Managing Frozen Shoulder with Ayurveda

Managing Frozen Shoulder with Ayurveda

By Linda Rowe May 20, 2021

Managing Frozen Shoulder with Ayurveda

By Linda Rowe, Ayurvedic Practitioner


Ayurveda is an excellent choice for addressing the pain associated with Frozen Shoulder. Generally, this condition starts off with pain and stiffness, which results in a dry joint that feels constricted. The pain and stiffness can start in the upper back and encompass the whole upper body to the shoulder joint, including the neck. There’s a gradual loss of movement in the shoulder joint and movement becomes severely limited.

The pain, stiffness and joint immobility can happen anywhere in the body, not just the shoulder, but also in the jaw, low back, and cervical spine. Ayurveda refers to Frozen Shoulder as Apabāhuka, and there are two types. One type is associated with dry inflammation and is primarily a vata condition with a racing or moving sensation. The second type is associated with moist inflammation caused by kapha or ama blocking the movement of vata and the pain stays in one localized area.

Causative Factors for Frozen Shoulder

  • Injury
  • Overuse or repetitive movement, office jobs, physical labor, etc.
  • Diabetes or stroke
  • Secondary condition caused by rheumatoid arthritis or degenerative disorders
  • Excess bitter and astringent foods
  • Exposure to wind and cold
  • Incorrect sitting or sleeping position
  • Excess foods or activities that aggravate vata

Avoid Activities that Increase Vata Aggravation     

  • Cold showers or baths
  • Excess use of air conditioning
  • Excess oily and fried foods
  • Heavy or even moderate exercise
  • Improper sitting or sleeping positions

Diet and Lifestyle Activities that Balance Vata Aggravation

  • Improve your digestion by using spices, ginger, black pepper, cumin
  • All meals should be cooked, warm and moist
  • Use turmeric and black pepper for anti-inflammatory support
  • Do slow gentle and restorative movement like yoga or walking
  • Nadi shodana (breathing exercises that reduce stress)
  • Warm baths with epsom salt

Each of the two types of Frozen Shoulder has a different approach toward healing. The pure vata type requires nourishment through oils and the blocked vata/kapha type requires first drying up the excess kapha or ama, then nourishment through oil.

Products for External Support

We need to put the lubrication back in the body to relieve pain and oils produce the best results. Oils with heating properties will break down the calcification and help the blocked vata move. There are a few Ayurvedic oils that are especially helpful for the pain, stiffness and inflammation associated with Frozen Shoulder.

  • Prasarani Oil balances both vata and kapha dosha, the main herb is prasarni, supports and nourishes the neck and shoulder joints, helps strengthen neck muscles.
  • Kottamchukkadi Oil balances pitta dosha, the main herb is kottam which help support chronic inflammation of the joints.

Herbal pastes, known as Lepams, are another effective way to support Frozen Shoulder. Jatamayadi Churnam (external paste) and Kottamchukkadi Churnam (external paste) are powders thar are mixed into a paste and applied to the affected area; they are helpful for relieving pain and swelling.


Products for Internal Support

  • Prasaranyadi Kwatham balances both vata and kapha dosha, helps nourish the muscles, nerves, and joints, especially the shoulder joints.
  • Rasnairandadi Kwatham balances vata dosha, supports muscles and nerve pain, and is especially recommended for back pain.

Ayurvedic Body Therapies

  • Abhyanga is a medicated warm oil massage and normally steam therapy is given right after the massage. This therapy is especially effective for relieving stiffness.
  • Pizhichil is streaming of hot oil, along with simultaneous massage.
  • Elakizhi is an herbal poultice prepared with vata balancing herbs such as Castor leaves, Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Dashamoola, Devadaru which are tied in a cloth and dipped in warm herbal oil and applied over the shoulder joints.
  • Njavarakizhi is especially useful in degenerative conditions. First Abhyanga (oil massage) is done, and then a rice pack made from cloth is dipped in prepared kashayam and is applied over the affected area of the shoulder.
  • Podi Kizhi is a mixture of herbal powders tied in cloth linen bags and dipped in oil and applied over shoulder joint.
  • Pichu cotton bags are soaked in warm herbal oils and applied to the affected shoulder joints.
  • Either a single or a combination of above therapies is used in Ayurvedic treatment of frozen shoulder.


Meet the Author

Linda Rowe, Ayurvedic Practitioner


Ayurvedic Consultation

Kottakkal is committed to offering the highest quality Ayurvedic Healthcare. We offer two ways to have an Ayurvedic consultation. 1. Free 15-minute Consultation with our Ayurvedic practitioner, Julie Wardwell for when you need a product recommendation for a basic health problem. 2. In-depth Consultation with our Ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Vishwanath Guddadar for when your condition is chronic with multiple symptoms.


Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and information are not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute, or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the advice of a trained Ayurvedic professional, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at We will provide you with information to consult with Ayurvedic professionals. Always check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.


Kottakkal Support

Linda Rowe lives in northern Maine in a rural community along the Canadian border. She lives off grid and, in the woods, where she can be constantly reminded of the Ayurvedic principles and the Laws of Nature as they are all around her. Linda has a B.A. in Speech Communication and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. A strong interest in natural healing modalities ran parallel to all her academic/professional endeavors finally leading her to yoga and ayurveda. Her 26+ years of practicing, studying, and teaching yoga along with her desire to help people access their healing ability inevitably led her to study ayurveda.

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