Panchakarma is the ancient system of Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapies designed to facilitate the removal of deep rooted stresses and impurities in the physiology. It is recommended on a seasonal basis to maintain and promote well being in healthy people, and when needed, to restore balance in those suffering from illness.
Our bodies are governed by their own unique rhythms and the rhythms of the environment such as weather patterns and seasonal changes. They also respond to what we put into them, and the situations and circumstances in which we live and work. Toxicity can come from our food, our relationships, our environment, even from our own thought patterns. Over time, possibly several years, unless we consciously work to lessen those experiences there is a buildup of toxicity at all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Panchakarma is the process by which we can purify and lessen the degenerating influences of those experiences and toxic materials. It has to be said though that receiving or
undergoing those therapies or treatments will be more successful and effective if consideration and thought is given to one’s life style generally. Our bodies have natural ways for removing toxins and Panchakarma treatments enhance their ability to do so. Some of the toxins accumulated in the body are water soluble and lot of weater intake is advisable to keep cells hydrated and provide the medium (water) for easy removal of water soluble toxins via kidneys (urine) and skin (perspiration). However, some toxins need an oil based medium to break them down to move to the gastrointestinal tract and the skin to be eliminated. Panchakarma works to provide this by using oils to suit a specific body type.
By removing those toxins it allows the body to come into balance thus encouraging the body’s own rejuvenating and healing ability to do the est.
Panchakarma therapies consist of a variety of soothing and nourishing procedures aimed at restoring balance and harmony in the body. Panchakarma means five actions. Traditionally, a few days of Panchakarma and Ayurvedic therapies are recommended at the change of every season. This helps to eliminate the accumulation of a specific dosha. Panchakarma is a purification therapy used in Ayurved. The word Panchakarma means five actions and refers to five procedures intended to intensively cleanse and restore balance in the body, mind, and
emotions. Panchakarma is used by Ayurvedic physicians as a treatment for a wide variety of health conditions and also as a preventative measure.
The Body Doshas
Doshas are three vital energies that we call body types. Each dosha is a combination of two of the five great elements:
Fire, Water, Earth, Space and Air. Everything according to Ayurveda is composed of these five great elements. They are everywhere and all things. They are constantly changing and interacting. A change in one of the elements affects all the others.
The three doshas (body types) are:
- Vata – governed by space and air;
- Pitta – governed by fire and water;
- Kapha – governed by water and earth.
Vata is the principle of movement. Pitta is the principle of transformation. Kapha the principle of structure, cohesion and lubrication. For more information on the Doshas and basic information on Ayurveda we recommend The Wisdom of Healing by David Simon, Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, and The Book of Ayurveda by Judith Morrison. In order that the five actions are performed correctly it is vital that a
qualified Ayurvedic doctor gives the treatment. “An inexperienced professional can do more harm than good.”
Poorva Karma, preparatory procedures, is designed to prepare the body for elimination of imbalances. It is in two parts:
Snehana or oleation and Swedna or heat treatment, which is also used as an Ayurvedic massage treatment. Ayurveda says pure herbalised oils are able to permeate the cells and tissues and encourage the release of accumulated toxins. There are many different herbal oil blends used for Poorva Karma. It is an art and science both in itself to be able to prepare and apply them for individual needs. Another good reason for a
qualified Ayurvedic doctor to perform the treatment!
Carefully controlled vomiting! It is traditionally used to clear impurities in the stomach and excess in Kapha doshas, such as asthma, bronchitis, sinus congestion. The stomach is a major site for Kapha in the physiology and cleansing of this area reduces ama (toxins).
This means purgation–using laxatives to clear out impurities from the small intestine, a major site for Pitta and, therefore, an effective treatment for removing ama that is associated with Pitta accumulation. It is not recommended that laxatives are taken on a regular basis as they can create laziness in elimination.
The administration of herbalised enemas to cleanse and establish the correct function of the large intestines is ideal for excesses of Vata associated ama. Basti is different from enemas and purgation in that it does not deplete the system of digestive juices and can be used to nourish the system as well as purify it. Basti preserves the body’s vitality and prevents an imbalance (a Vata aggravation).
More in the article: Nasya, Abhyanga Massage, Rakta Mokshana, Vishesh Massage, Shirodhara, Swedana, Pizzichilli, Shiro-Abhyanga-Nasya, Herbal Dusting, Marma Therapy with Benefits, Precautions & Side effects.