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PANCHAKARMA

Why Panchakarma?

Benefits of Panchakarma

The Scientific Proof

Panchakarma Procedures

Purvakarma (pre-purification measure for Panchakarma)

Pradhanakarma

Pashchatkarma

 
The Treatment in Ayurveda consists of two main types. They are:
  • Shaman Chikitsa: Here the focus is to subdue the vitiated Doshas.
  • Shodhan Chikitsa: When the Doshas are vitiated beyond a particular level, they give rise to various endotoxins [aama], which have a tendency to be accumulated in the minute channels. These doshas need to be eliminated or removed from the body. In such cases, the second type of treatment, which is Shodhan Chikitsa or cleansing therapy, is indicated. Since it consists of the five types of main therapies, it is known as the Panchakarma Chikitsa.

  • Panchakarma (Sanskrit: पंचकर्म‌, literally meaning "five actions") is the word for the five different procedures used in Ayurveda which are believed to purify the body and is the cornerstone to the Ayurvedic management of disease. This is done in two ways:

  • Pacifying the aggravated doshas by using appropriate diet, natural herbs and minerals
  • Eliminating the increased Doshas from the body
  •  

    Panchakarma is a purifying therapy to enhance the metabolic process through food and herbal medicines. It is used in deep rooted chronic disease as well as seasonal imbalance of tri-doshas. As the wastes are eliminated from the body the person becomes healthy. These therapies are undertaken for the purification of the body and Ayurveda considers this necessary before the start of any other therapy.
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    Why Panchakarma?

    In order to stay healthy and fit one should carry out Panchakarma methods as a way of cleansing and servicing the body. Toxins from the preservatives in our food, pollution in the environment, drinking, smoking, stress, medication, etc. all accumulate in our body over a period of time. These toxins are the cause of myriad diseases and health and emotional problems. Western medicine has had no success in removing these toxins safely and effectively from our body. In Ayurveda detoxification and rejuvenation is achieved with Panchakarma which removes deep-seated toxins naturally without any negative side effects. The greatest benefit of this system is preventing possible serious illness due to 'Srothas Avarodha' obstruction of channels or ducts.

    Panchakarma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health. Ayurveda advises undergoing panchakarma when seasons change to clean the body, improve the digestion and to improve the metabolic processes.

    The Panchakarma therapeutic process appears quite simple in its application. However, its effects are powerful and effective. Panchakarma is a unique, natural, holistic, health-giving series of therapeutic treatments that cleanse the body’s deep tissues of toxins, open the subtle channels and bring life-enhancing energy thereby increasing vitality, inner peace, confidence and well-being.

    According to Ayurveda, every human being is a unique phenomenon of cosmic consciousness. The three Dosha (humours) determine every individual’s psychosomatic temperament or constitution. Vata (ether plus air), Pitta (fire plus water) and Kapha (water plus earth) are called the Tridosha, meaning the three Dosha. The internal environment is governed by Vata -Pitta -Kapha (V-P-K), which is constantly reacting to the external environment. The wrong diet, habits, lifestyle, incompatible food combinations (e.g. milk and fish, melons and grain, yogurt and meat or cooked honey etc.), seasonal changes, repressed emotions and stress factors can all act either together or separately to change the balance of V-P-K. According to the nature of the cause, Vata, Pitta or Kapha undergo aggravation or derangement that produces Ama (toxins). To stop the further production of Ama, Ayurvedic literature suggests placing the patient on a proper diet together with an appropriate lifestyle, habits and exercise, and administering a proper cleansing program such as Panchakarma.

    Why should Panchakarma be a goal for every person? For one, it requires a degree of personal commitment to self healing. One of the things that will almost always lead to rejuvenation is a personal commitment to getting a certain physical and mental level. The question then becomes: “What must I do to attain a state of Panchakarma?

    It is important that human beings are at their best and most natural when they are in a state of Panchakarma. It is normal for us, that’s why getting to that point can be both useful and feasible with the right holistic approach. One way to satisfy this condition is through a mixture of Ayurvedic treatments. You can treat yourself to a full and fair period of personal improvement in our centres. In addition, Ayurvedic massage therapy can go by feel great.

