|Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means "five actions" or
"five treatments." This is a process used to clean the body
of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition. Ayurveda says that imbalanced doshas create waste matter.
This waste matter is called Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a
foul-smelling, sticky, noxious substance that needs to be
evacuated from the body as thoroughly as possible.
Ayurveda Emphasizes Preventative And Healing Therapies Along With
Various Methods Of Purification And Rejuvenation. Ayurveda Is More
Then A Mere Healing System, It Is A Science And Art Of Appropriate
Living Which Helps To Achieve Longevity. It Can Also Guide Every
Individual In The Prevention Of Disease And Long Term Maintenance
Of Health. To Achieve This Balanced State Of Body, Mind And
Consciousness, Ayurveda Prescribes Panchakarma Therapy For The
Cleansing Of Body Toxins.
Panchakarma will stick out the excess doshas (or imbalances
in the dosha) along with the sticky Ama out of your system
by means of the body waste evacuation channels such as sweat
glands, urinary tract, intestines, etc. Panchakarma is,
thus, a balancing operation. It involves
daily massages and oil baths and is extremely pleasant experience.
Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal treatment for toning
your mind body system. (This is like a tune up for the car.)
Steps in Panchakarma
Panchakarma is a five-fold therapy; it is highly
personalized based on the needs of the individual depending
on the body type, dosha imbalances etc. Usually, only parts
of the five therapies are needed.
- Therapeutic vomiting (Vamana)
- Purgation Therapy (Vireka, Virechan, herbal laxative
- Nasal Administration - Nasya (herbal inhalation
- Blood Letting (Rakta Moksha)
Pre-Purification Measures for Panchakarma.
Before The Actual operation of purification begins, There is A
need to prepare the body in prescribed methods to encourage the
release of toxins. The two procedures are Snehana And
Snehana (Abhyangam) is the oil massage. Oil is applied to
the entire body with a particular type of massage, which helps the
toxins to move towards the gastrointestinal tract. Oil message
also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple, thus
helping to remove stress and nourish the nervous system. Snehana
is given daily for three to seven days, as indicated.
Swedana is sudation or sweating and is given every day
immediately following the snehana. 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.
Purification Measures Of Panchkarma
Therapeutic vomiting (Vamana)
This treatment is used when there is congestion in the lungs
causing repeated attacks of bronchitis, cough, cold or
asthma. The objective of the therapy is to induce vomiting
to get rid of the mucus causing excess kapha. A drink
consisting of licorice and honey, or calamus root tea is
given to the patient. (Other substances used include salt,
and cardamom) Vomiting is induced by rubbing on the tongue.
4-8 vomiting is the target. After vomiting the patient will
feel very comfortable; most of the congestion, wheezing and
breathlessness will disappear along with the clearing of the
Therapeutic vomiting is used for cough, cold, symptoms of
asthma, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, anemia, poisoning,
skin diseases, diabetes, lymphatic obstruction, chronic
indigestion, edema (swelling), epilepsy (between attacks),
chronic sinus problems, and for repeated attacks of
Purgation Therapy (Vireka, Virechan, herbal laxative
Virechan is the cleansing of the pitta and the purification
of the blood toxins. Generally, it is administered three
days after the Vamana treatment. If Vamana therapy is not
needed, Virechan can be administered directly. Virechan
cleanses the sweat glands, small intestine, colon, kidneys,
stomach, liver, and spleen. A number of fine herbs are used
as a laxative. These include senna, prune, bran, flaxseed
husk, dandelion root, psyllium seed, cow's milk, salt,
castor oil, raisins and mango juice. When taking these
laxatives, it is important to adhere to restricted diet.
Vireka is used for treatment of skin diseases, chronic
fever, piles, abdominal tumors, worms, gout, jaundice,
gastrointestinal problems, constipation, and irritable bowel
Medicated enemas are used for various specific reasons. In
general, this treatment is used to flush the loosened doshas
out through the intestinal tract. There are over 100
specific enemas listed in Ayurveda.
Basti involves introducing medicinal substances such as
sesame oil, calamus oil, or other herbal decoctions in a
liquid medium into the rectum. Basti is especially good for
vata disorders. It alleviates constipation, distention,
chronic fever, the common cold, sexual disorders, kidney
stones, heart pain, vomiting, backache, neck pain and hyper
acidity. Such vata disorders as sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism, and gout can also be treated by Basti. There are
about 80 vata related disorders in Ayurveda. About 80
percent of them can be treated with medicated enemas.
Since vata is mainly located in the colon and bones, the
medication is administered rectally.
Type of Basti:
- Oil Enema or Nirhua Basti - 1/2 to 1 cup of warm
sesame oil (for chronic constipation)
- Decoction enema or Anuvasana Basti (Herbal enema) -
1/2 cup of gotu kola or comfrey decoction with 1/2 cup of
warm sesame oil
- Nutrition Enema - 1 cup of warm milk
The basti should not be given to persons suffering from
chronic indigestion, bleeding from rectum, cough,
breathlessness, diarrhea, diabetes, severe anemia, to aged
or to children under 7. Don't give decoction enemas to
people suffering from acute fever, diarrhea, cold,
paralysis, heart pain, or severe pain in the abdomen.
Nasal Administration Nasya (herbal inhalation therapy)
This treatment involves inhaling vapor from medicinal herbs
that have been infused in boiling water. It is used mostly
to eliminate kapha-oriented problems, of ear, eyes, nose,
and throat disorders such as migraine, sinusitis, catarrh,
The nose is the gateway to the brain and to consciousness.
Prana, or life energy, enters the body through breath taken
in through the nose. Nasal administration of medication
helps to correct the disorders of prana affecting the higher
cerebral, sensory and motor functions. Nasya is indicated
for dryness of the nose, sinus congestion, hoarseness,
migraine headache, convulsions and certain eye and ear problems.
Types of Nasya
- Virechan (cleansing with use of powders or herbs)
- Nutritional Nasya (for vata)
- Sedative Nasya
- Nasya decoctions
- Ghee or oil Nasya
- Nasal massage
Substances such as calamus powder, gotu kola, onion,
garlic, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, ghee oil decoctions
are used in Nasya. Nasal medication should not be
administered after a bath, food, sex, drinking alcohol,
during pregnancy, or menstruation.
Blood Letting (Rakta Moksha)
Blood letting is used to eliminate toxins that are absorbed
into the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract.
This process purifies the blood. It is used for disorders
such as repeated attacks of skin disorders such as urticaria,
rash, eczema, acne, scabies, leucoderma, chronic itching,
and hives. It was also found effective for enlarged liver
and spleen, and for gout.
Blood letting, which should only be administered by a
qualified physician, is useful to relieve several pitta
disorders such as acne and rash. If administered properly,
it stimulates the antitoxic substances in the blood stream, thus developing the immune mechanism in
the blood system.
Do not administer blood letting in cases
of anemia, edema, weakness or to very old and very young
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