Introduction of Panchakarma
Modern civilization has taken great strides in providing materialistic comfort to human beings. But along with comforts, many ailments too have come along. Ayurveda, the ancient healing system which encompasses a wide range of techniques to treat illnesses and encourage general well-being including herbs, yoga, acupuncture (marma puncture), diet, breathing exercises, massage, etc., very well suits the purpose.
Importance of Panchakarma Therapy
Ayurveda emphasizes preventive and healing therapies, along with various methods of purification, and rejuvenation. A proper cleansing program such as Panchakarma therapy is one of the finest solutions to the stressed lifestyle and diseases of modern times. This therapy brings constitutional harmony while promoting cellular rejuvenation and overall vitality and immunity of an individual. The purpose of the treatment is to keep all doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) in equilibrium.
Recommendations during Therapy
A light diet is recommended, as well as essential restrictions on cold drinks, cold food, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and dairy products – all substances which should not be resumed (if at all) until sometime after Panchakarma is completed. The reason for this is that during the cleansing process, the digestive fire (agni) takes a rest. Also, as toxins move back into the gastrointestinal tract, the power of digestion is further slowed. Light food diet such as khichdi (moong dal and rice preparation) will provide adequate nourishment, nourishes all the tissues of the body, is very easy to digest, is excellent for de-aging of cells, and assists in the detoxification and cleansing process.
3 Steps in Treating Diseases
- Samshodhana (cleansing process)
- Samsamana (palliative measures)
- Nidana Parivarjana (treating the causes)
5 basic Cleansing Methods (Shodhans)
- Vaman (Therapeutic vomiting or emesis): April and May (Vasant Ritu).
- Virechan (Purgation): October and November (Sharad Ritu).
- Vasti (Enema): July and August (Varsha Ritu).
- Nasya (Elimination of toxins through the nose): All seasons except rainy and cloudy days.
- Raktamokshana: Detoxification of the blood.
Benefits of these Procedures
- Elimination of morbid toxins from the body.
- Enhanced digestion and better absorption.
- Minimize the occurrence of diseases and their severity.
- Restoration of health.
The therapies and process of Panchakarma
Panchakarma Treatment is a specialized Ayurvedic therapy that involves the internal purification of the body through five specially designed procedures. One key characteristic of Panchakarma is that it can provide both prevention and cure for various health concerns. It’s not just a bio-purifying therapy, Its broad therapeutic effects can also deliver visible relief from many diseases.
Stage 1: Purvakarma –
For a better outcome of Panchakarma treatment, it is essential to prepare the body before the main purification procedure. For this, we have two pre-purification measures –
- Snehana (Oleation): Snehana includes use of oil or oily substance on the body. Ayurveda offers different oils made from various home grown and mineral ingredients mostly for external use. Aside from oils and ghee utilized especially for internal application. The fatty substance goes about as a viable medium, figures out how to achieve the more profound tissues, helps in carrying the medicinal ingredients every cell of the body and loosen up toxins stuck in the cells.
- Swedana (Fomentation): The treatments that produce sweat are called fomentation treatments. Snehana treatments are followed by the fomentation treatments. The tissues made delicate by snehana treatments become more flexible by fomentation therapies. Profound established toxins relaxed by snehana melt because of fomentation therapy and help it to flush out of the body.
Stage 2: Pradhan Karma – The Main 5 Panchakarma Therapies
Panchakarma is often called a ‘Five action‘ therapy. It is customized to suit every individual, based on the needs of the person. It varies a lot and depends on the Ayurvedic constitutional type, the individual’s dosha imbalances, age, digestive strength and immune strength.
Depending on the needs, all or only parts of the five therapies are utilized. Sometimes two or three of the therapies are linked together to form the basis of the treatment. The five karmas in Panchakarma are:
- Vamanam (therapeutic emesis) – induced vomiting helps clear the upper gastro till the duodenum (end of stomach) and part of the respiratory tract.
- Virechanam (purgation) – induced purgation clears the lower gastro from the duodenum (end of stomach) till the exit.
- Basti ((Therapeutic Enema) – using medicated oil or therapeutic decoction enema. The oil enema helps lubricate the rectal area and take out all the lipid soluble waste out through the anus. The decoction enema cleanses the area from the transverse colon till the anus.
- Nasyam – nasal instillation of medicated substances helps clear the respiratory tract and para-nasal sinuses.
- Raktamokshana (Blood-letting) – This treatment is useful for cleaning of blood and viable against ailments caused because of impure blood. It can be done in a particular area or for the whole body. This treatment is especially valuable in different skin infections, such as psoriasis, dermatitis , and furthermore in local lesions such as abscesses and pigmentation.
Stage 3: Paschat Karma –
This is a post-purification regime to restore digestive power and bring normalcy to the body. It is done through specific diet, lifestyle management, rejuvenating medicines, and specific herbal preparations. It includes –
- Sansarjan Karma: It is a specific diet protocol aiming to gradually increase diet from liquids to semi-solids to a normal diet.
- Administration of Rasayan: taking a rejuvenating medicine as per your condition is used to help physically restore the body.
- Shaman Chikitsa: adding appropriate ayurvedic medicine may help further reduce the disease symptoms.