• Introduction to Panchakarma

    Posted on by Dr. Shweta Labde

    Panchakarma is an effective and miraculous Ayurvedic method of treatment which detoxifies the body. Body undergoes metabolism continuously through which waste products (toxins) are formed, these toxins are known as ‘Aam’ . This aam is the root cause of various diseases. Panchakarma procedure removes Aam from our body in efficient way without any adverse effects on body. ‘Pancha’ – means Five and  ‘Karma’ – means Actions/Therapies.  These are all shodhan (cleansing of vitiated doshas and bringing them to normalcy) therapies. Panchakarma consists of five major therapies namely :

    1. Vaman
    2. Virechan
    3. Basti
    4. Nasya
    5. Raktamokshan

    These therapies are known as Pradhan Karma , meaning main procedures. Snehan (oleation/massage) and Swedan (steam) are associated procedures which should be done before pradhan karmas and are so called Purva karma. Purva karma is a preparatory stage for the main procedures, it brings the aggravated doshas in koshtha for their elimination.

    Pre-purification Therapies : Snehan (Massage /Oleation therapy) and Swedan (Sudation) are the two Purva karmas.

    • Snehan : Snehan or Oleation therapy helps in loosening the body toxins which are stuck up into our body systems causing ailments. Oleation is of two types internal and external oleation, where in Internal Oleation Sneha dravya like plain or medicated ghee, oil is taken orally in desirable amount. External Oleation therapy consists of whole or partial body massage with medicted oils. Our skin being semi-permeable absorbs this oil to some extent.
    • Swedan : Swedan or Sudation therapy is sweating induced by steam,it liquifies the toxins and increases the flow of toxins to Gastrointestinal tract (Koshtha). There are various ways of applying swedan therapy like Nadi sweda, Pinda sweda, Patra pottali, Valuka sweda, etc the type of sweda to be used is selected according to patient and the disease he is suffering from.

     Similarly there are other associated procedures apart from these basic five therapies which will be dealt further,but to mention a few they are : Shirodhara, Shirobasti, Katibasti, Janubasti, Netra tarpan, Karnapuran, Pizicchil, Tailadahara, Nabhipuran, Hridbasti, Manyabasti, etc.

    Pradhan karma (The five fold Purification measures) :

    1. Vaman  (Therapeutic Emesis) : Therapeutic emesis is administered in patients suffering from derranged Kapha accumulated in Respiratory tract, Sinuses, Bronchial asthma, Psoriasis, Chronic Allergies, Obesity, Chronic Indigestion, Hyperacidity, Nasal Congestion and other skin disorders. Patient is advised to drink decoction of liquorice, or Acorus calamus root, or sugarcane juice – as per his body constitution and ailment he is suffering from – to the full extent and emesis is induced. Minimum 4-6 bouts of vomit indicates excellent purification.
    2. Virechan (Therapeutic Purgation) : Virechan is given to patients suffering from Pitta dosha related diseases. It cleanses the GastroIntestinal tract thoroughly and voids off the Pitta toxins accumulated in the liver, gall bladder and small intestine. Purgation is given with medicines like Cows milk, Black currants, castor oil, etc.It is a safe procedure without side effects. Virechana helps to cure Chronic Fever, Diabetes, Asthma, Skin disorders such as Herpes, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia, Joint disorders, Digestive disorders, Constipation, Hyperacidity, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Headaches, Elephantiasis and Gynecological disorders.
    3. Basti (Enema) : Basti is considered to be the most effective treatment in Ayurveda as it not only prime cure for Vata disorders but also cleanses toxins created by pitta and kapha through rectum. Medicated oil, ghee or decoction is introduced through anus into the colon. Basti  is an effective therapy in osteoporosis, gas trouble, constipation, backache, hemiplegia, paraplegia, sciatica, cervical spondylosis, chronic fever, arthritis, muscle spasm, acidity, digestive disorders, joint pain, slip disc, sexual disorders,etc.and other ailments caused due to imbalance of vata dosha. The large intestine,and bones are the main seat of vata, so Basti is administered through rectum which removes toxins and also nourishes the membrane of colon and controls vata diseases efficiently.
    4. Nasya (Nasal drops) : Medicine instilled into nose is known as Nasya. It acts on doshas accumulated in head, neck and face region, especially kapha dosha. It drains out sinus,relieves headache,improves eye sight, memory and promotes hair growth. Nasal allergies, polyps, neck stiffness, frozen shoulder, Bell’s palsy can be well treated by Nasya.In cases of Hemiplagia and Paraplegia it stimulates brain tissues and improves functioning of nervous system.
    5. Raktamokshan (Blood letting) : Raktamokshan is an unique procedure specially performed in disease due to Pitta and Rakta dushti. Raktamokshan is carried out in various ways but the most common techniques used are application of Leeches and blood letting with syringe. Leeches suck impure blood from our body and are usually helpful in localised area. It reduces pain and swelling in joint pain, localised skin diseases, cracked heels,vericose veins, etc. Blood letting through syringe is effective in generalised body ailments like Hypertension, Large area of Vericose veins, Vitiligo, severe Headache,etc.

    These five fold therapies work wonders when performed properly under supervision of well experienced, efficient Ayurvedic consultant and obedient patient who is willing to follow all the necessary rules Do’s and Dont’s as advised by the Doctor.

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