What is Panchakarma?
Ayurveda prophesizes to route toxins and diseases out of the body by a very specialized therapeutic procedure – PANCHAKARMA. It is a part of “Sodhana Chikitsa”
“Pancha” in Sanskrit means Five and “Karma” means actions or procedures. In toto Panchakarma pertains to the five-fold treatment procedures that are administered to a person for various ailments and also to evacuate toxins from the body.
As with any treatment procedure, the process of Panchakarma therapy requires preparing the patient prior to the main course of the five-fold treatment.
Poorvakarma: Poorvakarma is the first-line treatment method in which the patient is primed and readied for the main treatment of Panchakarma.
Snehana Karma: Snahana means oleation therapy. There is an internal and external application of oil on the patient. The oil loosens the toxins and Abhyangam or body massage increases circulation. The toxins are moved from various tissues and organs to the main gastrointestinal tract and into the liver and kidneys.
Swedana Karma: Swedana means fomentation therapy. The toxins that are water-soluble are brought out through the skin by perspiration.
Pradhana Karma: The main treatment protocol involves the Five fold karmas / Panchakarma. They are as under:
Vamanam: “Vamanam” is induced emesis or vomiting. The toxins that are in the stomach at the cardiac level are brought out. It includes the phlegm and mucous that is in the stomach.
Virechanam: “Virechanam” is induced purgation. There are toxins that are in the small intestine and bile are excreted through this process of virechanam.
Vasthi: “Vasthi” treatment is the administration of hypertonic enemas. They are of two types based on the base liquid- Oil-based Vasthi and Decoction based Vasthi. It is the safest way to evacuate the toxins that are accumulated in the large intestine or colon.
Nasyam: “Nasyam” means nasal instillation of oils / medicated fumes / herbal powders into the nostrils. As per Ayurveda, the nose is supposed to be the doorway to the brain. Any medicaments given through this route are supposed to reach the brain. Through this process, the ailments of the head & neck region are cured.
Raktamokshanam: “Raktamokshanam” means venesection or blood letting. It is a specialized process wherein the physician draws blood from the patient via the application of leeches, cupping, or making small incisions on the body. This results in impure blood loss. It is very effective in disorders of the blood.
Paschata Karma: Paschata Karma means post-treatment therapeutic regimen. Panchakarma procedure is an exhaustive process by nature. After these Karmas the “AGNI” or metabolism of the patient is at its lowest. The restoration of the metabolism into its normal course is done through a carefully designed diet and lifestyle program. Instructions for leading a healthy life are also foretold to the person so that the person can enjoy a long-lasting disease-free life.
This article was written by Vaidya Himanshu Jha (Bachelor in Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery)