Shalya (Surgery)


Shalya ChikitsaIn the early times, there were existing principles on surgery or shalya. It was pioneered by Ayurveda. Shalya Chikitsa, also attributed to the name, Susrutsa Samhita, is a main branch of Ayurvedic science. We became aware thousands of years ago that there were sophisticated methods of surgery that were practiced in India. There were topics on intestinal obstructions, and bladder disorders and the usage of dead bodies for dissection and educating were practiced and taught in the early times.


The original scripture of Susruta has an explained discussion of the different ranges of surgical methods which are inclusive of several methods of dealing with tumors, external and internal injuries, bone fractures, and pregnancy complication and delivery, as well as the obstruction in the intestinal loop. Susruta, the first surgeon, developed the principles of cosmetic surgery in Ayurveda. The surgical treatment that he involved for trichiasis can be seen in several operative styles used for eye diseases.


He was the most popular doctor in Ayurvedic medicine that also suggested in Shalya Tantra in addressing the treatment for diseases that is required for specific illnesses like hemorrhoids. In India, the lack of promotion stalled in the Ayurvedic surgery during the middle of the millennium is another problem encountered in Shalya tantra. It was due to the deficiency in right aseptic precautions in the earlier days. Moreover, the equipment used was crude and painful.

Treated Disorders

Based from the teachings of Susruta, Shalya tantra is best applied when the issue is exceeding medical repair. For Arbuda (cysts) Shalya tantra must be used. Apart from that, it can also be applied in Gud-bransh (prolapse rectum); Gandamala (enlarged lymph nodes, Ashmari (stones) and others. The said treatment will not only provide relief to the patient but also helpful in different situations, where the kaya chikitsa will not work out well.

Process of Shalya

This branch of Ayurvedic treatment is describing the detailed data about pre-operative, post-operative, and general procedures, and marma (significant areas) and anesthesia. It also discusses about the bandages, shastra (sharp tools), sutures (stitches) and yantras (blunt tools) that are utilized in the surgical procedure. Employing the different tools is also discussed in the Susruta Samhita.

Tools Used in Shalya

In the Shalya tantra, the tools illustrated were commonly made of stone, branches of trees, woods, and leaves of plants. For ligature, sometimes a climbing plant is sometimes employed. Shalya tantra was a popular form of treatment because it could give fast relief when compared to the slow recovery process from herbs and medicines. There are diseases which require that treatment in those cases when shalya chikitsa was the best method.

Influence in Modern Medicine

Although the traditional, natural tools were not used these days in modern surgery, the principles and basic knowledge can still be seen in modern medicine.

Find an Ayurvedic Doctor

If you think Shalya tantra works for you, find an Ayurvedic practitioner in your place. You can also get in touch with them through their websites. Check out their website today and learn what Ayurveda can do for you to improve your health or treat your current condition.


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