समदोष: समाग्निश्च समधातु मलक्रिया:। प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमना: स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते।।
“The shaloka says- Balanced doshas, strong agni, balanced dhatus, detoxified body, is the eternal secret of health & happiness”
Ayurveda is treatment which has been followed since ages, it focuses on prevention, healing, and therapies followed with various methods of purification and rejuvenation of the body organs.
Panchakarma originates from Sanskrit word it means “five actions” or “five treatments”. As per Ayurveda Panchakarma is a process which is used for cleaning the toxins present in the body which can be left by disease, poor nutrition and environmental toxins.
Following Panchakarma purifies and gives deep cleansing of the tissues which promotes healthy life. The Panchakarma covers five therapies which are the treatments to prevent and heal number of physical, mental and emotional disorders and ailments.
Today we are going to discuss and talk about Panchakarma. It is an important part of Ayurvedic treatment because it is done by following the principles of Ayurveda that works for the betterment of us human beings.
It is process which includes different method and procedures with extraordinary results.
It is works as detoxifier because it removes the toxins, balances the doshas, heals number of ailments and renews the organs.
In this process that has massage which includes mind-body that oozes the toxins out of all orifices or the opening of our body- butt, nose, and ear.
According to Ayurveda having a balanced and pacified doshas, Agni (digestive fire), dhatus (tissues) normal functioning of mala (waste products), cheerful state of atman (soul), sensory organs and mind are the symptoms of healthy life.
When these get imbalanced it leads ailments which can be controlled and managed by Panchakarma. If I talk about what all are the Benefits of Panchakarma and how it helps our body. Panchakarma is a process which has features that can slow down the aging process and boost the energy.
According to the Ayurvedic tradition, Panchakarma removes free radicals, balances cholesterol and triglycerides, regulates blood pressure, and introduces antioxidant enzymes into the body.
- Cleared toxins from the entire system
- Balanced Doshas
- Riddance of toxins
- Healed digestive system
- Enhanced immunity
- Reducing weight
- Enhancing strength of digestive fire
- Speeding up the metabolism
- Opening up of blocked channels
- Relaxing the mind and body
- Rejuvenation of tissues
- Boosts Immunity
- Decreased stress
- Improved skin luster
- Deep relaxation
- Meditative outlook in life
- Enhanced mindfulness
- Increases memory and concentration
As per Ayurveda our body is made of 5 basic elements which are Air, Fire, Earth, water, and Ether. All this elements are managed by the doshas. Vata Dosha- is combination of ether and air, Kapha Dosha- is combination of water and earth, and Pitta Dosha is fire and water in combination.
According to the nature aggravated vata, pitta or kapha affects the agni (gastric fire) leads to production of ama (toxins).This toxins (ama) enters the bloodstream and spread all over the body, blocking the channels.
This accumulated toxins in the channels will slowly affect prana (vital life energy), ojas (immunity), and tejas (cellular metabolic energy), resulting in disease. Ayurveda considers Ama to be the cause of all disease due to vitiated doshas.
All the function and working of the body can be balanced and managed by following the Panchakarma.
Panchakarma works on three Objectives and that is–
1. Swasthya Rakshana – Health maintenance-
It can be suggested even for healthy persons, considered as a part regular of seasonal treatment because the doshas can accumulate naturally due to seasonal changes that can result to disease, if not flushed out timely from the body.
2. Roga nivarana – Elimination of the disease-
When the doshas becomes imbalanced and gets vitiated beyond a certain level, they give rise to various toxins (Ama), which have a tendency to clog in the channels (Srotas). When the condition do not responds to the medications it needs to be flushed out or eliminated from the body through Shodhana therapy.
3. Prepare for rejuvenation Rasayana & Vajikarana – Rejuvenation/Revitalization Therapy-
Panchakarma is the procedures that makes the disturbed function to work in balanced way so that the body to respond well to Rasayana (Rejuvenation) and Vajeekarana (revitalization) therapies. These therapies help the body by strengthening various body tissues and delaying degenerative processes.
Panchakarma is the procedure which is followed by different steps for the betterment of our health.
