Panchakarma - An Introduction


What is Panchakarma?


Here Pancha means five and Karma means procedure. Hence panchakarma means five procedures, purificatory in nature.

Which are these Panchakarmas?

1. Vamana (therapeutic emesis)
2. Virechana (therapeutic purgation)
3. Basthi (therapeutic enema)
4. Nasya (therapeutic nasal medication)
5. Raktamokshana (therapeutic blood letting)

dasavala

Emphasis on Panchakarma treatments in Ayurveda

"Dosha Ksheena Brumhaitavya |
Kupitaha Prashamayitavya ||
Vrudda Nirharitavya |
Sama Paripalya ithi Siddantaha ||
"

The treatments in Ayurveda has been broadly classified and dealt under three lines of management namely Shamana (Conservative / Paliative), Shodana (Purificatory) and Nidana Parivarjana (Preventive of positive factors). The treatment aims at tackling the doshas effectively to be brought to a state of equillibrium. The doshas that have diminished activity have to be nurtured, the hyper doshas have to be subdued, palliated and the aggraveated doshas have to be eliminated through purification procedure (Panchakarma) thus bringing them to normalacy. The normal doshas have to be protected through the toughtful application of Dinacharya (Daily Regemine), Ruthucharya (Seasonal Regemine), Sadvrutha (Good Conduct) and Rasayana Chikitsa to keep the diseases at bay.

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Panchakarma to Whom?

 a) Those who are interested to live longer without diseases and to attain moksha (god realization).

 b) Application of panchakarma in daily routine.

 c) Application of panchakarma according to seasons viz.

  • Shishira - Feb-March - magha-palguna.
  • Vasantha - April-May - chaitra-vyshaka
  • Greeshma - June–July - jesta-ashada
  • Varsha - Aug-sept - shravana-badrapada
  • Sharad - Oct-Nov - ashweeja -karthika
  • Hemantha - Dec-Jan - margashira-pushya 

d) Panchakarma in Diseases.
      
Panchakarma can be recommended to those who suffering from diseases of vata pitta and kapha in any season, after a careful examination according to ayurvedic principles such as examination of Nadi (ayurvedic pulse diagnosis),prakruthi (body and mind constitution),vikruthi(pathology), and necessary investigations available in ancient and modern methodologies while knowing in detail about  their :

  • Nidana (oetiology).
  • Poorvarupa(premonitory signs  and symptoms).
  • Roopa (signs and symptoms.
  • Upashaya anupashaya(trail with treatments and diet).
  • Samprapti(pathogenisis).



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Methods of treatment in Ayurveda:

 The treatments in ayurveda has been broadly classified and dealt under three lines of management namely:

1.shamana chikitsa(conservative/paliative)
2.shodana  chikitsa(panchakarma purification)
3.nidana parivarjana(prevention of causative factor)


The chikitsa aims at tackling the doshas effectively to be brought to a state of equilibrium. The doshas that have diminished activity have to be nurtured, the hyper doshas have to be subsidued/paliated and the aggravated doshas have to be eliminated through purificatory(panchakarma ) procedure, thus bringing them to normalcy. The normal doshas are to be protected through the thoughtful application of dinacharya, ruthucharya,sadvritha and rasayana chikitsa to keep the diseases at bay.


Steps for Administering Panchakarma:

a.poorva karma (pre-operative)
b.pradhana karma(operative procedure)
c.paschat karma(post-operative procedure)



 

a. Poorva Karma:

Pre-operative procedure it is a preparation to the main operative procedure involves the following steps:

Deepana and pachana
1) Usage of warm water
2) Fasting
3) Herbal powders/decoctions/special diet.

Snehana:
a) Internal:  Usage of medicated ghee, medicated oils, along with the food.
b) External:  Abhyanga(ayurvedic massage), seka and related procedures.


Swedana:
Different methods of fomentation, mainly bashpa sweda and nadisweda.

b. PRADANA KARMA:

In pradana karma the major purificatory procedures like
1) VAMANA
2) VIRECHANA
3) BASTHI
4) NASYA
5) RAKTAMOKSHANA to be adopted.


