Chavutti Thirumal, the Keralite massage with the foot, is an inseparable part of Kerala traditions. This is a special whole body massage using the feet instead of hands. It is a unique therapy where therapists holds on to the rope and balance himself with one rope and gives massage with other foot. Here the full body weight is used to give the powerful and strong massage. Chavutti Thirumal literally meaning foot pressure in the Malayalam language, and also known as Foot Massage or Indian Rope massage. It is a traditional Indian massage technique developed by the Kalari Martial Artists(Kalaripayattu), and it is thought to be approximately two thousand years old. The Kalaripayattu not only trained in battle but also developed a range of healing modalities known as Kalari Chikitsa, which comprises massage techniques; Chavutti Thirumal, Marma Massage and the application of medicinal herbal oils.
After applying healing oils, the therapist uses body weight to work on the energy lines focusing on muscle and bone alignment. This restores elasticity and flexibility. Massage is done mainly with the instep of the foot, at times using the toes and heels.
Chavutti Thirumal is a delicate balancing act with the rope and requires tremendous coordination, concentration and physical power. Chavutti Thirumal is done on a firm, supportive mat on the floor.
The technique was developed for maintaining suppleness in the body and for treating pain and swelling caused by combat. It is however, equally suitable as a treatment for those not involved in regular or strenuous physical exercise and wishing to maintain their own fitness and well being. It is based on the precise knowledge of the body’s energetic channels “nadis” or the meridian lines.
This medicinal system was originally developed by Kalari masters in order to heal battle related injuries, as well as to improve their students fighting abilities. Nowadays, Chavutti Thirumal can be applied to everyone to achieve good health. The therapy is based on the precise knowledge of the body’s energetic channels (nadis) & vital spots (marmas).
What distinguishes Chavutti Thirumal from other massage treatments is the application. The foot of the masseur is able to give a deeper, more thorough pressure and is able to cover the whole length of the body from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes, with long continuous graceful strokes. The process of learning the Chavutti Thirumal art may require a type of calling and certainly a deep dedication to the well-being of people and their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual upkeep. The masseur/se will have been inspired into trying to understand and prevent illness in order to develop the skill and dexterity required that enables a deep concentration and co-ordination to execute this joyful but intense experience.
Students undertaking the course would learn the art of massaging by applying pressure on the body with their feet. The feet provide an even and deeper pressure on the body, as compared to the hand. They will learn and practice balancing with a rope overhead, and provide massage on specific pressure points through long, deep and effective strokes on the body.