PANCHKARMA –

WHAT IS PANCHAKARMA?

When the physiology of DOSHAS is disturbed because of poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, negative emotions or other factors they first affect AGNI (the body’s biological fire, which governs digestion and assimilation). When AGNI becomes weakened or disturbed, food is not properly digested. The undigested, unabsorbed food particles get accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract and turn into the toxic, sticky substance called AAMA in the gastrointestinal tract.

There are six stages in the development of the disease process in the body and in the third stage called PRASARA (“spread”) of the disease process, this AAMA clogs the intestines, overflows through other bodily channels such as the blood vessels, and infiltrates the bodily tissues, causing diseases.

AAMA is thus the root cause of diseases. The presence of AAMA in the system can be felt as fatigue, or a feeling of heaviness. It may induce constipation, indigestion, gas and diarrhea, or it may generate bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth, stiffness in the body, or mental confusion. AAMA can most easily be detected as a thick coating on the tongue.

Ayurveda says, disease is actually a crisis of AAMA, in which the body seeks to eliminate the accumulated toxicity. Thus the key to prevention of disease – once AAMA has begun to build up – it is to help the body eliminate the toxins in the form of AAMA.

To remove AAMA from the system, Ayurveda employs many internal cleansing programs one of these, most widely known in the west, is a five-procedure program known as PANCHAKARMA (“the five therapeutic actions”).

SNEHANA –

The first preparatory step is internal oleation called SNEHANA. The patient is asked to drink a specific, small quantity of GHEE (clarified butter) every day for several days. The GHEE creates a thin film in the body’s channels that lubricates them, allowing the AAMA lodged in the deep connective tissues to move freely, without sticking to the channels, to the gastrointestinal tract for elimination. Internal oleation is done for three to five days or even longer, depending on the individual circumstances.

SWEDANA –

This is followed by external oleation in the form of oil message called ABHYANGAM and sweating called SWEDANA oil is applied to the entire body with a particular kind of massage that helps the toxins move toward the gastrointestinal tract. The message also softens both the superficial and deep tissues, helping to relieve stress and to nourish the nervous system. Then the individual is given a steam bath, which further loosen the toxins and increase their movement toward the gastrointestinal tract.

PANCHAKARMA – THE FIVE SPECIALIZED TREATMENTS –

After three to seven days of these procedures, the DOSHAS will have become well “ripened”. At this point the physician will determine that the patient is ready to eliminate the aggravated DOSHAS and accumulated AAMA. One of the five KARMAS or actions is selected as the most expedient route to eliminate the excess DOSHAS. These procedures may include

  • Therapeutic vomiting called VAMANA to remove toxins and excess KAPHA from the upper part of upper abdomen including stomach
  • Purgation or laxative therapy called VIRECHANA to help remove AAMA and excess PITTA from the area of middle and lower abdomen including small intestines, colon, kidneys, stomach, liver and spleen
  • Medicated enema like therapy called BASTI to help remove excess VAATA from the colon directly and indirectly from the whole body. Disturbed VAATA is one of the main etiological factors in the manifestation of diseases. If we have gone a long way toward eliminating the cause of the vast majority of diseases.
  • NASYA or nasal administration of medication, in which dry herbal powders or oils such as ghee are inserted into the nose to help remove, accumulated DOSHAS in the head, sinus and throat areas, and to clear up breathing.
  • RAKTA MOKSHANA – the evacuation of presumed toxic blood, purification of the blood, which is traditionally done in one of two ways. Bloodletting in which a small amount of blood is extracted from vein, is one method. The second method is to cleanse the blood using blood-purifying herbs such as MANJISHTHA, DAARUHALDI etc.

PANCHAKARMA is not the only method used by AYURVEDA to remove AAMA from the body. Depending on the individual strength and the seriousness of the diseases, one of two main approaches will be employed.

–If the person is weak and debilitated and the disease is strong, the preferred method is palliation and pacification called SHAMANAM which neutralize AAMA through gentler methods of purification, including herbs.

–If the patient has more strength and energy and the illness is not so complicated or serious, then PANCHAKARMA is the appropriate method.

PANCHAKARMA is a special powerful procedure requiring guidance from a properly trained medical staff, not just a someone with a modest amount of AYURVEDIC training. It is performed individually for each person, with his or her specific constitution and medical condition in mind and it requires close observation and supervision at every stage, including post-PANCHAKARMA support.

IMPORTANCE AND UTILITY OF PANCHKARMA –

PANCHAKARMA caries the unique idea of total disease cure, no other medical system has any such therapy even at hypothetical level.

The scope of PANCHAKARMA may be divided AS BELOW —

  1. Curative
  2. Preventive
  3. Rejuvenation
  4. Preparation of surgery
  5. Physiotherapy / rehabilitation

PANCHAKARMA therapy being a SPECIALIZED procedure and also due to similar other reasons has become less common in clinical practice. AYURVEDA believes that measures administered per oral route eliminate AMAASHYAGATA VYAADHIS (diseases from the upper part of the abdomen) while those administered per rectum may influence the PAKVAASHYAGATA VYAADHIS (diseases of the lower abdomen generally). Similarly the drugs induced by nasal route relieve URDHAVA JATRUGATA VYAADHIS (diseases of the part above neck) as described in the following table –

Diseased Organ Of The Body Specific PANCHAKARMA treatment indicated
1

AMASAYAGATA ROGA

VAMANA, VIRECHANA

2

PAKWASAYAGATA ROGA

VIRECHANA, BASTI

3

URDHWAJATRUGATA ROGA

NASYA (SHIROVIRECANA)

4

Vagina, Uterus, Urinary Bladder Diseases

 UTTARA BASTI

These KARMAS have specific influence on different DOSHAS in the body and accordingly they have specific indications as shown –

DOSHA Specific Therapy
PITTA VAMANA
VAATA VIRECHANA VASTI