1. VAMANA KARMA (Therapeutic Emesis):  This is the method used for the elimination of aggravated Kapha through the upper pathways by using special medicaments.

Indications:
20 types of Kapha disorders:        

  1. kasa (cough) 
  2. swasa(bronchial asthama)
  3. prathishyaya(Nasal allergies)
  4. kusta(different types of skin disorders)
  5. rajayakshma(group of disorders)
  6. arshas(haemorrhoids)
  7. aruchi(anorexia)
  8. prameha(20 types of urinary disorders)
  9. Granthi(cystic growth)
  10. Unmade(insanity)
  11. Pandu(anaemia)
  12. Mukhapaka(stomatitis)
  13. Medoroga(obesity)
  14. Visarpa(erysipelas)
  15. Vidradhi(abscess)
  16. Galashundika(tonsillitis)

2. VIRECHANA KARMA:(Therapeutic Purgation): This is the method used for the elimination of aggravated pitta through the lower pathways by using special medicaments.

  1. 40 types of pitta disorders
  2. jwara
  3. kusta(different types of skin disorders)
  4. prameha (20 types of urinary disorders)
  5. arbuda(tumors)
  6. pleeha dosha(disorders of spleen)
  7. bhagandara(fistula-in-ano)
  8. galaganda(goitre)
  9. krimikosta(intestinal parasites)
  10. pandu(anaemia)
  11. shirasula(headache)
  12. hrudroga(heart diseases)
  13. arshas(haemorrhoids)
  14. aruchi(anoroxea)
  15. kamala(jaundice)
  16. kasa(cough)
  17. swasa(bronchial asthama)
  18. apasmara(epilepsy)
  19. vatarakta(gouty arthritis)
  20. amavatha(rheumatoide arthritis)
  21. udara(ascitis)
  22. yoniroga(vaginal diseases)
  23. pakshaghata(paralysis)
  24. akshi rogas(diseases of the eye)

 

3. BASTHI KARMA(Therapeutic enema): This is the method used for the elimination of aggravated vata through the lower pathways by using special medicaments.

  1. 80 types of vata disorders
  2. sarvanga roga (any diseases pertaining to vata)
  3. vibanda(constipation)
  4. muthrasanga(aneuriea)
  5. balakshaya(debility)
  6. sukravikaras(seminal disorders)
  7. sukrakshaya(oligospermaia)
  8. krimikosta(intestinal parasites)
  9. pakshaghata(paralysis)
  10. gulma(tumors)
  11. udavarta(flatulence)
  12. pleehadosha(disorders of spleen)
  13. hrudroga(heart diseases)
  14. bhagandara(fistula-in-ano)
  15. karnaroga(ear disorders)
  16. shirasula(headaches)
  17. akshi rogas(eye diseases)
  18. vatarakta(gouty arthritis)
  19. amavata(rhemotide arthritis)
  20. manya graha(diseases related to neck)
  21. neurological disorders.

 

4. NASYA KARMA(Therapeutic nasal medication): This is the method used for the elimination of aggravated local doshas such as vata kapha and pitta through the nasal passage ;by using special medicaments.

  1. Nasya can be recommended in most of the disorders
  2. Shirasthamba(stiffness of the head)
  3. Manyasthamba(stiffness of the neck)
  4. Galashundika(tonsillitis)
  5. Nethra vikaras(diseases of the eye)
  6. Nasa vikaras(diseases of the nose)
  7. Mukha rogas(diseases of the mouth)
  8. Shirashula(different types of head aches)
  9. Vaggraha(disorders of speech)
  10. Arbuda(tumors)
  11. Ardita(facial paralysis)
  12. Taunya pidaka(acne vulgaris)
  13. Palithya(premature graying of hairs)
  14. Hairfall,dandruff,and related scalp disorders

 

5. RAKTA MOKSHANA( Therapeutic blood letting): This is the method used for the elimination of aggravated localized and general pitta and rakta on selected regions in the body.