    There is no reason for the body to stay in an unnatural state of constant turmoil. The mind, body and psyche should all be on the same page if you really want a healthy life. Getting to that point could mean that you are free of certain diseases or the risk of certain conditions. It may mean that the pain disappears in your joints and your most sensitive spots. Generally, it just means a great deal of improvement in the ability of the body to function at a high level. This, and a state of Panchakarma, is certainly worthy goals for any human being.
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    Benefits of Panchakarma
    Good health is an outcome of our capability to fully metabolize all aspects of life, assimilating that which nourishes and eliminating the rest. When we can’t completely digest our food, experiences, and emotions, toxins accumulate in our bodily tissues, creating imbalance and – ultimately – disease. Panchakarma is an elegant cleansing process that releases stored toxins and restores the body’s innate healing ability.

    In brief, the benefits of Panchakarma are:

    • Eliminates toxins and toxic conditions from your body and mind
    • Restores your constitutional balance thereby improving health and wellness
    • Strengthening the immune system and makes one more resistant to illness and also prevents chronic health problems
    • Reverses the negative effects of stress on the body and mind thereby slowing the aging process
    • Enhances your self-reliance, strength, energy, vitality and mental clarity
    • Brings about deep relaxation and sense of well-being
    • Removes all body aches and pains
    • Improves the digestive ability

    Contraindication
    The Panchakarma therapy is not advisable for persons in whom the following conditions exist:

    • Angina Pectoris
    • Cancer of the lungs or testicles
    • Melanoma, HIV or AIDS
    • Extreme obesity
    • Lactation
    • Emaciation
    • Lympho-Sarcoma
    • Cardiac problems
    • Hypertension
    • Congestive
    • Any Active Infectious Disease
    • Pregnancy
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    The Scientific Proof

    It has now been scientifically proven that a natural purification treatment can successfully eliminate environmentally toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB's) and pesticides from the body, without any negative side effects. A study in the USA demonstrated that classical Panchakarma treatment eliminated up to 50% of the detectable toxins in the blood.

    Most of the toady's environmental toxins are lipophils that accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body. These fat-soluble toxins are associated with a range of diseases such as hormone disruption, immune system suppression, allergies, diseases of the liver and skin, various types of cancer, neurological illness, reproductive disorders and deformities.

    Within days the Panchakarma treatment eliminated a large proportion of these fat-soluble toxins from the body. Without this intervention, the expected drop would be only a fraction of one percent.
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    Panchakarma Procedures

    Panchakarma therapy is performed in 3 stages:

    • Purvakarma: These are the preparatory procedures that help the body discard the toxins present in the stomach and tissues and help facilitate the toxins to move to the alimentary canal.
    • Pradhanakarma: These are the main treatments which are designed to suit individual needs
    Paschatkarma: This is the post treatment care which includes the diet regimen and the other do’s and don'ts.
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    Purvakarma (pre-purification measure for Panchakarma)

    This is a process where the body is prepared for purification using methods to encourage the release of toxins with two procedures:

    1. Snehana
    2. Swedana.

    Ama pachana is the initial procedure prior to Snehana.

    Ama pachana: Ama pacahana is the preparatory phase for the body in anticipation of the actual treatment which ensues. Toxins held within the body tissues are bound and mobilized by intake of herbal decoctions and simultaneously by following nutritional guidelines. The more thorough this phase is attended to, the more optimal the therapy results will be.

    Snehana is of two types:

