What is Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic way of cleansing rejuvenating the body, mind and consciousness. It is known all over the world for its beneficial effects on health. Panchakarma is a self-healing process. It is a unique contribution of Ayurveda. It is also known as Ayurveda panchakarma. The meaning of the word Panchakarma is “five procedures,” and it is a set of five procedures which eliminate toxic elements from the body. Ayurveda panchakarma is a specialized procedure to be executed only under the supervision of an Ayurveda expert.
Panchakarma is a therapeutic process which helps in reversing the negative effects of daily life. Negative effects include toxins in the body, which in turn weaken the system and make us susceptible to various specific, chronic, degenerative and nonspecific diseases. The purifying procedures involved in panchakarma help to break down the “amalgamation” responsible for the disease and restore balance among the doshas responsible for the attack. It has been scientifically proven that Ayurvedic purification treatments can successfully eliminate toxic substances and pesticides from our body without any damage or side effects and studies have shown that classical Panchakarma Treatment eliminates up to 50% of the toxins that are detectable in the blood.
Apart from being good for alleviating disease, it is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health. Panchakarma therapy can restore the natural state of health, being and wellness by cleansing the body of toxic substances. It helps in bringing balance into the system and improving bodily functions like the digestive system and all. It helps you to a great deal in sustaining the process by making positive changes in day to day lifestyle.
The Panchakarma application appears quite simple. However, the effects are powerful and effective. It is a unique, natural, holistic, health-giving series of therapeutic treatments that opens the subtle channels to bring life-enhancing energy thereby increasing vitality, well-being, confidence and inner peace.
Panchakarma in the literal sense means five actions/techniques. They are
- Vamana (induced vomiting/emesis)
- Virechana (purgation)
- Sneha Vasti (two kinds of medicated enemas with decoction and unctuous material)
- Nasya (nasal medication)
- Raktamokshana (Blood Letting)
It is the purification of the body through these means. It is a complete transformation process which relaxes and soothes the entire body system along with the soul and mind.
Various Benefits Of Panchakarma:
- It helps in the elimination of toxins and toxic conditions in the body system and mind
- It restores the constitutional balance, hence improving the health and wellness of being.
- It strengthens the body’s immune system, as a result of which the body becomes more
resistant to short-term and long-term illness.
- It is known for its reversing effects on the body and mind. It reverses the negative effects of stress on your body and mind thereby slowing the aging process.
- It makes you look younger and vibrant.
- It enhances the self-reliance, strength, mental clarity of thought, vitality and energy,
- It brings about deep relaxation to the body, mind and sense of well-being.
- It removes the root cause of the disease which various allopathic treatments cannot.
- It increases mental and physical efficiency.
- It brings a lot of glow to the skin of the face as well as the entire body.
- It reduces the extra fat from the body.
- It makes the joints of the body stronger and increases the movability of joints.
- It helps in regaining and retaining the vigour and stamina lost during the various day-to-day strenuous activities.
- It removes the modern-day problem of insomnia, anxiety and other mental problems.
- It balances various systems of our body like the nervous system, digestive system, and blood circulatory system. It also helps in achieving physiological equilibrium.
- It demotes the production of stressors in our body, which are responsible for a lot of stress in our day-to-day lives.
Precautions of Panchakarma Treatment:
When a person is undergoing a Panchakarma ayurveda therapy process one should refrain from the following activities:
- Strenuous exercises.
- Sexual activities.
- Late night.
- Loud music.
- Too much of watching television.
- Other stimulating activities.
Gentle forms of yoga/asanas can be performed. One should keep themselves away from sunlight or excessive wind. Less oily foods should be consumed. The main focus should be on steamed vegetables and light foods.
During the course of the panchakarma therapy treatment, some restrictions are to be observed by the patient who should also dedicate some free time exclusively towards it. The procedure should be followed wholeheartedly and fully with utmost dedication. Panchakarma therapy treatment includes three parts. They are:
1. Purva Karma-Preparatory Methods:
Helps enhance digestion.
B. Snehan (Internal And External Oleation) :
Lubrication of the body mainly with the use of oil or ghee. The person is asked to take medicated oil or ghee in increasing quantity till some particular signs and symptoms occur. The person has to observe some restrictions such as drinking only hot water throughout the day, not sleeping during day time, eating food only when hungry, etc.
C. Sweda (Fomentation):
Fomentation through a steam bath to produce sweating is ‘Svedana’. This helps with the liquefication of doshas which makes it easier for them to easily tickle down to the alimentary canal.
2. Pradhana Karma – Main Procedure:
A. Vamana (Induced Vomiting/Emesis):
This procedure is particularly useful for diseases which arise from imbalances of kapha and pitta. Diseases like chronic bronchitis, asthma, skin diseases, allergies, herpes, diabetes, sinusitis, and hyperacidity can be cured with this procedure.
B. Virechana (Purgation):
It is a medicated purgation therapy which removes Pitta toxins from the body that have been collected in the liver and gallbladder. It completely cleanses the gastrointestinal tract. It is a safe procedure without any side effects. This is very useful in curing diseases caused by pitta dosha e.g. Hyperacidity, herpes, anemia, skin diseases, etc.
C. Sneha Vasti (Two Kinds Of Medicated Enemas With Decoction And Unctuous Material):
Medicated oils or ghritams are used to administer oil enemas, which nourish and lubricate the body. This procedure is useful for curing diseases caused by Vata Dosha like backaches, dystrophy multiple sclerosis, etc.
D. Nasya (Nasal Medication):
This process is the pouring of medication into the nostrils. It may be in the form of a medicated oil/ghee, juice, or even powder. This procedure is useful in diseases of the head and neck like sinusitis, hair fall, greying of hairs, headaches, epilepsy, etc.
E. Raktamokshana (Blood Letting):
The procedure here is to let the blood flow out of the body along with doshas. It helps cure skin disorders, abscesses, stomatitis, hypertension, etc.
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3. Paschat Karma -Post-Therapeutic Measures:
A. Samsarjana Karma (Specific Dietetics):
It is done to boost the effectiveness of Panchakarma and includes gradually increasing the diet of the patient from liquids to semi-solid to normal.
B. Dhumapana (Smoking Of Medicinal Cigars):
C. Rules to follow specific activities like abstinence and eating light foods.
Sometimes, Leeches can also be used for bloodletting. If the disease manifestation is local, then leeches are the best option. They suck only the impure blood and shed off from the site on their own. Dressing has to be done afterwards. Snehana and Swedana are not required if leeches are going to be used.
The objective of panchakarma is to restore the equilibrium of biological forces and Normal functioning of the tissues, to improve digestion and increase metabolism, to get rid of diseases from their very roots in the patient’s body, restore efficient elimination of waste products and Normal functioning of five sense organs and finally ensure harmony among the body, mind and soul.
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