The Oleation (Snehana) Therapy

Oleation (Snehana) Therapy or Uncting destroys Vata, softens the body and removes retention of excrements. Medicinal Substances which are Heavy (Not easily Digestible), Cold (Potency is cold, i.e.), Mobile (Fluid), Unctuous (Slippery), Dull, Sukshma, are generally Oleating (Lubricating).

Fats (Oleating substances) should be used appropriately mixed with eatables, or in the form of Enemas, Nasal Drops, Anointing over the body, Holding in the mouth, Putting over the head, Into the eyes and/or ears.

Sources of Uncting substances (Easily Available):
  • Vegetable Sources: Til (Sesame), Haritaki, Arandi (Castor), Bibhitaki, Danti, Bilwa (Bael fruit);
  • Animal Sources: Fish, quadruped animals, birds. Their curd, milk, ghee, Butter-Fat, meat, muscle-fat and bone marrow are used as Uncting substance. The effect in Descending order is Ghee, Bone Marrow, Muscle Fat, Oil. Ghee augments the properties of the substances with which it is used. As Ghee is basically Sweet Taste, it does not produce burning sensation during digestion process.
  • As regards heaviness, Marrow > Muscle Fat > Oil > Ghee.

Benefits of Drinking Fats: Good Digestive Fire, Healthy G.I. Tract, Healthy Body Tissues (Dhatus), Physical Strength, Good Body Lustre, Powerful Sense organs & One Ages slowly.

Suitable For: People suffering from Vata Ailments, People who have to be administered Sudation (Fomentation, Sweating) & Other Purifactory therapies, People who indulge more in wine, women & exercise, Think or worry too much, The aged, The children, The Debilitated, The emaciated, Very dry (Vata is high), Blood & Semen is of the poor quality, Ophthalmic, Blindness, and have difficulty in getting up quickly.

Unsuitable For: Very weak or strong Digestive Fire, Very Obese (Vitiated Kapha) or Debilitated, Suffering from Stiffness of thighs, Diarrhoea, AMA, Diseases of Throat, Artificial Poisoning, Abdominal Enlargement, Fainting, Vomiting, Anorexia, Thirst, Alcoholic Intoxication, Who have had abnormal Delivery (Caesarean!), or are to be administered Nasal Therapy, Enema or Purgative Therapy.

During Sadharana (Temperate Seasons), Oleation Therapy (Massage) should be done during day Time, when the Sun is clear.

Fats for drinking (Their Doses): The quantity of fat which gets digested in 6 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours is mild, medium or high dose respectively. Though in the beginning the minimum dose should be given considering the state of Doshas in a person (Nature of GI Tract).

For Purifactory therapies (Vomiting, Purgation…), fats should be given (without mixing with anything) after the previous meal has been digested, in large dose.

For mitigation of Doshas, it should be given when the person is hungry (Stomach empty), and in the medium dose.

For Brahmana (Strengthening/Stoutening the body) it should be given mixed with meat soup etc. and eaten along with food in the minimal quantity.

Used Before, During and After Food, The fats (Ghee/Oil) cure the diseases of the lower, middle and upper parts of the body, and also strengthens them, in the same order.

Bad Effects of Improper Lubrication:

Drinking fats in improper dose, of unsuitable type, eating it at improper time, eating wrong foods or indulging in wrong activities, produces dropsy, haemorrhoids, stupor, rigidity (Loss of movement), Loss of sensation, Itching, Leprosy (and other skin diseases), fever, nausea, Abdominal Pain, Flatulence, giddiness etc.

Treating the bad effects of improper Oleation: Induce Hunger, Thirst, Vomiting and Perspiration. Dry foods, drinks & Medicines should be consumed. Fermented butter milk, Yava, Pippali, Trifula, Honey, Guggul, Gaumutra etc.

Recipes for Immediate Oleation: For children, aged or for those who can’t take the discomfort of avoiding things to be avoided during Oleation: Thick soup of meat fried with more than optimum quality of fats; Powder of Til mixed with fats and half boiled molasses; Rice cooked with green gram mixed with fats and half boiled molasses; Gruel prepared from milk, mixed with good quantity of ghee, and made warm (i.e. Ghee is not to be made hot/heated, just a bit warm); Yogurt water mixed with jaggery;

Also, fats mixed with good amount of salt produce immediate Oleation, as Salt Causes exudation in the tissues, Does not cause Dryness, Sukshma, Is Ushna (Hot in Potency); Firstly, Spreads all over the body, and then undergoes transformation.

Jaggery, Bird Meats of marshy lands, Milk, Oil/s, Beer and Curd should not be used for Oleation in Leprosy & other skin diseases, Dropsy & Diabetes. For these fats boiled with Trifula, Pippali, Guggulu etc. should be used as suitable.

Complications of Uncting in high Pitta Cases: 

In persons with intestines having excessive P and strong digestive power, the Uncting substance taken is reduced to ashes in a very short time by the power of digestive fire.  The fire fanned by unction and being powerful having consumed the dose of the unction, affects the Ojas and gives rise to complicated thirst.  Even much heavy food is not able to pacify the fire fuelled and intensified with unction.  If there arises thirst on indigestion of unction, the physician should induce vomiting.  Again the patient should drink cold water and rough food and then vomit.   Ghee alone should not be taken in excess of P particularly associated with AMA because it produces jaundice in the whole body, destroys consciousness and kills the patient.

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