Steps of Panchakarma- Purva Karma, Pradhan Karma, Paschata Karma
Purva Karma – Preparatory procedure
These are the preparatory procedures that help the body discard the toxins present in tissues and GI tract. It includes the following procedures:
- Deepana & Pachana – Digestive Therapy
- Snehana – External & Internal Oleation Therapy
- Swedana – Sudation / Fomentation Therapy
Significance of Purva Karma
- Ignition & promotion of digestive fire
- Loosening of deep-rooted toxins & softening of the body parts
- Liquefaction and mobilization of aggravated doshas from shakha (periphery) to koshtha (GI tract)
Properties of Snehana
Evacuation of flatus, increase of digestive fire, unctuous and soft stool, supple and soft body, oily skin
Properties of Svedana
Relief from coldness, stiffness, heaviness and pain, induces sweating and softness of the body.
Pradhan Karma- Includes the main procedure that are five traditional therapies-
- Basti= Herbalized oil enemas
- Nasya= Nasal irrigation
- Vamana= Therapeutic Vomiting
- Virechana= Purgation
- Raktamokshana= Blood Letting
Effects of Panchakarma on Doshas-
- Vamana Therapy – Helps in pacifying and balancing the aggravated Kapha Dosha
- Virechan Therapy – Helps in pacifying and balancing the aggravated Pitta Dosha
- Basti Therapy – Helps in pacifying and balancing the aggravated Vata Dosha
- Nasya Therapy – Helps in pacifying and balancing the Kapha Dosha in head
- Raktamokshana Therapy – Helps in pacifying and balancing the Rakta and Pitta dosha
Let’s discuss in detail about the Panchakarma therapies
VAMAN- MEDICATED EMESIS
Purpose: Helps in improving ama (toxins) from the body tissues and digestive tract.
Benefits: This therapy promotes lightness of body, clarity of the chest and throat, and also improves appetite.
Recommended for treating: Obesity, Asthma, Hyperacidity, and Kapha dominated ailments.
Vaman is a therapy in Panchakarma which is recommended when there is clogging in the lungs causing repeated attacks of bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma, the Ayurvedic treatment is healing by vomiting, Vamana, which includes removing Kapha causing excess mucus.
Once mucus is released out from the body by following Vaman therapy one feels relief from congestion, wheezing, sinuses and breathlessness.
Vomiting as a symptom is seen in diabetes, lymphatic congestion, chronic asthma, chronic cold, chronic indigestion, and edema.
After Vamana one is suggested to follow these resting, fasting, smoking certain herbal cigarettes, and not suppressing natural urges (i.e., urination, defecation, gas, sneezing, coughing).
When the Vamana is done properly, one feels relaxation in the lungs, smooth and easing, lightness in the chest, clean and clear thinking, a clear voice, healthy appetite, and the signs of congestion vanish.
Advantages of Vaman
- Vitiated and imbalanced Kapha dosha is flushed out of the body, which leads to curing of disease due to kapha.
- Enhancement of digestion and metabolism
- Boost and restore normal health
- Gives strength and energy to sense organs, mind, intelligence, and complexion
- Increases strength, immunity, and nourishment
- Improves sexual power, virility, and fertility
- Slow down aging process
- Reduction in weight and cholesterol & triglycerides
Procedure –2-3 liters of either milk/ sugar water/ licorice tea/ buttermilk to drink followed by emetic dose usually comprising of Randia dumetorum seed(Madanphala) with calamus (Vacha) and pinch of rock salt mixed with honey.
Wait period of 45 mins
The patient is instructed not to exert too much
Removes excessive Kapha and accumulated toxins from upper GI tract and the respiratory system
VIRECHAN THERAPY- MEDICINE- INDUCED PURGATION
Purpose: Eliminates toxins through the bowels, as well as to provide internal and external Oleation
Benefits: Reduces the accumulation of Pitta dosha as well as eliminates toxins from the GI tract
Recommended for treating: Jaundice and other liver disorders, Colitis, Celiac Disease, Herpes and Pitta-dominated disorders.