    1. Bahya Snehana (External application of oil)
    2. Abhyantara Snehana (Internal administration)

    Snehapanam: Snehapanam is second   preparatory methods after ama pachana and before Panchakarma.
    Medicated ghee, eaten in empty stomach, for its first hand therapeutic value, is called snehapanam. The treatment involves the removal of hard-core toxins and wastes from the body. Internal oleation is done by administering small quantities of medicated oil or ghee internally. This process is called Snehana. The duration of internal oleation, quantity and type of medicated oil or ghee is determined by the physician after analyzing the body constitution of the patient. The patient has to eat liquid or light food on the day prior to internal oleation. After consuming the medicated oil or ghee the patient is encouraged to sip warm water frequently. When medicated oil or ghee is completely digested, the patient is advised to consume light food. This process imparts softness and removes dryness of the body. This is the first stage of detoxification. Medicated oils, ghee, animal fats and bone marrow were recommended for Snehana by ancient sages.
    Importance of Snehana: Vaghbata, the ancient Ayurvedic sage has stressed about the importance of Snehana as, 'When we try to bend a dry stick, instead of bending it breaks. But when the same dry stick is seasoned with oil it bends smoothly.’ The human body also responds like this. Due to Snehana the vitiated Doshas, get loosened and blocked Srotas (channels) become soft and slippery.
    Persons who are very obese, pregnant, very weak, alcoholics or workaholics, are not eligible for this therapy. Also patients who are suffering from indigestion, ascites, diarrhoea and fever are not recommended for snehana.

    Vishrama kala [swedanam]: This is to be done after snehapanam for two to three days. During this period abhyangam [massage] and swedanam [steam] is given and patient is ask to take light food.

    Swedana is sudation or sweating is the third stage of Purvakarma and is given every day immediately following the Snehana. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further loosen the toxins from the individual. Swedana liquefies the toxins and increases the movement of toxins into the gastro-intestinal tract.

    There are two major types of swedana.
    1. Saagnisweda (Swedana conducted with the help of Agni or fire).This includes

    • Sankara sweda (Medicinal herbs are tied in a cloth and heated in a liquid medium. This is placed on body)
    • Prasthaara sweda (Boiled or heated medicines are spread on a long rectangular stone slab and covered with cloth or big leaves. Patient is made to sleep on this)
    • Naadi sweda (Helping the process of sweating by directing the vapours of herbal concoction towards a definite affected part)
    • Baashpa sweda (Steam bath)
    • Parisheka sweda (Thin stream of medicated liquid is allowed to fall on patient)
    • Avagaha sweda (Sleeping in bath tub filled with medicated liquid)

    2. Anaagni sweda (Swedana conducted without the help of fire). This includes:

    • Vyaayaama (Physical exercise)
    • Ushna sadana( A house in a very hot place)
    • Guru praavarana (Covering body with blankets)
    • Kshudha (Hunger)
    • Bahupaana (Consuming alcohol in excess)
    • Bhaya (Fear)
    • Krodha (Anger)
    • Upanaha (Applying thick medicinal packs)
    • Aahatah (Wrestling)
    • Aatapa (Exposure to early morning sunrays)

    After three to seven days of Snehana and Swedana, the doshas become well "ripened". A particular panchakarma method is then given according to the individual's constitution and disorder, prakruti and vikruti, respectively.

    External oleation is done after the completion of internal oleation. The whole body or body part is massaged with medicated oil to move the toxins to the gastro-intestinal tract. The oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple while removing stress and nourishing the nervous system. Snehana is given for three to seven days, as required.
    Soon after oil massage the body or body part is exposed to heat through steam bath or other heating methods according to the physician's choice. This process of exposing body to heat is called as swedana or sweating. Both snehana and swedana help to soften the channels and toxin clogs. Elimination of toxins becomes easy when channels are soft and toxins are loose.

    Importance of swedana: The process of sweating removes Srotovarodha (obstructions in channels). Now the soft and loosened (by Snehana) vitiated Doshas move towards Koshta (stomach) through opened slippery channels.
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    Pradhanakarma

    After the purvakarma processes the body is now ready for the main detoxification therapies. The five pradhanakarma according to Acharaya Susurta are:

    • Vamana
    • Virechana
    • Nasyam
    • Vasti
    • Raktamoskshana

    However, according to Acharaya Charaka the Panchakarama treatments are:

    • Vamana
    • Virechana
    • Nasayam
    • Anuvasana Vasti
    • Asthapana Vasti

    This series of five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions).

