Ayurveda views poor metabolism as the key to the build up of toxins or ama which is the cause of many complex diseases. Periodic Panchakarma treatments prove to be highly effective in eliminating this ama produced during metabolic process and also the impurities accumulated in the body. These panchakarma treatments help the body to release and eliminate toxins completely and to rebalance the doshas that have gone out of balance due to the accumulation of toxins and metabolic wastes.
Panchakarma is a group of 5 treatments- vamana, virechana, snehavasti, kashayavasti and nasya – of which all are not commonly practiced for all diseases. Vamana is emesis, virechana is purging, vasti is enema- which of two kinds done with medicated oils and medicated decoctions and are called snehavasti and kashayavasti respectively. Nasya is instillation of medicines through nose. Susrutha who initiated surgery gives importance to blood-letting also as one of the panchakarma treatments.
Panchakarma treatments are effective both for preventive and curative purposes as well as for ukhachikalsa (Rejuvenation and energizing the body). However, if these panchakarma treatments are not taken at full length and under the proper guidance of Ayurveda doctors, it can damage the body tissues.
Panchakarma is much more than a cleansing regimen. It slows down aging process, strengthens immune system, prevents wrinkles of skin, develops a positive attitude to life, improves digestion and appetite, improve sleep pattern, energizes the body, replaces stress and strain with peace and tranquility, enhances flexibility of joints and muscles, reduce weight, removes fat and help live healthy.
Panchakarma has three phases of actions:
1 Pre-purification phase:
Sirodhara Luke warm herbal oil is poured in a continuous stream onto the forehead, while receiving a gentle massage on the fore head.
Snehapanam is the oral intake of specially prepared medicated ghee (clarified butter) in empty stomach. It is done to lubricate all body channels to push out body toxins.
Thailadhara is a continuous showering and massaging process of the whole body with warm medicated oil. This activates the muscles and nerve endings.
Thakradhara induces coolness to the brain, relaxes the mind, reduces mental stress and increase memory power.Thakradhara means the profuse pouring of medicine-rich buttermilk on the person’s forehead.
Thalam treats headaches, cerebrum-vascular diseases, insomnia, ENT diseases, vertigo etc
In Thalapothichil the person’s scalp is completely applied with high value medicinal pastes. Heals problems related to the head and neck regions.
Udvarthanam This is a typical deep and dry massage using herbal powders. This massage stimulates hair follicles and subcutaneous fat tissue to break down subcutaneous fat storage.
Upanahasweda comprises of the local application of a medicinal paste to treat pain and swelling.
2. Main purification phase
This phase comprises the Panchakarma. Depending on the ailments, one is advised to undergo two or three of the Panchakarma therapies. The doctor decides on the type of treatments suitable for a particular type of person. Ayurveda doctors have to monitor these treatments. Treatments without expert guidance can lead to complications.
Vamanam is induced vomiting and is the first in panchakarma treatments. This process is to be done carefully and needs skilled personnel. It induces expulsion of the contents in the stomach through the mouth. Kapha or kapha dominant diseases like psoriasis, urticaria, bronchial asthma, mental disorders etc can be effectively treated by vamanm treatments. Besides, it also removes wastes from the upper body parts like the chest and lungs area. It is a very effective form of panchakarma treatment.
Vamanam is a continuation of the sneha sweda done the previous day. After administering sneha sweda, the patient is given kapha increasing foods. The next morning, after ablutions and a hot water bath, the patient would be asked to sit in a relaxed manner in an armchair. Milk or sugar cane juice is commonly used for this purpose. The patient drinks as much milk as he can. Then a paste of madana phala, along with yashtimadhu powder vacha, rock salt and honey mixed with milk would be given. Within a short time, the patient feels nauseous and starts vomiting. All impure accumulated kapha will come out. Normally eight bouts are seen. Vomiting is stopped when the pitta or yellow colouration is seen, which is considered the correct symptom. If the bouts are less, vomiting should be by irritating the uvula by touching with the figers or a quill. Then allow the patient to wash his face and fingers with hot water.
Then dhoomapana is done. The smoke should be inhaled through one nostril and exhaled through the mouth which is repeated thrice.
This is followed by paschat-karma. These are mainly food restrictions, called samsarjana kriya. Just after vamana, if the patient is hungry, thin gruel is given. After ascertaining the digestive power, thick gruel, porridge, porridge with meat soup are given. The entire treatment takes 15 days.
However, vamanam is not advisable for pregnant women, the aged , the weak and those suffering from cardiac problems.