Virechana is the therapy which is responsible for managing the purgative substances for the cleansing of pitta. Virechana or Virechana Karma is a therapy which is done for purification and is one among the five scared, healing therapies of the Panchakarma.
This therapy is an effective Ayurvedic Panchakaram treatment that includes all features which can cure a number of health problems.
Types of Virechana karma:
Effect of Virechana on Tridosha:
- High Pitta conditions – like skin disorders, blisters, abscess, liver disorders etc.
- Pitta connected with Kapha, and Pitta is the overriding, in this case vomiting, acid disorders etc are seen.
- Pitta associated with Vata, as in case of gout.
In Virechana the detoxification therapy, the vitiated doshas and toxins are eliminated from the body through the rectum. This therapy includes consumption of Ayurvedic and herbal medicines that destroys the doshas and toxin from the body and flushes them out through abdomen.
Hence, Pitta is sited at the level of intestines, therefore it is best to eject through anal. The Ayurvedic medicines used in the therapy may differ from person to person which is based on the patient’s digestion strength.
During the Virechana the Ayurvedic treatment, patient will orally intake the Ayurvedic medicines followed by fermentation. During the therapy patient will also be asked to consume light and warm diet.
The procedure of the therapy is likely to change, depending on the patient’s body and mind constitution, age of the person, mental condition and emotional stability.
- The Virechana therapy is procedure in Panchakarma which is medicated purification; it includes cleansing of the body from accumulation of Pitta, purification of blood and clearing of the toxins. This therapy principally focuses on the accumulated toxins in the liver and gall bladder, thus purification of the gastrointestinal tract is included completely.
- Virechana Karma as per Charaka Samhita is the best cure for treating the diseases which are the cause of vitiated pitta dosha.
- Detoxification because of accumulation of Pitta dosha,
- Remove accumulated toxin in the GI tract,
- Practice Virechana helps in treating piles, constipation, acidity, ulcers, liver/ spleen diseases, jaundice, inflammations,
- Cleans the body from poison,
- Cures mild and chronic skin disorders,
- Relieves headaches, anemia, pain in the large intestine, non-healing wounds- Helps manage diabetes, asthma and heart diseases,
- Reduces gynecological disorders.
Purpose: Basti nourishes and cleanses the entire colon and helps in detoxifying the body
Benefits: Promotes lightness in the body, reduces pain, stiffness, and lethargy
Recommended for treating: Arthritis, piles, urinary infection, constipation, and several Vata dominated disorders
Basti – Karma is considered as the major and mother of all treatments, it is responsible for cleaning or removing the toxins which are accumulated due to the 3 doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, mainly the toxins which are due to Vata.
Basti karma is beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment, especially in recuperative periods. Basti includes medicated oil or ghee and an herbal extract in form of decoction are given as an enema that cleans the colon and increases the muscles.
For better and beneficial result this procedure is generally applied for 8 to 30 days, which depends on the medical condition of a person.
Basti – Karma Benefits
- Basti karma is the major part of the treatment which provides considerable cure and relief.
- Have the properties which can pacify the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Basti balances majorly Vata dosha, also includes balancing of Pitta and kapha.
- Enhances the immune system by cleaning and nourishment of the colon.
- Basti balances the body.
Herbs Used in Basti Karma
Vata Dosha –
Rasa– Madhura, Amala and Lavana Rasas (Sweet, Sour and Salty tastes)
Herbs – Ashwagandha, Eranda, Dashmoola, Rasna, Bala etc
Pitta Dosha –
Rasa– Tikhta, Madhura and Kshaya Rasa (Bitter, Sweet and Astringent tastes)
Herbs – Vasa, Chandan, Shatavari, Giloy, Neem, Manjishtha, Kutaja, , etc.
Kapha Dosha –
Rasa– Tikhta, Katu and Kshaya Rasa (Bitter, Pungent and Astringent tastes)
Herbs – Vacha, Haridra, Trikatu, Ark, Punarnava etc.
2) Low back ache
3) Inflammatory disorders like Gout, rheumatism
4) Neurological disorders like sciatica
5) Nervous disorders like vata headache
8) Sexual weakness, infertility
9) Muscular atrophy
Nasya Therapy -Nasal Administration of Medications
Nose is the sense organ which is access to perception and the way to our internal pharmacy.
