• Panchakarma therapy is an alternative healing therapy primarily aims at cleaning the body of its accumulated impurities, toxins or stagnant Malas and nourishing the body tissues (Dhatus). Once this is achieved, it becomes very easy to rejuvenate all body Dhatus and prevent the process of premature ageing.

    Panchakarma Therapy of Ayurveda has enormous therapeutic potential. The standard procedures to be adopted for different Pancha Karma procedure, the medicaments to be used with their standard dosage, specific indications and contraindication and other relevant factors are to be standardized so that an uniform schedule of practice may be developed to be practised at all centres for obtaining uniform results.

    Contributions and Scope of Panchakarma Therapy

    Pancha Karma therapy is a potent system of medicine. As stated earlier five specialised techniques, collectively termed as “Pancha Karma” attack the very root cause of disease, cleanse all body microcirculatory channels, remove the vitiated Dosas from the body and produce long lasting beneficial effects. This therapy improves the body resistance (Immunity) and thereby checks the pathogenesis of the disease confirming its preventive effects also.

    The classical Panchakarma therapy consists of following category of procedures:

    Purva Karma (Pre Treatment) – It mainly consists of following procedures:

    • Pacana (Digestion)
    • Dpana (Assimilation)
    • Snehana (Herbal oil application – external, oral, rectal)
    • Svedana (Herbal diaphoretic Therapy -steam bath)

    Pradhana Karma (Main Treatment) – The Pradhana Karmas during Pancha Karma therapy consist of five purificatory procedures mainly, designed to eliminate vitiated Dosas, they are:

    • Vamana karma (Therapeutic Emesis)
    • Virecana Karma (Therapeutic Purgation)
    • Anuvasana Vasti (Therapeutic Oil based Enemata)
    • Asthapana Vasti (Therapeutic Decoction based Enemata)
    • Nasya Karma or Sirovirecana (Nasal Insufflations or Errhines)

    Pascata Karma (Post Treatment) – It includes Dhumra Pana (Herbal Smoke), Kawala Graha (Gargling), Gandusa, Sansarjana Krama (Diet), use of Samana Ausadhi (eradicate root cause with herbs) and Rasayna Ausadhi (Rejuvenating medicine).

    Beneficial Effects of Panchakarma Therapy

    Pancha Karma therapy removes the vitiated Dosas from the body and provides purification of body at two levels:

    • Gross Level – various organs and systems of the body are thoroughly cleansed e.g. C.V.S., G.I.T., Chest, etc.
    • Cellular level – Le Purification / cleansing of body is produced at the level of cells, cell membranes and molecules.

    Other beneficial effects of Panchakarma therapy include:

    • Biological systems of the whole body return to normalcy.
    • There is rejuvenation and revitalisation of all body tissues and Dhatus.
    • It potentiates the pharmacological actions of various drugs / medicines administered afterwards.
    • Waste products, unwanted materials, various toxins and stagnant Malas are removed from the body at various levels (cellular / tissue levels) leading to cleansing effect/purification of the body i.e. Srotosodhana is achieved.
    • Normal physiological functions of all the body systems are potentiated e.g. Gut absorption improves considerably and metabolism “is also corrected. As a result the drugs administered afterwards are highly effective even in small dosage which in turn reduces the chance of drug toxicity considerably.
    • There is a better ionic / molecular exchange through semi permeable membranes of the body.
    • The beneficial results produced after Panchakarma therapy is of long duration and long lasting.
    • The prognoses of various diseases which are difficult to treat with simple administration of medicines become significantly improved (Good prognosis) after administration of. Panchakarma therapy.
    • Panchakarma Therapy is not only a prerequisite for all the therapeutic procedures and medications but has also a full therapy role as a Promotive, Preventive, Curative and Rehabilitative procedures.
    • If properly performed, Panchakarma therapy does not produce any serious complications. If any minor complications are produced, they are easily manageable.
    • Specialised techniques of Panchakarma therapy are simple to perform.
    • Pancha Karma practices can be carried out at OPD or IPD level both.
    • There is no need to carry out all Panchakarma practices at stretch in one sitting. Specific techniques of Panchakarma (any of the Panchakarmas) can be recommended to the patient after proper preparation.
    • The vitiated Dosas are eliminated from the body mainly through the elementary canal.
    • After Panchakarma therapy diseases are cured and normal health is restored. The mental faculties, mind, intelligence and complexion of the patient improve after Pancha Karma therapy.

    Purva Karma (pre-treatment)

    Snehana Karma (Oleation Therapy)

    Snehana Karma is one of the main procedures of Piirva Karma. The literary meaning of snehana is to “Oleate” or to make smooth or to produce tenderness or oiliness or unctuousness.

    Thus literally the term Snehana means anointing, lubricating, rubbing or smearing with oil or producing unctuousness in the body.

    Definition of Snehana

    Any procedure or substance which produces lubrication in the body externally or internally is called Snehana. It is used as an independent therapeutic procedure as well as preparatory procedure for, Panca Karma therapy.)

    Snehana Karma involves making the body unctuous by administering oils, ghee or any other form of fat either internally or externally. Snehana produces unctuousness, fluidity, softness and moistness in the body. One of the significant properties of Sneha Dravya (unctuous substance) is that it binds the minutest cells of the body together and produces snigdhata (unctuousness) in the body.

    Abhayanga (External Massage)

    Abhayanga is defined as a procedure of’ anointing of oil/other Sneha Dravya over the body. Abhayanga or massage is used for relaxation as well as giving tone to the muscles, for promoting the blood circulation and for treating various disorders. It gives a glossy and soft appearance to the skin, protects against the vitiation and aggravation of Vata and Kapha Dosa. Abhayanga improves colour and strength of the body.

    Properties and benefits of Massage therapy

    Proper and regular practice of massage therapy produces following benefits in the body. Acharya Caraka has described that Vata is predominant in the tactile sensory organs which are located in the skin. Massage of the skin, if practiced regularly, is very useful and beneficial.

    Massage (Abhayanga)

    • Delays ageing process
    • Relieves exertion/tiredness/weakness due to. various physical activities
    • Relieves and controls vitiated Vata Dosa in the body
    • Improves eye sight / vision
    • Strengthens the body
    • Induces sound sleep
    • Improves the quality of skin, making it tender, delicate and strong
    • Protects the body from stress, exertion and diseases due to vitiated Vata Dosa
    • It tones up all body tissues, improves lustre and texture of the skin, skin becomes strong and attains a beautiful look

    Svedana Karma (Sudation/Fomentation Therapy)

    Svedana Karma is the next important Purva Karma of Panchakarma therapy. The production of Sveda (sweat) is the natural process of the body. It is also termed as Sudation therapy or Fomentation therapy. Sveda is one of the Malas described in Ayurveda. It is the specific Mala of Meda Dhatu. Although Malas are waste products for the body in general but at times these play useful important role in the body. Sweat is produced in consequence to exposure to heat. Heat regulating centre in the brain regulates the amount of heat produced or heat lost by the body. Under normal physiological circumstances there is a balance between the two. In Ayurvedic classics there is a unique concept of therapeutic production / induction of sweat by a variety of methods. This process of induction of heat in body is termed as Svedana.

    Definition of Svedana Karma

    Svedana Karma is defined as the process by which the sweat or perspiration is produced in the body by using various methods. Acarya Caraka has mentioned that Svedana is the procedure which relieves stiffness, heaviness and coldness of the body and induces sweating.