What is Panchakarma?
To maintain health and alleviate diseases, ayurved advocates “Panchakarma”- a powerful purification process- to eliminate mental, physical and emotional toxins.
Panchakarma literally means “pancha” meaning five and “karma” meaning actions or therapies. It is a five-fold purification therapy aimed at correcting the imbalance of bodily humors viz. vata, pitta and kapha in order to maintain their inherent equilibrium.
This therapy is widely used to cure neurological ailments like paralysis, arthritis, rheumatic pain, skin problems, mental disorders, etc. It is also used for rejuvenation.
These five therapies are vaman (therapeutic emesis), virechan (therapeutic purgation), basti (therapeutic enema), nasya (therapeutic evacuation of vitiated dosha from head) and rakta mokshana (therapeutic blood cleansing). These main therapies are preceded by some pre-treatments like snehana or abhyanga (oleation, herbal oil massage) and swedana (herbal steam bath).
Various Panchakarma Procedures:
Abhyanga / Snehana
Abhyanga is a whole body massage with specific herbal oils. Abhyanga has much deeper and far-reaching effects than an ordinary massage. Abhyanga achieves deepest healing effects by naturally harmonizing Body-Mind & Spirit. This massage is usually followed by a medicated steam bath (swedan). It is one of the most rejuvenating treatments of ayurveda.
Abhyang increases tissue strength, improves blood circulation, rejuvenates the whole body, removes the cellulite, beautifies the skin, delays aging, induces sound sleep, promotes vitality, pacifies vata imbalance, reduces stress and removes toxins.
It is a process to induce sweating by using steam of special herbs specific to the dosha and ailments of a person. This herbal steam bath opens the pores and flushes and cleanses the system through the skin.
Abhyang reduces pain in the body, eliminates toxins, promotes lightness, reduces stiffness and beautifies the skin.
Vamana (Therapeutic Vomiting)
Vamana, is a therapeutic emesis therapy, which cleanses toxins related with kapha dasha. Pre-treatment such as intake of medicated ghee, abhyanga (oil massage) and swedana (medicated steam bath) are administered prior to inducing vamana, to loosen and remove the toxins from the body. This treatment is very effective in bronchial asthma, chronic allergies, hay fever, psoriasis, nasal congestion, obesity, edema, chronic indigestion, skin disorders, vitiligo, psychological disorders, hyperacidity, etc.
Virechana (Therapeutic Purgation)
This is a medical purgation therapy, which removes toxins related with Pitta dosha from the body. It is a safe procedure without any side effects. It is effective in chronic skin disorders, vitiligo psoriasis, diabetes, asthma, paraplegia, gynecological disorders, elephantiasis, headaches, hyperacidity, constipation, digestive disorders, Joint disorders, hemiplegia etc.
Basti (Medicated Enema)
Considered as the mother of all treatments, it cleanses the accumulated body toxins and waste related to all the three doaha namely vata, pitta and kapha, especially that related with vata dosha. Basti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment especially in convalescent periods. In this procedure medicated oil or ghee and herbal decoction is administered as an enema. This procedure is usually administered for 8 to 30 days, based on the medical condition of a person. This treatment is effective in neurological disorders, paraplegia, hemiplegia, colitis, cervical spondylosis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, digestive disorders, piles, backache, sciatica, hepatomegaly and splenomegaly, obesity, convalescence sexual debility and infertility.
Nasya (Nasal Instillation of Medicine)
Nasya is the administration of medicated oil through the nose, which cleanses and removes accumulated toxins and waste from the head and neck region. This treatment is usually given for 7 days. Based on the medical condition of a person, it can be given up to 30 days.
It is useful in nasal allergies, nasal polyp, sinusitis, chronic cold, neurological dysfunctions, paraplegia, hemiplegia, trigeminal neuralgia, Bel’s palsy, insomnia, headaches of various origin, migraine, premature graying of hair, loss of smell and taste, frozen shoulder, stiffness of the neck, etc.