How did this ayurvedic treatment work? My typical day started daily at 5:30 am, with freshly prepared mixture of herbal extracts called kashayam. At 7 am, I was off to the massage centre where two strong masseurs were ready to tone me with specially prepared oil mixtures. They work on you in the such synchronized time that you would think only one person is massaging you. At around 9:30 am, I would begin the netra dhara, a special cleansing technique of pouring of herbal extracts in a stream over the eyes for 15 – 20 minutes.
After receiving treatment, Ashok Puri and his fellow patients enjoy their surroundings.
After lunch, I went through shirodhara, which involves gently pouring of liquids over the forehead -- the third eye, in Hindu religion. Of all the treatments, I loved the shirodhara the most, during which I felt completely stress-free.
I was also treated with khizi, a massage given through heat which essentially involves very hot oil being applied through a technique similar to the energetic strokes of a wire brush.
All the above treatments are essentially preparing the patient for the final treatment, which is performed for the last full week. Tharpanam means retention of medicines over the eyes for 30 minutes or more a day. Big wells of dough are put onto your eyes, and are poured on with warm herbalated ghee (clarified butter). The frequency and dosage depends on the extent of the problem. You are kept blind folded for almost three hours with the most refreshing bandage I have ever felt. Imagine petals of cooling flowers being used, instead of cotton.
Evenings are free time, so people gather in the front of the old home of the family to share their stories and experiences. Some sing hymns, Bollywood songs, and people from different regions tell a variety of jokes. Many people go to the evening congregation at the temple. It is a delightful sight to see all the walls of the temple lit with thousands of diyas (oil filled lamps). The place is filled with high energy. Everybody has a positive attitude and is in good spirits. Dejected people who had previous failed treatments feel once again full of hope after hearing the success stories of others.