The author, Sri S. V. Govindan, hails from Kerala. Born on December 24, 1924, he was educated by his brothers. He had proved that academic education is not the end to all to learning. He had the good fortune to live with Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, K. Kelappan and many great leaders. In 1950 he shifted to Vinoba’s Paunar Ashram. He participated in the Bhoodan (Land gift) movement and walked with Vinoba. Vonoba told him to serve Sri Kelappan.
After Kelappan’s demise, Govindan was called to paunar Ashram. Besides his allotted work of the Ashram, Vinoba told him to massage Babaji Moghe, Balubhai Mehta and other elders. Later he got the opportunity to massage Vinobaji.
His paper on Ayurvedic massage was distributed in the 2nd All World Yoga and Ayurvedic Conference held in Italy. Since 1986 he is invited every year to Italy, Germany etc. He has also visited France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Austria, Netherlands United states of America and Canada.
The B.B.C. London interviewed him twice and he was on the Italian Televisions thrice.
His literary contributions contain several articles and books in Hindi, English, Malayalam, Marathi and Sanskrit. His Massage book is published in Italian language also.
This publication “Techniques of Massage” is a commendable guide to a very important auxiliary medical manoeuvre, which reigned with dignity in the past, through neglected later, which has again recaptured its central place amongst the steps for healing preventing diseases and promoting health. So I consider it a prestige for having selected me to write a preface to this timely publication and sincerely thank the author for this honourable gesture.
Before touching the contents of this book, I have to refer to the author of this publication. The author is not a practising doctor working with any motto of financial benefits or publicity for himself. He has been a devoted social worker for years and a disciple of Vinobaji, always active in the field of Sarvodaya work. The usefulness, scientific reliability and simplicity of massage as an art to serve the mass of people for whom the conveniences and amenities of costly medicines are out of reach attracted him. The value of this useful technique is often overlooked even by the enlightened. So when he was initiated to this field of the massage, by none other than a National leader of Kerala, Sri K. Kelappan, whose disciple he was, and from whom he learned the theory and practice of massage, he also realised that it was one of his missions to promote this useful technique by study and propagation. Encouraged by his teacher Vinobaji, he gathered whatever he could collect and had his first publication in Hindi “Malish Ka Marma.” The practical usefulness of this book for those interested in this field tempted many, who read it, to encourage the author to bring out an English version of it. It is in response to their wishes, the author has taken pains again to present this book realising his limitations but feeling the importance of such a task.
Massage is the oldest of all techniques for relieving pain, shaping the organs, regenerating the tissues and correcting all internal functions. It has its origin in the natural instincts of animals, handed over to conscious man with a mandate to improve as far as possible with his old wisdom. And in spite of all advancements in knowledge and complexes of techniques it retains its usefulness and significance even in steps for saving life from immediate death as in heart failures, stoppage of breath etc. In all kinds of therapeutic approaches, there are some links which massage alone can maintain. Any method of treatment with a holistic approach cannot leave aside massage. Ayurveda upholds its psychosomatic benefits. Sushruta and other texts explain it, classifying various types of massages and instructing on their manipulations and effect. In Ayurveda we have three doshas as the functional entities, the balance of which maintains health and upset conditions increasing diseases. The vital life force, energy or “Prana” is presented as “Vata” which is the motivating factor that influences the position and works of “pitta” the heat generating and transforming factor and “kapha” the structural and stabilinsing factor. If Vata is in order, it is recognised that Pitta and Kapha also are brought into order. Massage is the most useful technique which if manipulated in a proper way sensing the specialities of the parts can correct the course of Vata in all situation. It is in cognizance of this truth various Ayurvedic measures are formulated. Realising the importance of massage, all Kerala special treatments, which are formulated with a holistic approach to the body and mind, and have proved their efficacy in healing many complicated diseases, can be seen to have accepted massage as a part of these techniques.
The present book has 21 chapters including Introduction and Conclusion. Here I need not go into the details of the chapters, which include history, physiology, purpose, rules and various forms of massage, the special treatments of Kerala, the Japanese and Chinese massage, the guideline for practitioners etc. It is my impression that almost all relevant topics which are essential for a primary guide book and are required in an introduction to the practitioners, are covered here. The purpose of the work is not only to be a guide to novice practitioners but also a refresher guide for Ayurvedic messeurs. The techniques practised here, including Kerala practices bring reflief and better health to those who apply them in their daily lives. So I am sure all those, who are devoted in studies of holistic approaches, are sure to appreciate this work and the author. I recommend this work to al such researchers, physicians, practitioners, social and cultural workers in India and abroad.
I am neither a doctor nor an Ayurvedic Physician. When I was in Kerala with Mr. K. Kelappan (also known as kerala Gandhi) he used to undergo massage treatment every year. The massage was done by an expert masseur applying Ayurvedic oils. I observed the movements of his fantastic hands closely. And after the 21 days of the stage, I personally massaged Mr. Kelappan instead of the masseur for other 21 days, during his rest cure period.
Mr. Kelappan had a note book in which the Marmas (anatomical vital areas) were written. Due to heavy rain, that note book was accidentally spoiled and the script became illegible. So he told me to rewrite it in another note book. Thus I got the golden opportunity to understand the vital areas of the body; he showed me the actual places of the Marmas, by touching the particular points.
At Paunar Ashram, Vinobaji told me to massage the elders who were weak. With the grace of the Lord, all of them got great relief by my gentle touch. Vinobaji’s younger brother, Mr. Shivaji Bhave, had three fractures in his left leg, caused by a motor accident. He was in hospital and in plaster about a month and a half. When he was discharged from hospital he could hardly walk ten steps. As soon as he reached the Ashram, I humbly rendered my service, applying Dhanwantara tailam for massage. Within 15 days he was able to walk about a furlong. The massage continued for several months and he gradually increased the distance of walking. For the last 4 years he has been walking a mile a day without using his walking stick. He is now 84 years old.
Acharya Vinoba Bhave also accepted my humble service of massage for about five years continuously until his last breath.
The Knowledge that I got from observation and practical experience gave me the inspiration to write a book in Hindi; its several editions are published.
When the first Hindi Book was sent to Dr. P.K. Warrier, Managing Trustee, Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal, for review, he was pleased to inform me that such a book would be necessary in Malayalam also and he encouraged me that if it was written in Malayalam, he would help to publish it. So it was published in Malayalam also.
Dr. N. V. Krishnan Kutty Warrier congratulated me on my work. He also advised me to write it in English, so that it could be presented at the 1st World Congress of Yoga and Ayurveda to be held in June, 1985 in Italy.
To write a technical book in English, was very difficult for me. So the reader will forgive me if my syntax or grammatical arrangement is not perfectly correct. I tried my level at most.
I acknowledge my debt to the articles “Anatomical and Physiological significance of Marmas” and “Physical medicine and rehabilitation (both published in kottakkala Arya Vaidya Sala review) from which I collected some technical words in English.
I also referred to several other books, among which I have to mention “Health in your hand” with gratitude.
I would be thankful to God if the reader would take the benefit of massage and improve his health physically and mentally.
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