    • Kusta(skin diseases)
    • Swithra(vitiligo)
    • Raktapitta(bleeding disorders)
    • Pleeha(spleen disorders)
    • Gulma(tumors)
    • Vidradi(abscess)
    • Kamala(jaundice)
    • Any type of ulcers
    • Akshirogas(eye diseases)
    • Vatarakta(gouty arthritis)
    • Shiroroga(head ache)
    • Krodhadhika(excessive anger)

 

DO’S AND DONTS AT THE TIME OF PANCHAKARMA:

             "Usnodakopachari syadbrahmachari kshapashaya
             Shakrunmuthro anilodgaro udeernancha na dharaheth|
             Vyayamam uchairvachanam krodha shoka himatapou|
              Varjayet apravatancha seveta shayanasanam||
"

    • Usage of warm water is indicated for all purposes of  bathing and washing .
    • Follow bramhacharya and meditation.
    • One should sleep only during  nights . avoid sleep during day time
    • One should not suppress the natural urges for urine, sneezing thirst, hunger etc.
    • Avoid dynamic exercises
    • One should resort to speaking in a very low tone
    • Smoking is prohibited.
    • One should not indulge in worry, anger ,tension and depression.
    • One should not expose to extremes of  cold and hot weather and very cool breeze and dust.
    • Avoide curds,banana,and incompatible foods.
    • One should always rest on bed at the time of panchakarma and obey the physician and follow all the above rules to obtain  good results.

 

BENEFITS OF PANCHAKARMA:


" Evam vishudda kostasya kayagnerabhivardhathe|
Vyadhyaschopashamyante prakruthischanuvartate||
Indriyani manobuddi varnaschasya praseedathi|
Balam pustirapathyancha vrushathamchasya jayathe||
Jaram kruchrena labhate chiranjeevathyanamayaha||
"

 
  • Kayagni or digestive fire gets  purified and becomes powerful and potent to enable  normal digestion
  • Diseases loose their validity and further spread of the disease is arrested.
  • The Doshas  vata pitta and kapha will return to their original places &  function normally
  • Five senses(panchajnanendriyas) and five functions(panchakarmendriyas) are cleansed  and they function normally and gain clarity
  • Mind calms down because of the  purification.
  • Intellect becomes very sharp, so also the concentration and aptitude .
  • Skin attains a good tone and radiance and the complexion is improved .
  • One will become very strong physically and mentally
  • All the seven tissues of the body are nourished and its vigour and vitality are improved.
  • One  becomes rejuvenated and the attained  aphrodisiac  qualities ensures good progeny. 
  • One will attain long-life with youthfulness.
After the panchakarma purification like  a cloth cleansed of its dirt the person becomes fit to perform his normal activities, becomes free of diseases and also will also achieve the god hood which  is the ultimate aim of Ayurveda.
 
 
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Abhyanga  

Abhyanga, the ayurvedic whole body massage with suitable medicated oil is beneficial for healthy individuals to stay healthy and for persons suffering from various ailments, especially vata disorders.

Abhyanga should be resorted to daily, as it wards off old age, exertion and aggravation of vata, bestows good vision , long life, nourishes the body, ensures good sleep and healthy skin.

Bashpa sweda  
Bashpa sweda is a method of fomentation which relieves body stiffness & heaviness, improves body flexibility and is good for vata and kapha disorders.
Shiro abhyanga  
Shiro abhyanga(massage to the scalp) helps prevent headache, hair loss, baldness and premature greying of hair. Besides leaving the hair lustrous and strong, it improves the sheen of facial skin and ensures a sense of well-being, balance and good sleep.
Sarvangadhara  
A therapy of pouring warm medicated oils in an even stream with simultaneous massage. It strengthens and tones all seven body tissues, improves vigour and vitality, improves the agni(digestive fire),body complexion and lusture & strengthens the indriyas.
Sarvangadhara a major rejuvenation technique can be done with medicated oils , herbal decoctions and milk, according to the individual's prakruthi (body constitution) and ailments.
Patra Pinda Sweda (PPS)
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This procedure is used to induce sweating after abhyanga. Several herbal ingredients are fried together, tied in a bolus dipped in hot medicated oil and rubbed all over the body. The special herbs used, draw the toxins from the body by activating the sweat glands. This is an excellent treatment for neurological disorders, arthritis and skin disorders.
Choorna Pinda Sweda (CPS)  
A full body massage is complemented by a massage with chosen herbal powders tied in boluses. Useful in kapha disorders, obesity, skin ailments, joint disorders and to ward off unpleasant body odours.
Shirolepa  
It is a procedure of applying medicated herbal pastes, ghee or oil to the scalp. Shirolepa helps treat itching, dandruff, pustules and headaches. Useful in preventing hair loss and premature greying of hair.

