Panchakarma is the ancient system of Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Therapies
Panchakarma therapy 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 water 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 rest. 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 the 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. Basti 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). Due to emptiness in the organs care should be taken while eating – small meals of solid food before a Basti and light meals of hot substances such as Moong Daal soup after the procedure. Again Basti given to someone without proper preparation can aggravate the doshas and fail to eliminate ama from the patient, and sometimes cause pain and weakness.
Application of herbalised substances through the nasal passages!! This helps to clear impurities from the head. To begin with; vigorous head/neck massage followed by introducing herbalised oil gently to each nostril. This helps in chronic sinus congestion and rhinitis. Conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and headaches can also be relieved by the appropriate application of a Nasya.
Blood cleansing therapy! Historically this has involved the removal of small quantities of blood. Now the principles of this purification procedure are used in natural herbal formulas. According to Ayurveda, bloodletting can be done to all parts of the body according to our needs. However, Rakta is rarely used now in the West.
This is a unique herbalised warm oil massage that covers the entire body—from head to toe. It is administered by two therapists in synchronicity. The Abhyanga is a process of complete oleation. Oil is systematically worked over the body and into the skin so that it is absorbed through the pores of the skin. The oil works its way in to the cells of the body by loosening toxins and thus purifying. The oils are prepared individually with herbs to enhance their therapeutic effects. These oils promote secretions, penetration to the deepest levels, which encourages:
- The tissues to loosen accumulated toxins.
- Toxins to move to the gastrointestinal tract and surface up (through the skin) to be eliminated.
- Locomotion of obstructions in the energy channels and tissues.
- Lubrication and protection of tissues during this process.
- Nourishment and relaxation that enhances healing.
This is similar to Abhyanga providing complete oleation as before. In Vishesh the strokes of the massage are firmer, deeper and heavier so that tension is relieved and the oils can penetrate the tissues more easily.
In this treatment soothing warm oil is poured in a gentle stream on to the forehead. This is profoundly relaxing as it
works to calm and pacify the central nervous system, stilling the mind and senses. This allows stress to be relaxed and enhance natural healing. Duration of the treatment is about 20 minutes, and it can bring clarity of mind and comprehension.
This is herbalised steam therapy. The heat of the steam helps to relieve tension and allows toxins that have been loosened beneath the skin to be “sweated out”.
This is a luxurious treatment in which two therapists pour warm herbalised oils over the body while performing a gently soothing massage. This treatment is profoundly relaxing and deeply purifying.
This is a thorough head, face and neck massage followed by herbalised steam to face, heat packs and herbal drops to nasal passages to clear congestion and improves mental clarity. Oiling the nasal passages helps to promote secretions that remove toxins, provide nourishment to tissues and also has a soothing and calming effect.
This uses specific herbs being rubbed into the body after any Abhyanga or Vishesh. These are left on the body for 15-20 minutes, finally removed using hot towel wraps.
This uses essential oils and light massage over specific points (marmas) on the body. This promotes balance at
more subtle levels of mind and body. Massage has been a central pillar to many healing systems like Ayurveda and
Chinese medicine, as well as many European and indigenous cultures. Receiving therapeutic massage regularly can
help improve your overall health and your state of mind. Massage therapy is well known for having both physiological and psychological benefits.
We at PDI offer a variety of styles of Massage and Bodywork:
- Swedish Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Neuromuscular Release
- Sports and Specific Injury Massage
- Ayurvedic Hot Stone Massage (Shila Abhyanga)
- Ayurvedic Warm Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
- Ayurvedic Polarity Therapy
- Marma Massage (Invigorating and Energizing)
- Ayurveda Energy Point Therapy: Ayurvedic Acupressure(Marma Chikitsa)
- Nadi Swedana (Localized Steam for Pain Relief )
- Myofascial Release
- Prana Therapy: Ayurvedic Energy Work
- Thai Massage (aka Thai Yoga Massage)
Benefits of Ayurvedic Panchakarma
Panchakarma is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat almost all diseases, particularly those that are chronic, metabolic or stress-related in origin. Panchakarma has been used to treat allergies, asthma , arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, digestive disorders, heart disease, hypertension, immune problems, infections, inflammation, insomnia, nervous disorders, obesity, skin problems, and ulcers. Panchakarma may be used alongside intensive conventional treatments including chemotherapy and surgery, to support healing and recovery.
Panchakarma is safe and non-toxic, and can be used as prevention and to increase general well-being. Panchakarma
is limited in treating traumatic injuries, acute pain, and conditions requiring immediate surgery or invasive procedures.
Precautions for Panchakarma
Certain Panchakarma methods are not appropriate for specific health problems, and some should not be performed
on children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Panchakarma treatments should only be administered by
qualified and experienced practitioners.
Side effects of Panchakarma
During Panchakarma fatigue, malaise, headaches, congestion, general illness, and an increase in symptoms may occur as side effects. Also because Panchakarma seeks to release stored emotional problems from the patient, some people can experience mental disturbances and depression during treatment.
Auther:- Dr. Sanjeev Sood