When the dosha, or body type, is irritated and out of balance in the Ayurveda medical philosophy, it must be brought back into balance with a purification process called Panchkarma.
Ayurveda Panchkarma is a prescribed set of five actions which put the body into a position for healing. The purpose is to eliminate toxins from all of the systems of the body, leaving the immune system capable of warding off the illness.
Before beginning Panchkarma, most Ayurvedic physicians require their patients to undego a detoxification procedure known as PurvaKarma. PurvaKarma includes these two steps:
- External and Internal Snehan: Special oils containing medicinal properties are massaged into the body in several ways, and the patient is given clarified butter or other medicated oils to help impurities pass from the body.
- Swedan: The patient is placed in a sweat box or steam room with eucalyptus or camphor to induce sweating which forces impurities out of the body.
Panchkarma Purification Therapy
Following a week of ParvaKarma purification, Panchkarma therapy is started. This involves five steps:
- First, vomiting is induced through herbal teas containing salts, licorice, and calamus. This is called Vamana.
- Next, rhubarb or senna mayl be used to reduce pitta in the small intestines. This step is called Virechan and usually results in diarrhea.
- The third step in Panchkarma is Basti, which uses enemas to clear the colon.
- During the next step, Nasya, special oils and herbal combinations are dropped into the nose or inhaled to purify the sinuses.
- The final step in Panchkarma, blood letting or Rakta Mokshana, is not used by most modern day practitioners of Ayurveda, but it is still practiced by some Oriental physicians.
PaschatKarma for Regaining Vitality
Following Panchkarma, the body is in a weakened state and needs to regain the energy lost through the purification process.
At this time, the patient will go through PaschatKarma to regain vitality. The steps in PaschatKarma include following a light diet for a period until the body adjusts to food again, receiving treatment for the particular symptoms that caused the patient to begin Panchkarma, and a special herbal tonic to rejuvenate the organs of the body.
When and How to Undergo Ayurvedic Panchkarma?
The purification therapy called Panchkarma is usually practiced for very serious conditions and puts great stress on the body. It must be undertaken only under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician whose directions must be followed perfectly. If you desire to know more about this ancient Indian purification ritual and the accompanying health benefits, the following pages may prove insightful.