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Meaning of Panchakarma

Pancha Karma is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease. Pancha Karma is the process which gets to the root cause of the problem and corrects the essential balance of 'Tridosha' in body. Pancha Karma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health. Ayurveda advises undergoing Panchakarma at the seasonal changes to clean the body, improve the digestion and to improve the metabolic processes. Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means "five actions" or "five treatments. Panchakarma includes three parts namely; Poorva Karma (Preparatory Methods)which includes : Paachan (Digestion) Snehan (Internal and external oleation) Swedan (Fomentation).

Pradhana Karma (Main methods)which includes the following therapies:


Poorva Karma (Pre-purification Measures)

Before the actual operation of purification begins, there is a need to prepare the body in prescribed methods to encourage the body to let go of the toxins. The two procedures are 'snehan' and 'swedan'. Snehan is the oil massage. Oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage which helps the toxins to move towards the gastro-intestinal tract. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple. Snehan is given daily for three to seven days, as indicated. Swedan is sudation or sweating and is given every day immediately following the snehan. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further loosen the toxins from the individual. Swedan liquefies the toxins and increases the movement of toxins into the gastro-intestinal tract. After three to seven days of snehan and swedan, the doshas become well "ripened". A particular panchakarma method is then given according to the individual's constitution and disorder, prakruti and vikruti, respectively.

Major Treatments


Vamana: Emesis Therapy

When there is congestion in the lungs causing repeated attacks of bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma, the Ayurvedic treatment is therapeutic vomiting, vaman, to eliminate the kapha causing the excess mucus. First, after the snehan and swedan, three to four glasses of licorice or salt water is administered, then vomiting is stimulated by rubbing the tongue which triggers the vomiting center through the gag reflex. One may alternatively take two to three glasses of salt water which will also aggravate kapha and then rub the tongue to induce vomiting. Once the mucus is released the patient will feel instantly relieved. It is likely that congestion, wheezing and breathlessness will disappear and that the sinuses will become clear. Therapeutic vomiting is also indicated in chronic asthma, diabetes, chronic cold, lymphatic congestion, chronic indigestion and edema.

Emetic Substances: madan-emetic nut, madhuka-yastimadhu-licorice, neem-bitter leaf, bimbi, kutaj-kurchi- conessi bark, murva-clematis, triloba-devdaru-deodar, Cedrus deodara, Salt, NaCl, ela-cardamom, nux vomica.Indications for Vaman:used for all kapha type disorders good for pitta headache, dizziness, and nausea will help to release blocked emotions respiratory congestion bronchitis chronic cold sinus congestion kaphagenic asthma.

Contra-Indications for Vaman: Below the age of 12 or over age 65, menstruation pre-menstrual period (one week prior), pregnancy, emaciation, delicate or sensitive person with too much fear, grief or anxiety, hypoglycemia, vata prakruti vata diseases, heart diseases during vata season, acute fever, diarrhea, obesity.

Virechan: Purgation Therapy

When excess bile, pitta, is secreted and accumulated in the gall bladder, liver and small intestine, it tends to result in rashes, skin inflammation, acne, chronic attacks of fever, biliary vomiting, nausea and jaundice. Virechan is facilitated with senna leaves, flax seeds, psyllium husks or triphala in a combination that is appropriate for the individual person.

Virechan Substances: Senna, prune, bran, flaxseed husk, dandelion root, psyllium seed, cow's milk, salt, castor oil, raisins, mango juice, triphala. Symptoms of Virechan: Allergic rash, skin inflammation, acne, dermatitis, eczema chronic fever, ascites, biliary vomiting, jaundice, urinary disorder, enlargement of the spleen, internal worms, burning sensation in the eyes inflammation of the eyes conjunctivitis, gout.

Contra-Indications for Virechan: Acute fever, diarrhea, severe constipation, bleeding from rectum or lung cavities, foreign body in the stomach after enema emaciation or weakness prolapsed rectum, alcoholism, dehydration, childhood old age Ulcerative colitis.

Nasyam: Therapeutic administration of medicated oils or herbal juices (prepared in the form of nasal drops) through nostrils is termed as Nasyam. This is one of the Pancha karma procedure for detoxification. Nasyam is advised either in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening. During the sessions of Nasyam, shower (bathing of head), exposure to sunlight and dust should be avoided. Nasyam is good for facial paralysis, sinusitis,migraine, Cervical spondylosis and arthritis.

Vasti: Enema Therapy

Vata's predominant site is the colon. Ayurvedic Vasti involves the introduction into the rectum of herbal concoctions of sesame oil, and certain herbal preparations in a liquid medium. Vasti, is the most effective treatment of Vata disorders, although many enemas over a prescribed period of time are usually required. It relieves constipation, distention, chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders, kidney stones, heart pain, backache, sciatica and other pains in the joints. Many other vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches may also be treated with basti. Vata is a very active principle in pathogenesis. If we can control vata through the use of basti, we have gone a long way in going to the root cause of the vast majority of diseases.Vata is the main etiological factor in the manifestation of diseases. It is the motive force behind the elimination and retention of feces, urine, bile and other excreta.

Raktamoksham

Letting blood out of the body is called rakta mokshan. Blood is the important dhatu of the human body. Blood when gets infected it leads to many health problems of the human body. Hence to prevent the body from getting diseased it is necessary to remove this infected blood out of the body.


Pashchat Karma (Post -Therapeutic Measures
Sansarjan Krama (Specific dietetics)
Dhuma Pana (smoking of medicinal cigars)
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