Virechanam in panchakarma is a purgation treatment using herbal medicines. It expels impurities from mid zones of the body like the liver, gallbladder and the intestinal tract. Pitta and pitta dominant diseases are cured by this pancha karma treatment. In virechanam, the vitiated doshas are made to pass through the anus. Poorvakarma as done in vamana is also done in virechanam. Though several drugs are mentioned for virechana, trivrit is considered the best and several trivrit combinations are used. It is to be noted that the medicine is given only when the last meal has been digested. Avipathy churna, another medicine, mixed with hot water is given after 9 a.m. No food is given till virechana is over. In proper virechana, the patient passes urine, stool, pitta, medicine, kapha and vata in that order. About 20 purges may be seen . However, it all depends on the patient’s health.
Another mild form of virechana is also used an ayurvedic therapy. It is commonly used to treat various kinds of ailments in which poorvakarma are not necessary.
Kashaya vasti Diseases like hemiplegia and those due to vata are treated well with vasti. However, acute diarrheas, chest lesions, piles, hiccups, are not treated. For kashaya vasti, honey, rock salt, sneham, paste of medicines are required and is mixed one by one in the above order. An emulsion is made by churning all and warming in a water bath. This should be taken on an empty stomach at about 10 a.m. Application is the same as snehavasti. When the bowels are clear, the patient is allowed to take a hot water bath. This should be done after two or three snehavastis. Sneham, paste of medicines and kashayam noted above are selected as per disease and stage.
Nasyam in ayurveda refers to the instillation of medicated oil through the nose. It is the best procedure for the treatment of sirorogas i.e., sodhana of urdhvanga.Nasyam helps to discard the mucous toxins from head and neck channels.
In Pancha karma therapy, nasyam treatment involves application of warm oil to the shoulder and neck of the patient with the patient lying supine and tips his head back. Lightly warmed oil is dropped into each nostril. The patient should inhale deeply. The usual dose is 8 drops but this varies according to the disease and its nature. The timings are morning in kapha diseases, noon in pitta diseases and evening in vata diseases. After the nasya, the shoulder, face, palm and sole of limbs should be massaged briskly for few minutes. Dhoomapana and gargling with hot water should be done afterwards. Nasya should not be done continuously for more than seven days.
The most important of the therapies in Panchakarma involves the introduction of herbal oils and decoctions into the colon through the rectum.
Is a warm oil treatment done by retaining certain amount of warm medicated oil on the lower back of the body, for about 40 to 50 minutes. Sirovasti is the retention of warm medicated oil over the head for a certain amount of time. is a warm oil treatment done by retaining certain amount of warm medicated oil on the lower back of the body for about 40 to 50 minutes. Sirovasti is the retention of warm medicated oil over the head for a certain amount of time. Urovasti. A mixture of warm herbal oil is allowed to stay on the chest with the help of herbal paste enclosure.
Urovasti A mixture of warm herbal oil is allowed to stay on the chest with the help of herbal paste enclosure.
3. The Post purification phase
Once the Panchakarma treatments are over, rehabilitative measures are given which include guidelines on diet, lifestyle and other things. If not followed the effects of the treatments would diminish. Doctors prescribe various Ayurveda formulations such as kashayams lehyams etc. to fortify body cells and tissues, massage oils and kuzhambu for body and joint lubrication.
Rasayana or Rejuvenation Therapy
Rasayana therapy is followed along with the Panchakarma treatments or afterwards. For getting maximum results out of the Rasayana therapy, the two main forms oushadh (Medicines) and Acharyas (Behavior/deeds) need to be followed. Medicines and diet prescribed by doctors have to be taken and these have effects on the body tissues, digestive juices, doshas etc, while the behavior or habit of a person influences the mind, soul and sensory faculties.
Ayurveda offers extensive Rasayana therapies. The aim of Rasayana is to keep the enzymes in the tissue cells in their normal functioning condition. It nourishes, restores and balances the body functions and maintains the overall health and well being of an individual. Mind is made calm and peaceful, nerves and bones are kept soft and sooth. These, to a very large extend, prevent the ageing process and also free the person from diseases even during an old age.
he person will be able to see things like before and the sharpness of hearing and vision continues. The glow in his face and the colour of his skin remains as before. It is with this in view one has to resort to rejuvenation therapy. There are case histories were persons of 65 years could increase testosterones level from 190 to 300.
Two forms of Rasayana treatments are presentlyavailable: the shorter version (Vaataatapika) and the longer version (Kuteepraaveshika).
An Ayurveda therapeutic plan is comprehensive of Panchakarma treatments , diet, nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, yoga prescription, daily health-routine, and relaxation techniques. Extra precautions are taken by doctors for people with specific type of ailment. Ayurveda recommends that pregnant women should not undergo Panchakarma treatments. Women should also be careful to plan their treatment to avoid menstrual disturbances during the course . It should also be noted that panchakarma treatments should not be administered to children under 8 years and to those over 80.