What is Panchakarma?
‘Panch’ is five and ‘Karma’ means actions. Ayurveda has given a set of five actions or procedures for eliminating the vitiated doshas/abnormal toxins out of the body. These five procedures are together called ‘Panchakarma’. In modern day, you would call it as ‘Detoxification’. The five-fold Panchakarma therapy includes:
- Vaman (Emesis/Vomiting)
- Virechan (Purgation/Defecation)
- Basti (Enema)
- Nasya (Nasal drops)
- Raktamokshan (Blood-letting)
**You might have a hard time pronouncing these names but as we know the harder, the better**
Shirodhara, Netra Tarpan, Karnadhoopan and many other Ayurvedic procedures are well known amongst the audience but they are not Panchakarma types. We will learn more about them in the subsequent posts.
What is exactly done in Panchakarma therapy?
(1) Vaman– On a good early morning, you go to the Panchakarma centre, medicinal decoctions are given to you to induce vomiting. And all this ends in just an hour or two!
(2) Virechan– Again, on a fresh morning, your doctor will give you medicines which will take all your toxins out via loose motions.
(3) Basti- In known terms, it is medicated Enema. For those who still didn’t understand, a small soft rubber tube is inserted into your anus and a medicated oil/decoction is passed into your intestines!
**This might sound something from another world but you yourself will want to take it repeatedly once you experience its immediate benefits** The procedure of Basti may sound painful to you but it is 100% painless.
(4) Nasya– Medicated drops are put into your nostrils as Ayurveda believes the nostrils to be the door to the brain.
(5) Raktamokshan– Impure blood is let out of the body. There are 6 methods to do this. Commonly practiced are the ones with Jalouka (small, cute, hungry leeches relish on your blood!!), venous puncture and cupping.
**You might imagine it to be awful but what is profitable to you-
One hour of displeasure giving you 365+ days of good health OR A whole life of ill health?
Sort your priorities soon**
Are there any pre and post procedures for Panchakarma treatment?
1. Before going to Vaman, there is a 3/5/7 days pre-procedure which called Snehan (External-oil massage and Internal- ghee consumption) and Swedan (taking Steam). This would take just one hour each day, that are just 7 hours of a week.
After this pre-procedure, there comes a rest day followed by the day of actual Vaman.
After Vaman, there is a post procedure which involves a strict diet for 3 to 7 days. These pre and post procedures are equally important as the main procedure in order to experience the benefits of Panchakarma, so never ignore them.
2. The pre and post procedures of Virechan are same as that of Vaman.
3. Basti may or may not require this depending on its type.
4. Nasya requires facial oil massage and steam locally.
5. Raktamokshan does not require this entirely.
The whole experience of Panchakarma treatment is pleasurable and you feel as if your body has got a new life.
Do we need to take all these five types of Panchakarma therapy?
NO! It depends on which dosh has vitiated in your body. Your Ayurveda doctor would do your complete examination including symptoms, food habits, sleeping habits, body type and so on. Then, he would decide the appropriate Panchakarma treatment procedure for you amongst these. Sometimes, you may need only one of the five Panchakarma therapies, sometimes 2 or maybe 3.
What are the Panchakarma benefits?
1. It uproots a disease right from the root. Sometimes it happens that medicines alone cannot do the work because the disease is embedded inside your body. Destroying it right from the root is needed and Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment can do it.
2. It cleanses your body; you get rid off the stale you have been carrying all these years. You bath everyday to clean your body from outside; but what about your body internally? It needs cleansing too and Panchakarma chikitsa does this for you.
3. It rejuvenates your mind and body so much that you feel to have reborn.
4. Your vigor to do the same work increases fivefold. Your lethargy just vanishes and you are charged up with a different level of energy.
5. Do you frequently get angry, depressed, have mood swings? What is Panchakarma treatment going to do in this case? It gives you a sound mind which strengthens your work and personal relations.
You find it magical on reaping the effects of Panchakarma and seeing your body, mind and soul transformation.
Who can take Panchakarma treatment?
Those who have Arthritis, Acidity, Diabetes, Obesity, Infertility, Thyroid, Indigestion, Constipation, Headache, Psoriasis, other skin diseases, PCOD, Graying of hair, Allergic Rhinitis, Insomnia . . . (and the long list of other symptoms). Does Panchakarma really work in these cases? YES!
Even the healthiest can take Panchakarma therapy session to retain their fitness.
Who cannot take Panchakarma chikitsa?
Pregnant women, patients suffering from TB or similar conditions with low immunity, who cannot withstand these procedures, girls during their menstruation days are contraindicated from taking Panchakarma therapy.
What is Panchakarma treatment cost?
It differs according to the area of residence.
Vaman– The cost approximately starts from Rs. 10,000-12,000 for the entire procedure of Vaman.
Virechan– same as that of Vaman.
Basti– there are many different types of Basti and the number of days it needs to be taken is different for each patient; the cost may be around Rs. 200-1500 for one seating of Basti;
Nasya– may start from Rs. 100-200 for one single seating of Nasya;
Raktamokshan– Rs. 300-500 for one single seating of Raktamokshan. This increases with the number of Jaloukas (leeches).
Note that this Panchakarma treatment cost is very much general and can differ widely owing to the differences in economy in the different states of India and the world.
It is worth this much money? Yes, it definitely does owing to all the hard work it does for you.
Is Panchakarma really effective?
Panchakarma in Ayurveda is a boon to humanity. After all, who would have devised a system of cleaning the body from inside without even opening it? Now we now the secret to why the people lived long and healthy in the historic times!
You experience a drastic change in your health and the path of your disease. Importance of Panchakarma treatment is such that sometimes the medicine won’t act unless you undergo the needed Panchakarma.
It is important that you yourself undergo Panchakarma therapy session atleast once to know the Panchakarma benefits.
How does Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment do all this?
The principle that lies here is-
With the pre-procedure of Snehan and Swedan, the toxins which have been stuck to the channels inside your body since years, get released.
They then come to the Koshtha (centre) and get accumulated there.
Then on the main day, the medicine goes to the Koshtha and brings out everything that has been accumulated.
If it is a Vaman medicine, the action would be upwards through Vomiting.
For Virechan, the medicines would work in the downward direction via loose motions.
Basti pulls out the Vata, that is the air that has accumulated in the intestines and the lower body.
Nasya, as already said is the doorway to the brain and the surrounding areas.
With Raktamokshan, the impure blood is let out.
Panchakarma is an amazing procedure among the many boons Ayurveda has given to us. We ought to make the maximum use of this blessing. The realization of its powers, fulfilling the basic requirements Ayurveda and Panchakarma demands from you, being punctual to this therapy is going to take you a long way in checking off your health goals. The least you can give to your body and mind is time and thought. They have been working tirelessly throughout. It is time to repair and lubricate.