Panchakarma Treatments

Ayurveda emphasizes on preventive and healing therapies along with various methods of purification and rejuvenation. Ayurveda is more than 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 ridding the body of toxins and revitalising the entire system.

As the name suggests, Pancha in Sanskrit stands for five and Karma stands for the therapeutic measures, therefore Panchakarma means five types of therapeutic measures. These are undertaken for the purification of the body and Ayurveda considers it necessary before the start of any therapy. The logic being that as a cloth needs to be purified or cleaned of impurities and dust before it can be permeated with a new colour, similarly the body needs to be purified before it can be permeated with new colors of youthfulness, health and vigor etc. In fact, most of the time, Panchakarma is an end in itself rather than a prelude to other therapeutic measures.

The Panchakarma therapy of Ayurveda comprises of five basic types of advanced treatment for the evacuation of vitiated Doshas (toxic materials) from the body.

Purvakarma: 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 Swedana (Abhyangam).

Snehana is the oil massage. Oil is massaged to the entire body in a particular manner which helps the toxins to move towards the gastro-intestinal tract. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple, this removes stress and nourishes the nervous system. Snehana is given daily for three to seven days, as indicated.

Swedana is sudation or sweating which is administered every day, immediately after Snehana. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further loosen the toxins from the individual. Swedana liquefies the toxins and moves them into the gastro-intestinal tract.

Pradhanakarma: Main purification measures of Panchakarma

Vamana: Emesis Therapy - when there is congestion in the lungs causing repeated attacks of bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma, the Ayurvedic treatment is therapeutic vomiting - Vamana, to eliminate the Kapha which is causing the excess mucus.

Virechana: Purgation Therapy - when excess bile, Pitta, is secreted and accumulated in the gall bladder, liver and small intestine, it usually results in rashes, skin inflammation, acne, chronic attacks of fever, vomiting, nausea and jaundice. Ayurvedic literature suggests the administration of therapeutic purgation or a therapeutic laxative for these conditions.

Nasya: Nasal Administration - the nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. The nasal administration of medication is called Nasya. An excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated through the nose.

Basti: Enema Therapy - Vata's predominant site is the colon. Ayurvedic Basti involves the introduction of herbal concoctions of sesame oil, and certain herbal preparations in a liquid medium into the rectum, Basti, is the most effective treatment of Vata disorders, although many enemas over a prescribed period of time are usually required. It relieves constipation, distention, chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders, kidney stones, heart pain, backache, sciatica and other pains in the joints. Many other Vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches may also be treated with Basti. Basti therapy is divided in two main types - Anuvasana Basti - medicated oil enemas and Niruha Basti - medicated enema of decoctions and medicated oils.

Other miscellaneous therapies of Panchakarma

A) Shirodhara: It is recommended in anxiety, depression, hypertension, insomnia etc.

B) Kati Basti: Useful in different backaches

C) Janu Basti: Useful in arthritis of the knee joint.

D) Nadi Sweda: Useful in pain disorders of different sites.

E) Pinda Sweda: Useful in neurological ailments and in the management of different pains.

F) Shashti-Shali Pindasweda: Useful in neurological ailments.

G) Tarpanam: Useful in the ailments of the eyes.

H) Shirobasti: Useful in hair loss and the falling hair and other diseases of skull.

I) Uttara Basti: Useful in genitourinary diseases and infertility of female.

J) Udvartana: It is a medicated Ubtan to be applied over the skin for fair and glowing skin.

K) Pizhichil: This is effective in diseases like spondylosis, hemiplegia, arthritis, back pain, muscular dystrophy etc..,

L) Navarakizhi: Navarakkizhi is a special massage which rejuvenates the body.