Shashtikashali Pinda Sweda (SSPS)

 
A unique therapy of fomentation which is done after abhyanga using a preparation of a special type of rice. Useful in vatha and kapha disorders, paralysis, myalgia, neurological and neuromuscular disorders. A great rejuvenator it is also known to treat delayed growth in children.
Akshi Tarpana  
It is a process of keeping the medicated ghee/herbal decoction in the eyes with the help of a dough dam.
Nethra tarpana helps remove fatigue of the eyes and treats disorders of vata and pitta. It ensures good vision and helpful in treating burning sensation, roughness and stiffness of the eyes, sub-conjunctival haemorrhage, inflammatory lesions of the eye, glaucoma, loss of secretion of lacrimal fluid and loss of eye-lashes. It is extremely beneficial for students and computer professionals.
Padaghata  
A unique technique of massaging the body with the feet by specially skilled therapists. Useful in vata disorders, wards off old age, eliminates exertion, bestows good vision, nourishes the body, ensures long life, good sleep and a healthy skin.
Shirodhara/Shiroseka  
A time-tested remedy for psychosomatic disorders, shirodhara is a procedure, which involves the pouring of a continous & controlled stream of different medicated oils/butter milk/herbal decoctions over the forehead. It deeply relaxes and revitalizes all the sensory organs and the central nervous system. It stabilizes and calms the mind, improves strength, sense of taste, memory and aptitude. An excellent rejuvenator and aphrodisiac, it ensures good sleep, long life and a sweet voice.
Shirobasti  
A special procedure of bathing the scalp with warm medicated oils. Useful in insomnia, paralysis, bellspalsy, writer's syndrome, migraine headaches, dryness of the upper respiratory tract, dandruff and other diseases of the scalp and diminishing memory.
Shiropichu  
A procedure of anointing the scalp with herbal pastes/medicated ghee or oil and preserving it overnight is a treatment called Shiropichu. It prevents hair loss, reduces burning sensation over the scalp and is good for insomnia.
Katibasti  
It is a procedure in which the low back is bathed with warm medicated oils, followed by sweda
It is safe and gives quick relief as it acts at the site of the lesion and pacifies vata. A series of these treatments are amazingly beneficial for low backaches, spondylitis and sciatica.
Greeva basti
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This procedure done to the back of the neck by bathing with warm medicated oils followed by sweda is very effective in cervical spondylosis and frozen shoulders.
Hrud basti  
A procedure where in the cardiac region is bathed with warm medicated oils. This is especially rejuvenating for the organ of Heart. It strengthens the heart muscles and increases strength and vitality at a very essential level.
Nabhi basti  
Also called chakra basthi, done at the umbilical region is very effective in digestive disorders and anxiety.
Padabhyanga  
It is a unique procedure of massaging the lower legs and feet, emphasizing on foot reflexology. It is known to reduce stress and strain of the lower limbs and eyes. Also helpful in varicose veins.
Janu basti  
A similar procedure to kati and greeva basthi, this therapy is done to the knee joints and is very effective for quick pain relief at the site. Indicated in Rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis.
Istika Sweda  
A special procedure done using herbal decoctions on hot bricks. Very effective in calcaneal spur.
Mukhalepa, Pedicure, Manicure
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Our specially designed herbal facial is effective in chronic acne, hyper pigmentation and sunburns. This prevents wrinkles and improves the skin tone. Also good for the eyes, the massage component in mukhalepa focuses on the marma points of the face, neck and shoulders, which reinvigorates the tissues, tones and refreshes the senses.
A total herbal approach to pedicure & Manicure can make one boast of a pair of beautiful feet and hands.