During this therapy the herbal medicines are pour through the nasal that shows the affect on mind, prana vata, tarpaka kapha, sadhaka pitta, and majja dhatu.
Practice or follow the therapy on an empty stomach that has to be an hour before or after a shower or exercise.
Lie down with the head slanted back and pour 5 drops of nasya in each of the nostril. After getting the Ayurvedic medicine in the nasal inhale it deeply, needs to remain in same position that is laying for a minute or so, so that the medicine can properly penetrate.
Types of Nasya:
1) Virechana (the cleansing) nasya
dry herbs are blown in the nose. Usually the material used includes vacha (calamus), brahmi (gotu kola), and jatamamsi.
- Headache or heaviness in the head
- Sticky eyes
- Runny nose, sinusitis, chronic rhinitis
- Cervical lymph congestion
- Attachment, greed, or lust
- Bacterial infections
- Skin diseases
2) Bruhana (nutritive) nasya
This is particularly good for balancing vata dosha. In this procedure the material poured in nose is strength giving. The material used in the therapy is ghee, salt, Shatavari ghee, Ashwagandha ghee, medicated milk, and various oils.
- Vata-type headache or migraine
- Dryness of voice
- Dry nose or sinuses
- Nervousness, anxiety, fear, negativity
- Dizziness or emptiness
- Stiffness of the neck
- Cervical spondylosis
3) Shamana (sedative) nasya
In this method the Ayurvedic and medicated decoctions, teas, the fresh juice of herbs, or oils with medicinal properties are used to balance the dosha. Material used in it contains brahmi ghee (for pitta), vacha oil (for kapha or vata), and tikta ghee (for vata or pitta).
- Blue patches on skin
4) Navana nasya
In it the materials like decoctions, fresh juices, and oils are mixed together are used which depends on the aggravated dosha. The used material helps to balance the pitta-vata or pitta-kapha disorders. Brahmi juice (for pitta) and vacha juice (for kapha or vata) are used in it.
While practicing this Nasya therapy very less quantity of ghee or oil is poured into the nostrils using the little finger. Followed with gentle massage, practicing this helps to relieve stress and opens the clogged tissues. Can be done on the regular basis or occasionally as desired.
How Does the Nasya Treatment Work?
The used medicines in this therapy are poured through the nostrils which pass through the nervous system (Brain) and venous (Blood circulation) that is present in or around the nostrils.
The practice of this therapy relieves the obstruction of the channels and the health ailments are cured efficiently.
The used material in it is medicated oils/juices/powders that stimulate the vitality of the brain to conquer the disorder. Recommended and advised not to undergo Nasya After heavy meals or Shirodhara.
It helps in getting rid of ENT problems.
What are the benefits of Nasya Treatment?
Cleans purifies and strengthens the nasal passages, which promote healthy breathing.
- Cervical spondylosis
- Hair fall
- Premature graying of hair
- Rhinitis and other nasal infections.
Shastra Visravana (Sharp instruments are used)
In this therapy metallic instruments are used, it is classified into two more categories:
Pracchana– means letting the blood pass through several incisions.
Siravyadha- is also acknowledged as the Venepuncture.
Anushastra Visravana (No instrument is used)
Metallic instruments are not used in it and are further classified into three:
In it, leeches are used. This is followed by the patients who are having imbalanced or vitiated Pitta dosha. Talking about Leeches there are 12 types of leeches and 6 among them are poisonous and 6 are non-poisonous. For this therapy, the leeches which are non-poisonous are used for bloodletting.
It is a therapy used for purification of blood, in this procedure things have to be managed very carefully and reduce the effect accumulated Pitta toxins. Raktamokshana pacifies the Pitta dosha and the diseases caused by it.
- Works as curative and preventive therapy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gouty arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Uremia Inflammations
- Skin disorders such as Eczema, Allergic Dermatitis, Tonsillitis, Sciatica, and Abscess.