    Vamana: Vamana means expelling doshas through oral route. It is methodically induced emesis therapy. After Snehana and Swedana the vitiated doshas move towards Koshta (Stomach). The process of expelling of these Doshas by induced emesis is called 'Vamana'. The emesis should never be induced in empty stomach.
    In this process, three to four glasses of liquorice or salt water is administered, then vomiting is stimulated by rubbing the tongue which triggers the vomiting centre 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.
    Vamana therapy is conducted in early hours of day, when kapha dosha is dominant. Detoxification through vamana is preferred in diseases of head and chest and in diseases which
    have 'Kapha' as predominant dosha. This is a painless, drug-induced emetic process.
    Indication;
    Therapeutic vomiting is indicated in the treatment of chronic asthma, allergies, diabetes, diarrhoea, chronic cold, Chronic Indigestion lymphatic congestion, chronic indigestion, hyperacidity, hypoglycaemia, obesity, oedema, psoriasis, skin disorders and vitiligo.
    Contra indication;
    Children, students, pregnant women, the elderly and people who workaholics, very obese, very weak should not take this therapy.

    Emetic substances used in this therapy are emetic nut (madana, Randia dumetorum), liquorice (Yastimadhu, Glycyrrhiza glabra), neem (Azadirachta indica), bimbi (Coccinia indica, Bhrngaraja), kutaj (Conessi bark, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Kuda), murva (Chonemorpha macrophylla), deodar (devdaru, Cedrus deodara), salt, cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), nux vomica (Strychnos nux-vomica).

    Virechana: Virechana is expelling the vitiated doshas and toxins through purgation. This therapy can be conducted as an individual detoxification therapy or as a follow up therapy next to Vamana to ensure complete detoxification. Virechana is a painless and simple procedure. Complications are usually very rare in this 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, vomiting, nausea and jaundice. This detoxification method helps to expel toxins and vitiated doshas from blood, liver and intestines. Virechana is facilitated with leaves of senna (Cassia angustifolia), flax seeds, isabgol (psyllium, Plantago ovata) husks or triphala in a combination that is appropriate for the individual person. Other substances that are used are: prune, bran, dandelion root, cow's milk, salt, castor oil, raisins and mango juice.
    Usual Panchakarma preparatory methods like Snehana and Swedana are completed before inducing purgation. Virechana is induced by administering herbal purgatives in morning between 8 am to 9 am, when pitta dosha is dominant. Patient is made to drink warm water repeatedly as he passes stools.
    Indication;
    This therapy is suggested for disorders in which pitta is prominent dosha. Anaemia, asthma, constipation, diabetes, elephantiasis, fistula, gynaecological disorders, haemorrhoids, headache, hemiplegia herpes, intestinal parasites, jaundice, oedema, paraplegia and skin diseases, are few of many diseases in which Virechana is the chosen as detoxifying therapy.
    ailments, Contraindications for Virechana therapy are ulcerated rectum, pregnancy,  diarrhoea, cardiac tuberculosis, children and elderly.

    Nasyam (Errhine Therapy): Nasyam involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region. This detoxification method is also known as Shirovirechana.

    The nostrils are considered the doorway to the brain and nasal application of oils is helpful in conditions like allergic sinusitis, migraines and epilepsy. Based on the medical condition of a person, it can be given up to 30 days.
    Indication;
     Nasyam is also used in the treatment of Bell's Palsy, catarrh, cervical spondylosis, chest congestion, chronic headaches, elimination of excess mucus hyper pigmentation in the face, epilepsy, eye diseases frozen shoulder, hay fevers, hemiplegia, insomnia, loss of sense of smell and taste, migraine, nasal allergies, nasal polyp, neurological dysfunctions, paraplegia, pre-mature greying of hair, sinusitis, stiffness of the neck, thyroid problems, throat diseases and trigeminal neuralgia. Nasyam is also used for improving memory and eye sight and also aids in enhancing the clarity to voice.

    As a preparatory procedure the head and face of patient is massaged with medicated oil (Administering medicated oil before nasyam karma is not advised) and steam bath is given only to head and neck region. Patient is made to sleep on his back with foot end elevated and head reclined. The medicated liquid or oil is administered in drops to both nostrils consecutively. Patient is advised to inhale the medicine slowly.

