Ayurvedic treatment comprises of two major parts as; Samshodhana chikitsa (bio-cleaning therapy) and Samshaman chikitsa (pacifying therapy). Samshamana chikitsa consists of conservative treatment like fasting, improving digestive fire, drug administration etc. Samshodhana chikitsa envisages Panchakarma treatment which is basically a biocleaning regimen intended to eliminate the toxic element from the body.
The term Panchakarma made out of two word; Pancha means ‘five’ and Karma means ;actions or procedures’. Karma refers to the procedure which has multidimensional therapeutic effects and having capacity to expel the doshas in larger quantity. These five basic procedures are-
- Vamana ( Therapeutic vomiting)
- Virechana ( Therapeutic purgation and luxatives)
- Basti (Medicated anema)
- Raktamokshana ( Purification of blood/Blood letting)
- Nasya ( Nasal administration of medicine)
For numerous ailments such as excess mucus in the chest, bile in the intestine, kapha in the stomach or gas accumulation in the large intestine, for such treatment Ayurveda suggests Panchkarma. These processes are cleaning the body, mind and emotions. Hence, Panchkarma is basically a bio-cleaning regimen intended to eliminate the toxic elements from the body. Panchakarma treatment is believed to help in radical elimination of the disease causing factors ( Nidanas) and maintains equilibrium of doshas (Dosha shamya). These five Karma (procedures) are capable of removing vitiated (impaired ) dosas in bulk quantity and are henc,e given importance as the five important modalities of treatment.
Apart from the five treatment modalities, the Ayurvedic scholars in South India have modified certain procedures based on Ayurvedic principles and own experiences- according to doshas, body constitution, season drug availability etc. These procedures are;
- Shashtika shali pinda sweda
- Pizhichil (used in paralysis)
These procedures are specialized varieties of snehana ( oleation therapy) swedana ( fomentation therapy) which have more nourishing effect than bio- cleaning effect.
What are the benefits of getting panchakarma?
- Panchkarma completely purifies the body
- It eliminates the toxic elements from body
- Panchkarma boosts natural body immunity
- Increase in the digestive capacity
- Enhancing the metabolism of the body
- Helps to reduce body weight
- Relaxing the mind and body
- Diminution in severity of disease
- Normalcy in all components of body
- Rejuvenate your body and there will be delayed process of aging
- Less chances of recurrence of disease, if your disease is treated through panchakarma procedures
- Increase in the body strength and sexual potency
- The person live long without any disease if they are getting panchakarma at regular basis.
Snehana ( Oleation)
Panchkarma, the time tested healing process of Ayurveda relies predominantly on the uses of different types of therapeutic oil. Oleation ( Snehana) is very important aspect of Panchkarma stands for lubrication of body system of the administration of fatty substances internally and externally. Internal administration of Sneha is an important preparatory procedure for Panchakarma. Medicated oil is applied to the entire body with a particular kind of massage that helps the toxins move towards the gastrointestinal tract. The massage also softens both the superficial and deep tissues, helping to relieve stress and to nourish the nervous system.
The process of inducing heat through various procedures is known as Swedana or the procedure which induces or generates heat inside the body is considered as Swedana (Fomentation). Swedana liquefies the deranged Doshas/ metabolic waste and facilitate to bring them to alimentary canal or central part of the body where they can be expelled out by subsquent panchakarma procedures.
Five treatment modalities?
1. Vaman ( therapeutic vomiting/emesis)
Vaman means to induce vomiting. It is a Bio-cleaning measure meant for the elimination of mainly kapha. When there is congestion in the lungs, causing repeated attack of Bronchitis, cough, cold or asthma Ayurvedic treatment is therapeutic vomiting to eliminate the mucus causing access kapha. Therapeutic emesis ( Vaman) is also indicated for skin disease, chronic asthma,diabetes, chronic cold, lymphatic obstruction, chronic digestion ,edema, Chronic sinus problem and repeated attack of tonsillitis.
2. Verechan ( Therapeutic Purgatives)
Verachan is the procedure by which the vitiated doshas are eliminated through the anal route. It is the treatment of choice for cleaning of Pitta and purification of blood toxins. This procedure also provide a number of benefits like clarity of the mind, strengthen the sense organs, stability to the tissues, improvement of digestion and slowing down of aging process.
3. Basti ( Medicated anema)
In this procedure the medicines in suspension form administrated through rectum or o genitourinary tract using specific apparatus called Vastiyantra. It is most important procedure among Panchkarma procedures and most appropriate remedial measure for vata dosha. It is indicated in constipation, distension, lower back pain, gout, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis,nervous disorders, vata headache and muscular atrophy.
4.Nasya ( Nasal administration)
Administration of medicines from nostrils is called Nasaya. It is indicated mainly in aggravated and accumulated doshas of the head and neck. Nasal administration of medication helps to correct the disorders of Prana( life energy) affecting the higher cerebral, sensory and motor functions. Nasal administration is indicated for dryness of nose, sinus ,congestion hoarseness, migraine, headache convulsions, eye disorders, and ear problems.
5.Raktamokshana ( Purification of blood)
Raktamokshana is called as bloodletting. Toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract circulate throughout the body. They manifest under the skin or in the joint spaces, creating disease. In such cases elimination of the toxins and purification of blood is necessary. For such cases Ayurveda indicated bloodletting (raktamokshana). Blood-letting also stimulates anti-toxic substances in the blood steam which helps develop the immune mechanism in the blood system. Thus, the toxins are neutralized enabling radical cures of many Blood and Bone disorders.
Written by: Dr. Ranjeet Singh