  • Thaduvu varmam (by massage)
  • Nakku varmam (by lick)
  • Nokku varmam (by stare)
The widely used ones are the 12 Paduvarmams and 96 Thoduvarmams as there is less consistency with the other categories because of the way of application and the deeper knowledge needed to apply them. In these categories the Nokku varmam is rarely seen practiced, as those masters who were able to do this are almost extinct.
To stimulate the varma points Pressure should be applied in these points at a particular and given strength as mentioned in Varma literature.  However, the same points if wrongly activated may cause pathological changes or diseases and may even result in death. Trauma or injury to tissue or organs around these vital points is harmful and causes diseases which are mentioned in Varma Literature. The practice and method of pressing the varmam points need a great expertise and even a slight deviation may cause adverse results or danger. Among the 108, 12 are major points which control the functions of the vital organs of the body.
Varma Points
Part of Human body


From head to neck


From neck to navel


From navel to arm





II. Thokkanam
The term Thokkanam is a combination of two words 'Thokku', meaning skin and 'anam' meaning support or tone or heat. Thokkanam is one of the 32 external remedies in Siddha system. It is a structured massage technique mainly used in treatment of chronic rheumatic (vaatham) ailments.      
Thokkanam focuses on treating diseases caused by aggravation of vatham. According to humoral theory of Siddha, Vatham is the active force responsible for the physiological functioning of Neuro muscular as well as musculo skeletal systems. In Neuro muscular disorders vaayu or vatham is affected leading to wasting of muscles. So by rejuvenating the depleted vaayus through Thokkanam it is easier to treat the patient and prevent disability if intervened earlier.
This therapy which is done on the basis of nine methods given in literature gives excellent results even without any internal drug administration. 'Theran Tharu' describes this technique in detail.
Benefits of thokkanam
    Tones skin, muscles and nerves
    Disseminates air (vaayu) and eliminates it if it is in excess
    Improves nutrition of muscles
    Relaxes and increases sleep
    Rejuvenates and increases sexual power
    Removes body pain
III. Kayakarpam (Elixir science)
 Kayakarpam is a special branch of Siddha medicine. “Kaya” means Body and “Karpam” means strong as stone’ Hence it together means keeping the body as strong as stone.
These medicines were formulated several thousand years back by our great Siddhars, for the well being of the mankind. Kayakarpam is the process of rejuvenation. Rejuvenation helps to prolong life of human beings and prevent ageing, greying of hair, wrinkling and even death. According to Siddhars, Longevity or Rejuvenation is not only essential to keep the body healthy but also helpful in purifying the soul by preserving the body so as to attain the salvation or ultimate truth. This is well explained in the precious writings called “Thirumanthiram“by Thirumoolar.
Kayakarpam includes avizhtham or medicines and also regimen of life like Attanga yoga. Muppu (Special salt) which is also known as crown of Siddha medicine is also said to be a part of kayakarpam.
Kayakarpam medicines have certain restrictions and regimen. According to Siddhars,
  • It should be always started on a favourable day.
  • The person is counselled by giving a good concept about the Therapy and its benefits. This is done to make his mind  peaceful and prepared for the therapy.
  • The person is made aware about the importance of soul and eternal truth of union of jeevatma and paramatma through a perfect body. This makes the person realize the fact of protecting his body in order to protect his divine soul.
  • Diet restrictions are made. Usually sour, salt, fish, meat, pungent food are strictly avoided.
  • The medicines are given for a particular course without any break.
  • The Karpa drugs should be given by physicians who are experienced and renowned.
 Karpa avizhtham or Karpa medicines include Mooligai (herbal) and Thathu (mineral) preparations. They are of two types
(i)           Those prepared on daily basis and
(ii)          Those are prepared and preserved already.
Herbal Karpa avizhtham are mentioned in texts like Theraiyyar yamaga vemba, Bohar karpa 300, Bohar 7000, Thiruvalluvar karpa 300, Pulathiar karpam 300etc.
Mineral Karpa medicines are present in texts like Agasthiyar chendooram 300, Bohar 7000, Bohar 700 etc.
Kayakarpam provides both general and spiritual benefits.
General benefits:
    Delaying of natural phenomenon of ageing
    Both physique and mind are strengthened
    Life style diseases including Diabetes mellitus, Hypertension can be prevented.
    No side effects are present as these are safe drugs.
    Occurrence of diseases can be prevented as immune system of the person is strengthened.
Spiritual benefit:
Spiritually, the serpent power or Kundalini is aroused and the super conscious state is attained, when the Jeevatma get united with Paramatma. Karpam like Attanga yoga makes this possible. Soul can be purified and salvation is believed to be attained. By regular practice of Yoga, stress and strain also gets relieved and lifespan increases.
In brief Kayakarpam nourishes the three – Mind, Body, and Soul!


References : www.tkdl.res.in (link is external) 
                      www.siddham.in (link is external)

  • PUBLISHED DATE : Sep 24, 2015
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Oct 23, 2015


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