    If the Nasyam therapy has been carried out effectively, the excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated by means of the nearest possible opening, the nose and the region nourished. Due to this, the patient feels great relief in the head and clarity of the sense organs. Breathing becomes completely unobstructed which gives sound sleep at night.
    There are six types of Nasyam:

    • Pradhamana Nasyam ((virechana or cleansing nasyam) uses dry powders (rather than oils) that are blown into the nose with a tube. Pradhamana nasyam is mainly used for kapha types of diseases involving headaches, heaviness in the head, cold, nasal congestion, sticky eyes, hoarseness of voice due to sticky kapha, sinusitis, cervical lymph adenitis, tumours, worms, some skin diseases, epilepsy, drowsiness, Parkinsonism, inflammation of the nasal mucosa, attachment, greed and lust. Traditionally, powders such as brahmi are used.
    • Bruhana Nasyam (nutrition nasyam) uses ghee, oils, salt, shatavari ghee, ashwagandha ghee and medicated milk and is used mainly for vata disorders. It is said to benefit conditions resulting from vata imbalances such as vata-type headaches, migraine headache, dryness of voice, dry nose, nervousness, anxiety, fear, dizziness, emptiness, negativity, heaviness of eyelids, bursitis, stiffness in the neck, dry sinuses and loss of sense of smell.
    • Shaman Nasyam (sedative nasyam) is used according to which dosha is aggravated but mainly for pitta-type disorders such as thinning of hair, conjunctivitis and ringing in the ears. Generally certain herbal medicated decoctions, teas and medicated oils are used.
    • Navana Nasyam (decoction nasyam) is used in vata-pitta or kapha-pitta disorders and is made from decoctions and oils together.
    • Marshya Nasyam (ghee or oil nasyam)
    • Prati Marshya (daily oil nasyam): This helps to open deep tissues and can be done every day and at any time to release stress.

    Nasyam should not be given in the following conditions:
    Sinus infections, pregnancy, menstruation, after drinking of alcohol and for children below 7 years or adults over 80 years of age

    • Vasti. (Enema or Colonic Irrigation) Vasti means urinary bladder. The process of administering medicines with the help of urinary bladder of animals is called vasti. The urinary bladder removed from dead animal is cleaned and processed. A long metallic hollow tube like structure is tied to one end and other openings of bladder are sealed. Liquid medicines are filled in this processed bladder and administered. Vasti is usually correlated with enema. Medicines are administered with the help of vasti through:
    • Anus (Pakvasayagatha)
    • Vagina (Garbhasayagatha),
    • Urethra (Mootraashyagata)
    • Wounds (Vranagatha)

    There are several types of vasti, according to traditional texts, each with their own indications and contra-indications as listed below.

    • Anuvasana (oil enema) is used in pure vata disorders and when a person is having excess hunger or dryness related to vata imbalances. In anuvasana vasti medicated oil is introduced through anus, immediately after the consumption of food. There is no harm even if medicated oil remains inside the colon for a long time. This type of vasti nourishes and strengthens the body. Anuvasana vasti and Niruhavasti are given alternatively.
    • Niruha-Asthapana: (decoction enema) is used, among other conditions, for evacuation of vata, nervous diseases, gastro-intestinal vata conditions, gout, certain fever conditions, unconsciousness, certain urinary conditions, appetite, pain, hyperacidity and heart diseases.
    • Niruha: In this type of vasti (also known as asthapana vasti) an enema of herbal decoction is given. Niruha vasti is administered in the morning on an empty stomach. The administered decoction has to come out from body within 45 minutes. The expelled herbal decoction brings out toxins and vitiated doshas along with it. Patient is advised to take bath after herbal decoction is expelled. Unlike vamana and virechana, strict diet and lifestyle rehabilitation is not required after vasti karma, as vasti do not cause irritation in digestive system. But it is necessary to take light and nourishing food.
    • Uttara Vasti (through the urethra with men or vagina with women) is used for selected semen and ovulation disorders and for some problems involving painful urination or bladder infections. This is not to be used for someone with diabetes.
    • Matra Vasti (daily oil enema) is used by someone emaciated by overwork or too much exercise, too much heavy lifting, walking too long of a distance, too much sexual activity or someone with chronic vata disorders. It does not need to be accompanied by any strict dietary restriction or daily routine and can be administered, in the appropriate cases, in all seasons. It gives strength, promotes weight and helps elimination of waste products.
    • Karma Vasti (schedule of 30 vastis; 12 decoction enema + 18 oil enema)
    • Kala Vasti (schedule of 16 vastis; 10 oil + 6 decoction
    • Yoga Vasti (schedule of 8 vastis; 5 oil + 3 decoction)
    • Bruhana Vasti (nutritional enema) is used for providing deep nutrition in select conditions. Traditionally, highly nutritive substances have been used, such as warm milk, meat broth, bone marrow soup and herbs like shatavari or ashwagandha.

