Panchakarma in Sanskrit means 'five actions' or 'five treatments' that includes the process of cleansing the body of toxins and rejuvenation of the body at a very deep level. Ayurveda highly recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal treatment for elimination of factors causing diseases and maintaining equilibrium of biological energies – Vata, Pita, and Kapha.
Panchakarma therapy is a highly complex and sophisticated science of purification of the body-mind channel systems. The detoxification process involves three main stages; a modified diet and lifestyle is to be followed throughout these three stages.
The Panchakarma therapy is preceded by the Purva Karma where the body is prepared for removal of toxins through dietary adjustments (Deepana and Paachana), pre-oleation and Abhyanga (oil massage), Abhyantara Snehana (Internal Oleation with oral intake of medicated or non-medicated ghee or oil), Bahya Snehana (external oleation through massages) and Sarvanga Swedana (therapeutic sweating through steam bath). This stage helps soften and oleate the channels and toxins, so that toxins can be eliminated more easily, thus increasing bodily metabolic fire or ‘Agni’.
This consists of the five main detoxifying actions - Vamana (therapeutic emesis), Virechana (therapeutic Purgation), Vasthi (medicated enema), Nasya (nasal administration of medication) and Rakthamoksha (bloodletting therapy). The practitioner will analyse and prescribe one or more of the 5 Panchakarma cleansing procedures depending on the current state of the ‘doshas’ and psychological preparedness of the individual.
Paschat Karma involves ‘after care’ procedures so as to get the full benefit of Panchakarma. It may include certain rejuvenating treatments known as Rasayana Therapy, lifestyle management, diet management and intake of herbal supplements.
Rasayana means restorative and rejuvenating measures that follow Panchakarma. During the rejuvenation phase, the digestive power is brought back to normalcy and medicines are administered to rejuvenate the body or to treat the disease.
Benefits of Panchakarma: