Earth Element: Treatments in Naturopathy

Treatments in Naturopathy

Naturopathy believes in treatment of the body by enhancing the resistance and increasing the vital force of the body. It is not curative in true sense but can be called a method of balancing the vital forces and bringing them back to their natural state.
According to naturopathy our body is composed with ratios of five elements. The restoration of an element requires a treatment with the material that are composed of same element.
These are called “Panchamahabhootas” or “Panchatatwas.”
These elements are also mentioned in Ayurveda and Yogic sutras. Maharishi Charak has defined these Mahabhootas in his sutras as well. In fact, they are basic building blocks in all kind of ancient Indian sciences. According to all these sciences, the restoration of these elements can lead to a fine stage where a person is not affected by diseases anymore. Naturopathy also tries for the same but in a very different manner. It uses elemental substances to restore this balance. For example, mud is used for restoration of earth element, sunlight is used to restore fire element and so on.
Earth is an element which is known as “Prithvi Tatwa”. It is the fifth element in series. According to Chandogya Upanishadaha
“Aisham bhootanam Prithiv Rasah”[1]
The above sloka says that this element is the Rasa or essence of all other elements.
Amongst the tridoshas [2] mentioned in Ayurveda the Kapha is composed of Earth and Water. Mud is related to earth. Earth related treatments mostly employ different kind of muds for the same. It is due to same reason that earthen pots are used in summers in India. Earthen pots represent earth element which carries Water Element. Water element and Kapha removes pitta which according to Ritucharya[3] is the predominant humor in summers. So you see everything in Oriental countries is based on certain scientific reasons.

There are four types of earth which are defined in Sastras. Kshatriya Earth, Vaisya Earth, Brahmin Earth and Kshudrak Earth. Besides this sand is also a part of earth.
Kshatriya Earth: This type of mud is red in color. It can also be called red earth and it is found in Vindhya region of India.
Yellow Earth or Vaisya Earth:  This type of Mud is yellow in color. Armani earth is also yellow in color. It is used by woman to wash hairs and clean their skins. It is found near ponds and on banks of rivers.
White Earth: It is white in color and is found near ponds and rivers. It gives peace and knowledge according to sastras.
Black Earth:  It is found in areas where lava is deposited. It forms a special consistent mixture when mixed with water. It is very good in protecting hair and keeping them clean.
Sand: Sand is found on sea shores and river banks. It has small particles which help in digestion when mixed with water.
Dry and wet earth baths are observed in Naturopathy. Both needs specially prepared clean earth which is then applied on Skin. Both baths help in reduction of toxins from the body. Dry earth bath opens the pores of skin and helps in toxin reduction. Wet earth requires the person to sit in sun after the application of wet earth on body. A bath is taken after both kinds of bath. Wet earth baths help in removal of pitta doshas.
1.      Hot Bandage of Earth: Local clean earth is used for hot bandage. The earth should be free of chemicals and should be sieved properly before use. Best earth to be used is found near river banks or can be obtained from fireplaces. Water to be added in this mud should not be stirred with hands. A wooden spoon can be used for the same. A cloth bandage should be put on the affected area. Now we can use a spoon to apply the wet earth on the bandage. The earth bandage should be thick by half an inch. A second layer of woolen bandage should be applied on mud pack. The patient needs to take rest for 20 to thirty minutes after the application. The woolen bandage prevents the body heat from escaping the affected region. As the mud becomes hot with body heat this bandage is known as hot bandage. Hot bandage should be not applied on stomach just after the meals. A gap of two hours is required for the same. Earth used once cannot be used twice because it absorbs poisonous material from body.
2.      Cold Bandage of Earth: Cold bandage is a bandage which is same as above except for the woolen bandage that is put above the mud bandage.
3.      Bandage of Hot Earth: In this bandage Earth is mixed with water and is warmed on fire. Then it is applied on the body and is covered with a flannel. It is useful in sprain.
4.      Eating Sand: According to Louis Kuhne, sand can cure many ailments like constipation. Sand is not digestible and if ingested, it can clean the intestines and loosen the foreign matter.

 Alok Jagawat

[1] Chandogya Upanishad
[2] Troubles related to three humors
[3] The methods to be followed during a particular season.

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