Ayurveda has long been a source of healing for a large number of people but it is much more than that. Panchkarma is a part of Ayurveda that is integral to its existence. Panchkarma consists of therapies that help detoxify the body. This is considered essential in the world of Ayurveda to live a healthy life.
Panchkarma cleanses the body as well as improves digestion and metabolism. Purvakarma (preparatory procedures), Pradhankarma (five important procedures) and Paschatkarma (follow up treatments) are the three steps of panchakarma.
Purvakarma comes before pradhankarma and constitutes of oleation and formentation.
In this step, oily substances are applied on the body. A lot of different oils are a part of Ayurvedic therapies which provide a variety of benefits. The fatty substances used in the oil act as a medium to reach deeper lying cells and release toxins stuck in them.
Any therapy by which sweat is generated is called a Fomentation therapy. Fomentation generally succeeds Oleation therapy as the tissues softened by it can become flexible allowing toxins to be cleared even from deep lying tissues after the Fomentation therapy.
The oleation and formentation therapies can be done in various ways, as mentioned below:
This is a body massage done by using an appropriate or particular oil. It can either be done for the entire body or a certain part of it.
This is done as a therapy particularly for the head region. Warm oil is poured on the centre of the forehead at a constant speed and temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
Largely used for joint, muscle and neurological issues. Lukewarm oil is applied on the entire body along with rhythmic hand movements. It is known to relieve pain, reduce stress and energize the muscles.
This massage involves usage of bags filled with herbs and medicinal substances. It is great to reduce stress and pain.
Pradhankarma comes after purva karma and constitutes the five procedures of Vaman, Virechan, Basti, Nasya and Rakta Mokshan.
This involves internal and external Oleation and Fomentation once the toxins get liquefied. This causes vomiting which is a sign of the detoxification .
This therapy is done by the removal of waste from the bowels. Laxatives are provided to facilitate this evacuation. It is recommended for the pitta dominated conditions.
This therapy is for the people with vata dominated issues and stress. This therapy is done using to largely cure arthritis, piles and constipation. Ghee, milk or any such herbal substances are injected in the rectum which has various positive effects.
This therapy is helpful in detoxifying the head region. The head and shoulder regions are gently massaged before administering nasal drops through both the nostrils. This provides relief from various issues like headache, migraine, issues with sleep etc.
This therapy is used for the cleansing of blood and can be performed for the entire body or a particular region. It helps in curing various skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and problems related to pigmentation.
Paschat karma is the concluding phase of panchakarma. It involves re-establishment of the digestive enzymes and the replenishment of the body tissues that have been detoxified.
Paschat karma is further divided into two procedures, namely Samsarjankarma and Rasayana
This therapy brings back the digestive power and strength by starting from a bland diet and gradually moving towards a heavy diet. The patient need not be admitted anywhere to undergo this process.
This implies rejuvenating therapy. This process yields excellent results if followed after the five main procedures or pradhan karma. But if rejuvenation therapy or Rasayana is followed in an impure body that has not gone through the five main procedures, the effects are not fully experienced due to the presence of toxins in the body
Panchkarma is an integral part of Ayurveda as it provides various benefits like elimination of toxins, weight reduction, stress relief, and stronger immunity among many others.