Panchakarma is a very popular procedure of Ayurveda. It is a therapeutic procedure of eliminating toxins from the body for the general health and for the treatment of various disorders. The word panchakarma is formed with two words Panch(five) and Karma(process), panchkarma therefore involves 5 process. They are.
1. Vaman: therapeutic vomiting
2. Virechan: purgation
3. Basti: enema
4. Nasya: elimination of toxins through the nose
5. Rakta moksha: detoxification of the blood
The above five procedures are called as Pradhan Karma(Main Procedure). Beside this there is Purvakarma( Pre purification procedure), which is done to loosen the adhesive doshas(impurities) for easy elimination.
Purvakarma consist of
1. Snehana (Abhyangam) or oleation: This involves full body oil massage with warm medicated herbal oils. This helps the toxins to move towards the gastro-intestinal tract. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple, thus helping to remove stress and to nourish the nervous system.
2. Swedana is sudation or sweating it is given immediately after the abhyanga. It generally involves steam bath. It opens up clogged pores, cleanses skin and improves complexion and provides relief in muscles and joints pain, arthritis, gout and backache
Let us go through the details of the various processes involved in Panchkarma
1. Vaman Panchkarma: This is a therapeutic vomiting process which is mainly used in lungs related disorders like bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma. These are kapha related disorders and vaman kriya provides great relief in it. In vamana kriya certain medicines are given to induce vomiting in the person to get rid of the mucus that causes excess kapha. Vaman panchakarma is also beneficial in edema, epilepsy, skin diseases, fever, loss of appetite and lymphatic obstruction
2. Virechana is a purgation therapy which cleanses the pitta dosh and purifies the blood by removing the toxins from the body. The gastro-intestinal tract is also cleansed by Virachana therapy. Virechan therapy aims at cleansing the sweat glands, small intestine, colon, kidneys, stomach, liver and spleen. Virechana karma is used in treatment of Skin diseases, chronic fever, piles, abdominal tumors, worms, gout, jaundice, irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal problems and constipation. It is also useful in asthma, goiter, leprosy, headaches, elephantiasis and gynecological disorders.
3. Basti treatment involves the introduction into the rectum of herbal concoctions of sesame oil, and certain herbal preparations in a liquid medium. Basti, is the most effective treatment of Vata disorders. Vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches may also be treated with Basti. It relieves constipation, distention, chronic fever, cold, kidney stones, heart pain, backache, sciatica and other pains in the joints.
4.Nasya: In nasya treatment medicine is given through nose. Read in more detail about Nasya karma treatment
5. Raktamokshan is a localized treatment process of panchkarma. It involves removing of vitiated blood from the body. This is a less popular part of panchkarma. In Raktamokshan treatment small amount of toxic blood is removed from the affected area. It is used in the treatment of blood-related diseases: chronic itching, eczema, urticaria, rashes, leukoderma, enlarged liver or spleen, gout and some types of headache and hypertension.