What is Panchkarma?
Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s main treatment for purification, detoxification and cleansing. The literal definition of Panchakarma – “Pancha” means five and “karma” means therapy or treatment. Panchakarma can help to balance the three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha), eliminate deep-rooted stress and remove illness-caused by toxins in the body. Panchakarma can also help to heal disease and promote prolonged youth, intelligence and alertness, improve digestion and stability of the body.
What are the benefits of Panchkarma?
Panchkarma helps removes the toxins from the digestive systems, lungs, blood vessels and nerves. It strengthens muscles, joints and improves your appetite, sleep, sexuality, concentration and memory. People many feel like having a new body after this treatment.
Who are fit to do this program?
People living with years of stress and strain, arthritis, chronic digestive problems, migraine, obesity, insomnia and addictions are fit for this program. Even for healthy people it is advised to undertake this treatment once in five years – to throw out all the impurities and chemical toxins from the body. Panchakarma may be administered to individuals between the ages of seven and eighty.
Snehan is oil therapy or olation therapy. Snehan can be done internally and externally.
The first part is taking medicated ghee (ghruta) or medicated edible oil internally. It reduces the dryness of the body and opens up the srotas (channels) of body. This is important to drive the ama( undigested food) and mala(waste products) out of the body with panchakarma. This step frees and mobilizes the waste matter accumulated over different parts of the body. This step adds to the efficiency of panchakarma.
The second part includes medicated oil massages. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple, thus helping to remove stress and to nourish the nervous system. The skin absorbs the medicinal parts of the oils to the blood.
Swedan is given after snehan. It includes steam bathing or heating the body to facilitate sweating, include sunbaths, sweat boxes, warm water baths, steam baths and it can be applied to the whole body or simply to the diseased area of the body. . An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further loosen the toxins from the individual. Swedana liquefies the toxins and increases the movement of toxins into the gastro-intestinal tract.
The choice of snehan and swedan depends on the specific conditions of the patient and his/her requirements
Main Purification process (Pradhanakarma)
Vamana: Vomiting Therapy
Vamana refers to therapeutic vomiting. This practice helps to remove Kapha toxins from the body especially from the respiratory tract. Vamana is a particularly effective treatment for individuals with a high Kapha imbalance. With daily treatment, the toxins are loosened, mobilized and ultimately eliminated from the body. Vamana can be particularly beneficial for treating allergies like hay fever, congestion in the lungs causing repeated attacks of bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma, chronic indigestion and hyperacidity, oedema, obesity, psychological disorders, psoriasis and other skin disorders.
Virechana: Purgation Therapy
Virechana refers to administration of therapeutic purgation or a therapeutic laxative. This therapy removes Pitta toxins which have accumulated in the liver and gallbladder. The treatment also results in a complete cleansing of the gastro-intestinal tract. There are no side effects and the procedure is a safe. Virechana can be particularly beneficial for treating rashes, skin inflammation, acne, chronic attacks of fever, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, asthma, constipation, diabetes, digestive disorders, elephantiasis, gynaecological disorders, headaches, hemiplegia, hyperacidity, joint disorders, paraplegia and vitiligo.
Nasya: Nasal Administration
The nose is the doorway to the brain. The nasal administration of medication is called Nasya, which can be in form of medicated herbal preparations, decoctions, oils or ghee. It is a very useful practice for cleansing Kapha toxins which have accumulated in the head and neck region. This is a highly effective treatment for sinusitis, nasal allergies, nasal polyps, headaches like migraine and chronic cold. It is particularly beneficial for Bel’s Palsy, frozen shoulder, hemiplegia, paraplegia, trigeminal neuralgia, neurological dysfunctions, stiffness of the neck, premature graying of the hair, hyper pigmentation in the face and insomnia. Nasya can also help to improve memory and eyesight, eliminate excess mucus, and increase clarity of the voice. According to the individual’s medical condition, this treatment may be practiced for up to thirty days.
Basti involves the practice of medicated enema or colonic irrigation. It can cleanse accumulated toxins from all three of the doshas while also working as a rejuvenating treatment. Enema is comprised of medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction. The enema cleanses the colon and increases muscle tone. Basti is particularly beneficial for treating backache and sciatica, cervical spondylosis, colitis, constipation and other digestive disorders. It is helpful in chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders and infertility, kidney stones, heart pain, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity and piles. Many other Vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, hemiplegia, paraplagia may also be treated with Basti.
Raktamokshana is a treatment for removing vitiated blood from the body. This practice involves bloodletting and is advised only in very rare conditions. Generally not more than 10-40 ml blood is removed at a time.
Raktamokshana can be done in different way
- Sira vedhana: Venepuncture is devised whenever vitiated blood circulates in the body.
- Jalouka prayoga: Deep-seated blood can be extracted with the help of leech application.
Raktamokshana can be helpful for: Skin diseases, Herpes, Jaundice, Ulcers, Gout, Piles, Abscess, Leucoderma, Eczema, Deep venous thrombosis, varicose veins