    Vasti is considered as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments since it cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the three doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Vasti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction are given as enema to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone. This procedure is usually applied for 8 to 30 days, based on the medical condition of a person.
    Sneha Vasti is a form of enema using medicated oil which is allowed to remain in the colon and rectum for a short period of time to absorb the toxins and eliminate them out of the body.

    Vasti improves vision, decreases weight in obese people, increases weight and nourishes emaciated persons, slows down ageing process and boosts health.
    Indicaton;
    Benefits Hemiplegia, Paraplegia, Colitis, Convalescence, cervical spondylosis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, digestive disorders, backache, sciatica, hepatomegaly and splenomegaly, obesity, piles, sexual debility and infertility.

    Raktamokshana: This is a detoxification of the blood, where blood is removed from an affected skin area either by leeches or venipuncture. It is highly effective in chronic non-healing wounds, diabetic carbuncles and ulcers. This particular panchakarma procedure is sometimes administered in combination with other panchakarma.
    Toxins present in the gastro-intestinal tract are absorbed into the blood and circulated throughout the body. This condition is called toxaemia, which is the basic cause of repeated infections, hypertension and certain other circulatory conditions. This includes repeated attacks of skin disorders such as urticaria, rashes, herpes, eczema, acne, leucoderma, chronic itching or hives. In such conditions, along with internal medication, elimination of the toxins and purification of the blood is necessary. Raktamokshana is also indicated for cases of enlarged liver, spleen and gout.

    Extracting a small amount of blood from a vein relieves the tension created by the pittagenic toxins in the blood. Bloodletting also stimulates the spleen to produce antitoxic substances which helps to stimulate the immune system. Toxins are neutralized enabling radical cures in many blood born disorders.

    In the proper application of blood-releasing therapy, toxic blood is taken out of various sites in the body, usually along the back. The blood should be dark in colour. Once it becomes bright red, the treatment should stop. The use of alternative and blood-cleansing herbs has a similar effect over a long period of time. Also good are blood-cleansing spices like turmeric and saffron.

    Raktamokshana is not recommended in cases of anaemia, oedema, extreme weakness, diabetes and in children and elderly persons and pregnant women and women during menstruation.
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    Pashchatkarma

    After completion of the Panchakarma, therapies it is normally followed by:

    Samsarjan karma: After the Panchakarma treatments are done the patient feels light and the digestive power becomes weak. A special diet and lifestyle are prescribed for about two weeks. Thus in this therapy the digestive power and strength of the person is restored by starting a light diet and gradually going towards a heavy diet.
    So in case some cause of the disease is left in the body even after the cleaning process, it is finished by giving internal medicines.

    Rasayana This means rejuvenating therapy. The best results of rejuvenation can be achieved if it is taken after doing the Panchakarma. If rejuvenation therapy or Rasayana are taken without cleaning the body we may not get best results because the effect of the Rasayana is reduced due to the presence of toxins or wastes in the body.

    Vajikarma it is a special branch of Ayurveda which deals with impotency and sterility. The therapy, if done after Panchakarma,  enables an individual to have better potency and to conquer impotency and to fight out sterility and to bring about fertility is said to best if it is done after panchakarma.

    Uttara Karma:  Panchakarma treatment has several follow up practices. It is not an isolated therapy that can be done once and forgotten, but must be integrated into one’s entire life-regimen. First, it may be necessary to repeat the whole process of Panchakarma. More than one session may be needed to cleanse deep-seated toxins, particularly if shortened (week long sessions or less) versions of Panchakarma are followed.
    Second, after Panchakarma, we should return to a diet and life-style in harmony with our constitution, or establish one if we have not done so already.

