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Panchakarma ("five actions") is the word for the five different procedures used in Ayurveda which are believed to purify the body. 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. So Panchakarma means five types of actions or techniques or treatment. These types of therapeutics are based on elimination therapy.

In order to stay healthy and fit one should carry out Panchakarma methods as a way of cleansing and servicing the body. The greatest benefit of this system is preventing possible serious illness due to 'Srothas Avarodha' obstruction of channels or duccts. The five therapies are

  • Nasya
  • Vamana
  • Virechana
  • Vasti
  • Raktamokshana
Panchakarma is always performed in three stages;
  • Purva Karma (pre-treatment)
  • Pradhana Karma (primary treatment)
  • Paschat Karma (post-treatment).

The patient who opts for any one of the five therapies must invariably undergo all three stages.

Pre-treatment consists of oil therapy, massage and fomentation therapy. Primary treatment is main part of the Panchakarma. This is the panchakarma itself: Nasya (nasal therapy), Vamana ( emesis or vomiting), Virechana (purging) and two kinds of Vasti (therapeutic enema), Nirooha Vasti and Sneha Vasti. Herbal decoctions are used for Nirooha Vasti and herbal oils for Sneha Vasti.

Vamana Karma (Vomiting) - Vamana Karma is used for Kapha disorders like Bronchitis, Cold, Cough, Asthma, Sinus, & Excess mucus. One to three days prior to Vamana Karma, the persons body should be oilated both internally and externally. Externally through the Abhyanga(Ayurvedic massage) and internally taking Ghee (clarified butter) in his or her diet. The person should also eat a kaphagenic diet to aggravate Kapha in the system. It is always recommended that during this major action, one should stay only on the Khichadi recipe.Contra-Indication for Vamana Karma Vamana Karma is contra-indicated before teenage and after 60. Heart disease, Hypertensive, Hypoglycemia, all Vata disorder and person with Vata Prakriti.

Virechana Karma (Therapeutic Purgation) - Virechana Karma is used for pitta disorders like Skin disorders, Acidity, Heart burn, Peptic ulcer, Jaundice, Intestinal parasites. . Virechana is induced by administering herbal purgatives given orally which passes through whole gut and eliminate excessive pitta.

Contra-Indication for Virechana Karma -- Childhood and old age, Ulcerative colitis, Diarrehoea, Dehydration, Debility and weakness, bleeding from rectum, Acute fever or any acute condition. Basti Karma(Enema) – Basti karma is used for Vata disorder like Chronic Constipation, bloated stomach, gases, malnourished people, sexual disorders, constipation, backache, Spinal pain. Basti Karma is one of the important procedures of Panchakarma. The procedure emphasizes on loosened Vata dosha removal out of the body through the rectum. Medicated oil or decoction is administered through the anus to pacify the aggravated air.

Contra-Indication for Basti Karma – Hemorrhoids, bleeding piles, fistula-in-ano, diarrhea, any acute condition. Depending on the body type, basti Karma can be two type - Nirooha Vasti in which herbal decoction is used. Anuvasan Basti in which herbal oil is used in Enema.

Post treatmant: Dietary regimens restricted bodily exertion and the intake of herbs believed to promote health come under the Paschat Karma (post-treatment). Paschatkarma is administering required food for the body after the purification of the body, to intensify the agni (digestion power) which will subside after Panchakarma. During the treatments, food is given according to the degree of purification intended for the body