Learn About Panchakarma

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What is Panchakarma?

Literally, Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word derived from two words ‘Panch’, meaning five and ‘Karma’, meaning action. It is evident from the name itself that Panchakarma treatment is a collection of five detoxifying actions (processes) performed to cleanse the bodily wastes that have accumulated due to improper eating habits or living styles. The Ayurvedic therapy is an ultimate way to gain a balance within the body, mind, and conscience.

What does Ayurveda Depict?

According to traditional Ayurveda, the root cause of every disease within the body are the undigested or unused food materials accumulated in the body as toxins. These toxins are called Ama. Actually, whatever we intake is supposed to be either absorbed by the body as nutrients or released via the excretory system. Due to unhealthy food habits or impaired Agni (digestive fire), some food is left unmetabolized in the body which is neither absorbed by the body as nutrients nor eliminated as waste giving rise to the Ama.

Panchakarma Therapy

Panchakarma therapy is a two-fold treatment, the first one is pre-Panchakarma actions in which the body is prepared for the original Panchakarma series. It constitutes mainly two processes-

• Snehana (Oleation): The whole body is lubricated by cascading herbal oil prepared by Ayurvedic methods. Fatty in nature, these oils reach every external tissue providing them the medicinal substance they need.
• Swedana (Fomentation): The herbal steam bath is performed to remove undesirable mental and emotional toxins. It helps the body gain a higher level of awareness by removing the toxins through sweat.

These are followed by the five principal Panchakarma therapies discussed below in brief. Have a look at these:

• Vamana (Therapeutic Emesis): Patients are made to vomit by inducing emetic medicines. Along with calming down the Kapha, it is extremely beneficial in the treatment of various diseases such as Asthma, Cough, Epilepsy, cholesterol level reduction, and skin related issues.
• Virechana (Therapeutic Purgation): The pitta-pacifying therapy is done to evacuate the bowels (the intestines) by the introduction of laxative medicines. Diseases such as Jaundice, Arthritis, skin diseases, etc., can be cured by the purgation therapy.
• Basti (Medicated Enema): Considered as the most effective treatment among the five, Basti constitutes the introduction of medicated ingredients (decoctions, oils or ghee) through enema into the rectum. Anus, urinary tract, or vagina are used for injecting medicines into the rectum. Loaded with enormous health benefits, Basti cures a number of Vata-dominated diseases including constipation, piles, headache, facial paralysis, urinary retention, etc.
• Nasya (Nasal medicines instillation): Highly effective in curing the diseases above the neck, this process uses nose to introduce herbal medicines. While cleaning the whole head region, Nasya provides relief from a headache, hair issues, migraine, respiratory problems, etc.
• Raktamokshana (Therapeutic Bloodletting): Can be applied to several body parts or the whole body, the Therapeutic Bloodletting therapy is advantageous in diseases caused by the impure and over-accumulated blood and skin diseases.

In this polluted world of poor lifestyle, maintaining a good health is a tedious task. Gathering of toxins is obvious in such circumstances. The Panchakarma Ayurvedic treatment is one of the best gifts of the ancient science to remove such unwanted substances from the body. Although effective in all conditions, undergoing Ayurveda Panchakarma therapy is not recommended during illness, physical injuries, and pregnancy.


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