    Other miscellaneous therapies of Panchakarma:

    • Shirodhara: Popularly known as third eye treatment of Lord Shiva, a therapeutic Marma head massage with herbal oils is done and herbal oil, medicated milk, buttermilk or herbal decoction is poured in gently and steadily over the forehead in a continuous stream using a special rhythmic swaying movement. This results in a fantastic sense of deep relaxation and inner peace. It is recommended in anxiety, depression, hypertension, insomnia etc.
    • Kati vasti: Kativasti (or Kati vasti) is an Ayurvedic procedure of retaining warm medicated oil over the lower back bordered with herbal paste. The therapy can last for 45 to 60 minutes. It is a general cure for almost all types of spinal problems and back pains.
    • Janu vasti: When therapeutic oils are pooled over the knee it is known as Janu vasti. It relieves pain and stiffness and eases movements at the knee joint. Meanwhile it also strengthens the joint, muscles and soft tissues around, improves circulation and enables you to resume back your work and activities.
    • Nadi Swedanam: Nadi Swedanam is usually done for localized conditions like osteoarthritis, sprain, or to relieve some localized pain as in cervical spondylosis. Here fomentation is done with the vapours generated out of medicated decoction that is then applied to the affected area with the help of a rubber tube. Proper oleation of the affected part is done prior to Nadi Swedanam. Useful in pain disorders of different sites.
    • Pinda Sweda: This therapy is done after Abhyangam or during Panchakarma and consists of scrubbing warm boluses (prepared with herbs, milk, rice and other grains) over your entire body using specific strokes. It improves blood circulation and muscle tone, strengthens digestion and restores vigour to all your bodily tissues. Pinda Sweda is beneficial in degenerative conditions and can help the body rebuild muscular tissues. Done in a series, it is traditionally used for many neurological and neuromuscular disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, as well as many serious imbalances, and to promote vitality and longevity. Pinda Sweda is recommended at least once a year to preserve health and delay aging.
    • Shashti-Shali Pindasweda: In the treatment of Shashtikashali Pinda Swedan rice is used in the procedure and hence the name Shashtikashali Pinda Sweda. Shashtika Shali refers to the rice (Navara) that grows in 60 days. This procedure is also popularly known as Navarakizhi. The induction of perspiration is by application of certain medical puddings externally in the form of boluses tied up in muslin bag for about 40 to 60 minutes.

    This treatment is for all types of rheumatic ailments, pain in the joints, emaciation of limbs, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and certain skin diseases.
    The whole body below the neck or a portion of the body is subjected to the swedana therapy. This is an effective and easy procedure of swedana and ideal for healthy people, children and in clients suffering from illness due to morbid vata dosha.

    • Netra Tarpanam: In this procedure, specific medicated oils good for vision is made to be kept over the eyes like a reservoir for a period of time while the patient blinks his eyes to let the oil nourish his eyes. This treatment is helpful in case of myopia, preventing eye diseases and strengthening the optic nerve. It relieves the strain due to constant glaring at the computer and TV screen, helps in preventing early formation of cataract, reduces pain and burning sensation in the eyes. It is very useful in conditions like dry eye syndrome, chronic conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer and glaucoma.
    • Shirovasti: Shirovasti is an Ayurvedic procedure that essentially involves keeping high specific gravity lukewarm oil for a specific period on the head. This treatment is prescribed for disorders like cervical spondylosis, numbness, facial paralysis, Bell’s palsy, dryness of nose and mouth, cataract, deafness, earache, insomnia and other diseases that afflict the cranial nerves. It is also known to prevent hair fall, alopecia and greying of hair. It gives sense organs more efficiency and health.
    • Uttara vasti: This is palliative therapy for the health of the womb by bringing the monthly cycle in alignment with the lunar cycle. This douching and curative therapy is used in the treatment of genitourinary tract disorders. Combination of herbs and medicated oil is introduced through the vagina and cervix in females and through the penis and urethra in males. This treatment is used for certain diseases of the urinary system.

    This therapy is beneficial in various disorders of the female monthly cycle, in vaginal infections, dryness or soreness of vaginal passage, stagnation in or disorders of uterus, pre-menstrual syndrome, irregular or excess menstrual flow, sterility, promoting fertility and in the treatment of venereal diseases.
    The body is cleansed of excess humour and toxic wastes of metabolism. Through these Panchakarma therapies a person attains the balance of the three doshas and regains his natural health. These procedures are advocated to the person depending upon body constitution, intensity of disease and other factors.

