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Panchkarma And Its Benefits

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Dr Ashwini V Konnur
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Panchkarma And Its Benefits

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Ayurveda has its roots in the Indian subcontinent, and over a period of time, Ayurvedic therapies and practices have earned global fame and recognition. Ayurveda is born as the study of life, across all its aspects; not mutually exclusive to healing the ailments of the body.

Ayurvedic doctors believe that physical existence, mental existence, and the personality influences each other. However, given the vastness of the topic, we will focus on understanding Ayurveda in the context of preventive and predictive treatment within the subsect of panchakarma.

One of Ayurveda’s most relevant detoxification treatment, panchakarma, involves 5 therapies which help eliminate toxins from the body while balancing the tri-doshas in our body.

These 5 therapies include:
  1. Vamana (medically-assisted vomiting)
  2. Virechana (medically-assisted purgation)
  3. Nasya (installation of medicated nasal drops)
  4. Basti (medically-assisted enema)
  5. Rakta moskshana (bloodletting, offered only at some centres)
However, panchakarma treatment is preceded by purvakarma. It facilitates pre-purification. The idea is to prepare the body for panchakarma. The therapist prepares the body in a prescribed way, to encourage it to let go of the toxins in this process. The two procedures used are snehana and swedana. Snehana is administered orally every day for a period of 3-7 days in the form of medicated ghee (clarified butter) or oil. Massage that assists the medicines to permeate the skin is a popular method used in snehana. Swedana is done after snehana. It involves sudation or induced-sweating with steam emerging from herbal decoctions. Sitting under the sun is also swedana and so is sitting in a controlled environment.
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At any given point of time, a therapist must monitor the body’s reaction to purvakarma and keep a tab on the vital stats. Once the therapist is convinced that the body is ready for panchakarma treatment, the treatment begins.

Panchakarma follows 5 basic cleansing techniques:
  1. Vamanam (Therapeutic emesis): It involves induced vomiting which helps to clear the upper gastro till the duodenum (end of stomach). It also clears parts of the respiratory tract.
  2. Virechanam (Purgation): It involves induced purgation that clears the lower gastro from the duodenum (end of stomach) till the exit.
  3. Anuvasana (Enema using medicated oil): Oil enema helps lubricate the rectal area and take out all the lipid soluble waste through the anus.
  4. Nasyam (Application through the nose): It involves nasal instillation of medicated substances to help clear the respiratory tract and paranasal sinuses.
  5. Raktamokshana (Removal of vitiated blood): It is advised only in extremely rare conditions. It is a localised treatment with not more than 10 ml-40 ml of blood removed at a time. It is helpful in the recovery from toxaemia, which is the basic cause of repeated infections, skin diseases, hypertension, deep venous thrombosis, and certain other circulatory conditions.
Who needs panchakarma and why?

Panchakarma helps to restore our natural health by eliminating body toxins by focussing on drawing the ama or toxins, from deep within the tissues that get accumulated over a period of time due to stress, poor diet, and the effects of modern living. A panchakarma program acts as a reset button allowing our natural state of health to flourish. It is recommended not only when the health is ailing but also as a prescription to keep the body healthy and functional.

Panchakarma treatment

Here are 5 signs that indicate if you need an Ayurvedic panchakarma detoxification:
  1. You are prone to fatigue
Body’s lethargy can be linked to digestive ailments and emotional state of being. Panchakarma can help de-stress the body. It also helps to get rid of fatigue and cure digestive problems. Panchakarma has profound emotional, physical, and psychological effects, increasing mental and physical efficiency and balancing the nervous system.

2. You can’t concentrate due to anxiety

Your mind and body are connected to one another. A negative effect on one is bound to affect the other. Panchakarma provides deep relaxation, as well as introspection, removal of accumulated toxins, and negative thoughts, and fills your mind, body, and spirit with renewed, positive energy.

3. You have a weak digestive system

You do not eliminate regularly, and you’re constantly constipated. This indicates that the bodily doshas are not in a state of balance. It is important to eliminate stools at least once in a day. Panchakarma helps in restoring the tri-dosha, resulting into an effective digestive system.

4. You’re suffering from usual skin diseases

According to Ayurveda, whatever is happening inside your body will also be reflected outside, on your skin. It has been proven that panchakarma can offer long-term relief from common skin ailments, including acne and rashes by detoxifying you internally and externally.

5. You’re allergic to specific food items

You can be allergic to specific types of food or suffer from lactose intolerance. This indicates a weakened agni and doshic imbalance within the body. Panchakarma can bring back the agni, providing a permanent solution to the ailment and strengthening the body.

The benefits of panchakarma are:
  • Helps restore the metabolic fire (agni) within the body to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Eliminates ama (toxins) by flushing the system.
  • Strengthens the tissue function of the body by improving strength, endurance, and vitality.
  • Maintains the tri-dosha equilibrium, thus increasing immunity levels.
  • Helps reduce stress and relaxes mind and body.
  • Proves to be anti-ageing by eliminating free radicals.
benefits of Panchakarma treatment
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As I mentioned earlier, panchakarma therapy is both preventive and curative. It is equally beneficial for both healthy and diseased body. It is a complex and sophisticated science of purification of the body and mind channel systems; therefore, it must be supervised and performed by an Ayurvedic physician.

Panchakarma demands a strict diet and lifestyle to be followed during the various stages of treatment. One must strictly adhere to the physician’s diet and lifestyle plan.

It is to be noted that Ayurveda in its entirety is not just restricted to disease-management, but is much more about lifestyle-management. Ayurveda literally means the knowledge of life in all its planes and phases. Ayurveda is therefore, life in itself!

Dr Ashwini Kothnur is an Ayurvedic consultant at AyurUniverse.

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Dr Ashwini V Konnur

Dr Ashwini V Konnur

Ayurveda physician by profession, having an experience of 12 years I treat my patients holistically and advise them diet and lifestyle changes. I love and enjoy writing health articles. I have written number of articles on Ayurveda and Yoga.
Dr Ashwini V Konnur

Dr Ashwini V Konnur

Ayurveda physician by profession, having an experience of 12 years I treat my patients holistically and advise them diet and lifestyle changes. I love and enjoy writing health articles. I have written number of articles on Ayurveda and Yoga.

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