Panchakarma

Ayurveda recognizes that all living and non-living things are composed of panchamahabhut or five basic elements of the entire creation. One branch of Indian philosophy—Sankhya, states that there are 24 elements in all, of which five are the foundation of the gross world: earth, water, fire, air and ether. According to ayurveda these five elements in different combinations constitute the three body types/doshas—vata (air and space), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth and water). These two theories are the guiding factors of ayurveda as a therapeutic science.Ayurveda advises undergoing panchakarma at the seasonal changes to both keep the metabolism strong and keep toxins from accumulating in the body as well as the mind. The process finds the way to the root cause of the problem and corrects the essential balance of mind, body, and emotions. It is considered extremely effective to go through the process of panchakarma prior to any rejuvenation treatment (rasayana/herbal medicines), for it cleanses the body, improves the digestion, the metabolic processes of the body and cleanse the thought process as well.Basically, panchakarma is meant to make an individual most receptive to the curative process of ayurveda by removing accumulated waste in body and mind.

Vamana (Emesis)

It is a process of therapeutic vomiting (induced), which helps eliminate the toxic or waste matters from the stomach and thoracic cavity. Kapha dominant diseases like severe skin diseases (psoriasis, urticaria); bronchial asthma, mental disorders etc. are selected for this treatment procedure. This process is not suggested for expecting mothers.Normally eight bouts of emesis are followed. The vomiting is stopped when yellow coloration is seen. Then, dhoomapana—inhalation of medicated fumes—is done through a special process. Finally, certain rules have to be followed called paschatkarma that basically implies strict diet regimen.The entire treatment takes 15 days, and requires good attention as well as skilled assistance.

Virechana (Purgation)

This eliminates the toxic or waste matters from the intestine. It also cures pitta or pitta-dominated diseases. Poorvakarma or initial process of cleansing like vamana is suggested here. About 20 purges may be seen in this process depending on the patient's health.A mild form of virechana without the poorvakarma, is an integral part of ayurvedic therapy. It is also used for prevention of diseases.

Basti (Enema using medicine)

The process of vasti or therapeutic enema is resorted to eliminate toxins from colon, and strengthens the tissues. Two kinds of vastis are followed in ayurveda. Snehavasti is the vasti where medicated oils are used. This is not advised in patients suffering from diabetes, anemia, diarrhea, and obesity. Poorvakarma is required here.For kashaya vasti, honey, rock salt, sneham (oils), paste of medicines are required and mixed one by one in the above order. This concoction is taken in an empty stomach. After the process the patient is allowed to take a bath. Diseases like hemiplegia, and disease due to vata are treated by this process. Medicines are selected as per disease and stage.

Nasya (Nasal Application of Herbal Medicines)

Nasya is instillation of medicine through nose. It is an important procedure of ayurveda for the treatment of sirorogas or diseases affecting head area. Nasya helps cleanse the head and sinuses. The process is contraindicated in various psychological diseases, asthma and cough. Here, the patient is to inhale lightly warmed oil. Warmed oil is massaged in the patient's neck, shoulder, palm, face and sole before and after the process of nasya.Different timings are indicated for different dosha types. Morning time is prescribed for kapha diseases, noon in pitta diseases and evening in vata diseases.

Raktamoksha (Blood-Letting)

Susruta gave stress to Raktamoksha (blood-letting) as one of the panchakarma, taking two of the vastis as a single karma (here, procedure).The process of letting out the vitiated blood is termed raktamoksha. In this procedure localized impurity or poison from the blood is removed through various methods. Often leech is used to suck out the impure blood from the affected area.Blood-letting is also done to eliminate toxins from the blood stream causing various chronic skin disorders like urticaria, eczema, scabies and leucoderma etc. The method was also effectively used to cure enlarged liver and spleen.The sodhana treatment/chikitsa known as pancha karma therapy. Most of the Ayurveda therapy centre give imports only for panchakarma therapy, But according to ayurveda sodhana and samana both have equal important. So I never say pancha karma is a superior treatment.I think most of time that is not good, because according to literature in ayurveda so many people and disease condition not recommend for pancha treatments. Unfortunately treatment centers want to promote it because it is more profitable business. For preparing a person for pancha karma, a lot of other procedure are need to be do.Like application of oil in different ways like massage , Dhara etc. You must remembered that our Acharyas I mentioned who is considered as ‘Apta’ not prescribed any oil massage therapy. I always feel bad thiking about that.One of the intentions to write this article that now a day’s most of people thought that it is only an ‘Oil Massage’ therapy not a science.

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