    • Udwartanam:  Body massage using herbal powder is called udvarthanam. The treatment is good for diseases like diabetic neuropathy, paralysis, obesity, skincare, sciatica, indigestion and sclerosis of blood vessels. The massage activates the nerves and increases blood flow to the impaired parts of the body.

    Udvarthanam is also an important health preserving massage. As the massage promotes active blood flow, it revitalizes and reconditions the body, thus preserving its strength, skin texture, and natural elasticity. Fat reduction is one of the significant benefits in cases of obesity.

    • Lepanam: This is the external application of medicated paste on the body, where pain is associated with inflammatory conditions. This is a process in which medicated herbal paste, prepared with herbal ghees, and milk, is applied on the affected part or whole body. This localized form of treatment relieves various inflammatory diseases of the body. These include rheumatoid arthritis, abscess, osteoarthritis, oedema, backaches, headaches, skin diseases, etc.

    The periodicity and the quantity of medicines used for doing Lepanam depend on the intensity of the person's ailment. In most cases 2 or 3 such applications are done in a day and would be continued for 4 to 5 days. Such continuous localized applications reduce inflammation, increase blood circulation, and relieve the person from inflammatory pains. It also improves the skin texture and complexion. Oral medicines like Kashayam (decoction), Lehyam (thickened and sweetened extracts of a single herb or a combination of herbs, animal and mineral products), Choornam (powder) etc. taken along, give faster relief.

    • Mardana: This massage is the application of acupressure to the Marma points (energy centres) within the body, to encourage Prana (energy) to flow freely for optimum health and wellbeing. This is done by kneading with fingers and fists. Marma is a Sanskrit word that means 'hidden' and the basic idea is to reach to the hidden places to bring out the desired effect. Therefore, Mardana massage utilizes deep tissue massage to stimulate and tighten facial ligaments and muscles where they meet at a Marma point.
    • Padaghata: A deep and strong body massage, done with both feet and hands to give
      this wonderful and effective deep tissue massage. Padaghata is very effective to reduce both Vata and Kapha. Application of the oil all over the body followed by this special massage, in which the therapist uses his feet to apply firm pressure on the patient’s body. The word pada means feet, and hence massaging with feet is known as padaghata. Padaghata is a form of external snehana treatment

    As more pressure is applied during the massage with feet, this procedure is more effective in building the muscular body. Moreover, even in patients suffering from diseases due to morbid of vata dosa, this procedure is more effective, and also quick in its therapeutic actions. Immunity against the diseases is also enhanced by this therapy.

    • Gandusha: This involves the retention of medicated oil or decoction in the mouth for a few minutes. Gandusa is good for cleansing, detoxifying and aids in mouth, voice, gum and tooth disorders. Gandusa addresses bad breath, whilst improving the flexibility of facial muscles.
    • Parisheka (Pizhichil): The word parisheka means sprinkling or moistening. In this process, oil is used for lubrication or relief from pain. It relieves fatigue, decreases vata dosha, helps in fracture/dislocation. It is also beneficial in injuries, burns etc. Pizhichil is a special form of Ayurvedic treatment that combines rich oil massage with a special heat treatment. During this indulgent treatment 20 liters of medicated and warmed Ayurvedic oil is continuously poured over the body while two practitioners rub and stimulate the skin using hands and special cotton cloths. The process is performed with the person both lying down and while sitting in a chair specially designed for the purpose of applying medicated oils.

    This is a highly rejuvenating treatment that enhances muscular tone and retunes the entire nervous system. It comes as a package in itself – a course of 10 days is necessary to gain its maximum healing potential. It is recommended for extremely high Vata dosha types, muscular aches and pains, rheumatic problems, osteoarthritis, insomnia, depression. Pizhichil tones and rejuvenates the skin, promotes relaxation and inner balance.

     

    The specialty of this treatment is that it can be administered both in a healthy, as well as the diseased person. When a healthy person subjects himself to Panchakarma, it has a preventive, restorative and rejuvenative effect on the body.

    Have you made up your mind? So start cleaning today. And remember not only external but also internal cleaning.
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