Besides pharmacotherapy, there are several special therapies unique to Siddha. Some of them are listed below:
'Varmam' is a branch of Siddha system of medicine, which initially evolved as an ancient Dravidian martial art. Later, Varmam practice had an interesting transformation to a healing science. Even though it stands as a branch of Siddha system of medicine, it holds a potential to establish itself as a specialty healing therapy.
According to theory, there are Varmam points in the body which are vital energy storing points through which vital energy is transmitted to the various parts of the body and all the functions of the body are mediated. 108 Varmam points are defined and these are used to stimulate energy, heal disease or stimulate the immune mechanism. However, the same points if wrongly activated may cause pathological changes or diseases and may even result in death. The practice and method of pressing the varmam points need a great expertise and even a slight deviation may cause adverse results or danger. Among the 108, 12 are major or vital points which control the function of the vital organs of the body.
It is understood that depletion or stagnation of the flow of 'pranan' or vital energy at the varmam points causes disease.
The term Thokkanam is a combination of two words 'Thokku', meaning skin and 'anam' meaning support or tone or heat. Thokkanam also called Marthanam, is a structured massage technique which is mainly used in treatment of chronic vaatham ailments. It can however, also be used in pitham and kabham ailments. This therapy practised in nine methods gives excellent results even without any internal drug administration. 'Theran Tharu' describes this technique in detail.
Benefits of thokkanam
1. Tones skin, muscles and nerves
2. Disseminates vaayu and eliminates it if it is in excess
3. Improves nutrition of muscles
4. Relaxes and increases sleep
5. Rejuvenates and increases sexual power
6. Removes body pain
III. Vaasi (Pranayamam)
Vaasi yogam is a branch of science dealing with the practice of correct breathing. There are different phases in science of breathing- physical, mental and spiritual. Controlled breathing is the scientific method of charging oneself with vitality and personal magnetism and was known to the ancients. Inspiration (Poorakam), suppression (Kumbagam) and expiration (Rechagam) are three vital steps in the practice of vaasi, which should be in a ratio of 1:4:2.
Siddha science believes that if a man breathes at the rate of 15/minute he takes 21,600 breaths/day and at this rate he can live for a period of at least 120 years. This therapy is mainly employed for present day lifestyle diseases arising due to improper breathing habits and several other stress-related diseases.
Other offshoots of the Siddha system
This is the branch of Siddha science dealing with planning and designing of a house or any living environment based on the positions of 'Vaastu Purushan' –the deity believed to be residing in any site and the theory of 'Panchabhootam'. This science was developed with a purpose to provide a house that ensures health, happiness and peace of mind. Accordingly, it details out certain guidelines to be followed right from selection of site to final construction of house involving several calculations which result in perfect hygienic living condition.
Astrology and Siddha
Astrology has a significant place in Siddha science as it deals with the relationship between the planets and human beings. There is considerable Siddha literature explaining the effect of planetary forces on every human, from the time of his/her birth to death. There are also references indicating that certain organs and their functions are controlled by the influence of the planets. The Siddha texts provide instances dealing with the influence of planets on the health and illness of individuals living on earth. Siddha science also deals with the positive use of planetary influences for treating certain diseases.
Siddha and Veterinary Science
Siddha medicine also deals with veterinary science. There are several references in Siddha literature describing wide range of veterinary disease and their corresponding medications.
Siddha system of medicine has a potential for evolving drugs particularly with respect to herbal antibiotics, herbal anaesthetics, herbal drugs for metabolic disorders etc. and hence have been looked as a base information for carrying out intensive inter-disciplinary research by biochemists, microbiologists, pharmacologists, endocrinologists etc.