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Panchakarma Treatment in a Healthy Environment

Ayurveda uses two main modalities of treatment:

  1. Shamana(palliative therapy )- to suppress the effect of toxins(ama & vitiated doshas).
  2. Shodhana(purification therapy) - to eliminate the accumulated toxins and restore the balance of three bodily humors-Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Panchakarma constitutes the foremost purification and rejuvenating  therapy  meaning ‘Five Actions’ which stands for five therapeutic  procedures:

  1. Vamana(therapeutic emesis)
  2. Virechana(therapeutic purgation),
  3. Vasthi (medicated enema),
  4. Nasya (nasal instillation of medicated drops),
  5. Raktamokshana (therapeutic bloodletting).

Panchakarma  can achieve the goal of restoring the health and rejuvenation, if the body is ready to let go of the accumulated toxins stored deep within it. Ayurveda prescribes a set of preparatory procedures to facilitate the elimination of toxins. They are collectively called as Purvakarmas (Pre-purification procedures).The two most important procedures used to prepare the body are Snehana (Oleation) and Swedana (Therapeutic sudation)

Snehana is done in two forms:

Abhyantara Snehana-Internal oleation

Bahya Snehana -External oleation

Oleation helps the tissues to give up the accumulated toxins and enhances the transportation of toxins to GI Tract.

Swedana can be done in two forms

Nadi Swedana- Local fomentation using a tube

Bashpa Sweadana- Steam bath

Swedana dilates the internal body channels( Srotas), thus helps to bring the toxins to the GI Tract.

A variety of other preparatory procedures can also be used independently  to achieve palliative and nutritive effect on the whole body or a localized area. Some of them are listed below:

Akshi Tarpana- Curative and nourishing treatment to eyes

Udwartana- Powder massage

Shirodhara- Gentle pouring of medicated liquids over forehead

Elakizhi-  Massage using bolus of various fresh herbs

Podikizhi- Massage using bolus of powders

Njavarakizhi- Massage using rice bolus

Pizhichil- Squeezing medicated oil over body followed by the massage

Lifestyle modifications during Panchakarma:

Panchakarma is a powerful therapy that provides a unique opportunity for the system to repaire and rejuvenate. So one should focus consciously on the healing process taking place in the body. Ayurveda recommends lifestyle modifications such as not suppressing natural urges;  living in warm,comfortable surroundings;  giving  senses the much needed rest; diet consisting of  warm, light, nourishing, and easily digestible food.

Pradhana Karmas: (Main Purification Procedures)

Vamana (Therapeutic emesis)
Toxins associated with Kapha dosha are eliminated easily through oralroute following administration of appropriate medicines.

Virechana (Therapeutic purgation)
Toxins associated with Pitta are removed from body through purgation following oral administration of medicines.

Vasthi ( Medicated enemas)
Toxins associated with Vata are discharged from the body through rectum following administration of medicines in the form of enema. Two types of Vasthi are commonly practiced.They are Nirooha Vasthi(cleansing vasthi) and Anuvasana Vasthi( Nourishing Vasthi).

Nasya/Shirovirechana :(Nasal instillation of medicines)
Toxins from the head and neck region are removed by instillation of medicine into nostrils.

Raktamokshana :(Therapeutic bloodletting)
When the toxins appear due to excess pitta they get concentrated  in blood, they are eliminated using bloodletting procedures. Two commonly practiced  of bloodletting procedures are: Jaloukavacharana (leech Therapy) and Siravyadha (Venesection).

Post- Panchakarma Procedures:

Samsarjana Krama(Graduated Diet)
After the elimination of toxins a graded diet regimen is planned which re-establishes the normal digestive capacity of the person who underwent panchakarma procedures. The diet is so structured that it starts from more liquid preparations to gradually increasing to  solid food.

Rasayana Therapy:
Administration of herbal or mineral formulations are recommended after panchakarma procedures  to nourish the tissues, build up the immune system and thus rejuvenate the body and mind.

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