The Advised Diet that has to follow during and after Panchakarma
Strict diet- kitchari, which can be of basmati rice and lentils, it has to be slow-cooked with medicinal spices and herbs.
Avoid- coffee, kombucha, green juice or anything besides tea, meat, sandwiches, pizza, bread, and sugar
Intake- salads, and smoothies due to its cooling effect and light by nature.
The taken diet during Panchakarma needs to be sattvic, pure and evoking positivity, to evoke Ojas, wellbeing.
How we come to know that our body needs detoxifications- what are the signs:
- A thick layer of coating on the tongue
- Tired throughout the day, especially after meals
- Body aches and pains
- Uncontrollable cravings
- Foggy mind
- Bad smelling breath, odor, and flatulence
- Constipation or diarrhea
What Can I Expect from Panchakarma Therapy?
The Panchakarma is very helpful and beneficial for one following it. It is a purifying procedure that affects mental, physical and emotional levels.
Panchakarma is a natural healing process and is beneficial healthy living.
Panchakarma Treatment Purifies the Body and Mind
One practicing Panchakarma will get rid of all the signs and symptoms which are bothering and are the cause of diseases.
The therapies under it will promote healthy digestion, clean and clear feelings, detoxification of toxins.
Panchakarma is a wonderful procedure that helps in the removal of stored toxins and reestablishes the body’s natural healing ability.
The foundation of Health and Well-being
Due to accumulated Ama, it obstructs the flow of nourishment, vitality, and information.
As per Ayurveda, these accumulated toxins are the cause of diseases. Panchakarma helps to get rid of the blockage in the blood vessels and arteries.
Restoring the body’s innate balance
With more efficiency in emotional Agni, a person can withdraw anything that is nourishing and eliminate the rest.
The inability to metabolize feelings creates the same amount of toxic residue as undigested nourishment.
To be truthful, people having issues with physical assimilation faces more disturbances with the long-held misery, lingering guilt and repressed outrage.
Who would need a Panchakarma therapy?
Panchakarma is a therapy which needs to follow in steps as per the demand and requirement of the health concerns and body type.
As shared above it has no side effect but always advised to be followed as per the direction of the experts.
Pregnant women are suggested to avoid as the steps followed as it can be disbursing for them.
People at the age group of 75 are suggested to follow it partially because the used herbs and oils may not accept their body condition.
Always suggested and advised to follow under the supervision and guidance of the experts.
The Panchakarma centers in India?
In this present era, people are very aware of the benefits of Ayurveda and the therapies followed under it.
Seeing the benefits and results people are moving towards Ayurveda especially Panchakarma because of it healing process which is done following the Ayurvedic principle.
Due to the demand, result, and interest of the people, the number of Panchakarma centers is increasing with days.
But as per the research and result below are the best Panchakarma centers in India-
- Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort (Kerela)
- Ananda (Uttarakhand)
- Devaaya (Goa)
- Kairali Ayurvedic Health Village (Kerala)
- The Leela (Udaipur)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Over centuries the treatment of Ayurveda has marked a great position and has been tested and perfected.
Being the safe, secure and harmless, anyone can go for the treatment regardless of the age.
People with physical strains, grouped in the middle-aged people are recovering candidates for the treatment.
What care is necessary after the Panchakarma therapy session?
We don’t need special care for the therapy session as such there is no side effects of this holy treatment.
After the Panchakarma Therapy session one has to consume the Lukewarm water, proper clothing as in an initial after the session your body might experience a sudden rise in the body temperature which in simple words is fever.
This is not a serious issue but a natural miracle to detoxify your body. Some of you can experience cold just for few days as it is not long-lasting it is because of the use of oil and herbs to cool down your body.
You should not worry as these symptoms are not permanent and will heal within a few days.
How much does it cost for a Panchakarma therapy session in India?
As we are aware of the used ingredients and oils in the treatment are Ayurvedic with no chemicals in it. If I talk about the total cost of the treatment it varies.
The range of the treatment for a week starts from INR 8000 to 18000 INR including oils
One month pack can cost approximately 22000 INR to 32000 INR including oils
45 days pack can cost approximately 40000INR to 60000 INR including oils.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh