Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu medicinal system for holistic healing. Ayurveda uses various techniques for healing physical, mental and emotional diseases such as poly formulations, Yoga and Panchakarma. Ayurvedic medicine or formulations comprises of herbs, herbal extracts, metal, and animal parts. Ayurvedic medicines are categorized into
Kastha: Literally wood, kastha refers to botanicals
Rasayan: Literally chemicals, rasayan refers to extracts of herbs and animal parts
Bhasma: Literally ash, bhasma is the ash from metals or animal parts
Ayurveda also recommends Yoga for healing psychologically, physiologically and emotionally. Yoga comprises of various body postures and breathing exercises.
The third and very interesting healing method in Ayurveda is Panchakarma. Panchakarma is 5 techniques for detoxification, hormonal balance, and strengthening bodily systems. In this article, we will take a look on what exactly is Panchakarma, how Panchakarma is done, when should you go for Panchakarma, and what are the benefits of Panchakarma.
What is Panchakarma
Panchakarma is 5 Ayurvedic treatment methods that primarily aim to release toxins from the human body. Food you eat, lifestyle you practice, air you breathe contributes to build up of toxins inside different parts of the body. These toxins contribute to various dosha in the human body. Dosha, according to ayurveda is physical, mental or emotional conditions in the body. In Ayurveda, you will be recommended to consume various formulations detoxify the body, neutralize or balance these doshas, and practice Panchakarma or Yoga. For example, if acidity builds up in your body, you will either be recommended to take herbal formulations to balance or neutralize acidity, or eliminate the excess acidic compounds from the body. The second method of correcting dosha is called Panchakarma. Panchakarma is a technique to eliminate various doshas from the body through 5 different methods. For example, if you have acidity, it will be eliminated from your body through Virachen process (oral administration of substances); if cough builds up, it will be eliminated through vomiting, if you have problems in the head, the doshas in the head will be released from your nose (nose is considered the doors to the head in Ayurveda) by administering various formulations through your nose, or through head massage.
Panchakarma is very effective technique because instead of suppression of various diseases, it tries to eliminate diseases. Unlike herbal medicines of Auyrveda which takes a lot of time to work, Panchakarma works too soon. In simple term, Panchakarma is body servicing system. Just like you take your car to the garage for servicing, Panchakarma performs your body servicing.
The physiological process of the body not only builds you muscles, blood, bones etc., it also builds up by products and toxins. Excretory system and urinary systems release waste products from the body, but the only waste products do not always get released from excretory system and urinary systems. For example, you might experience constipation or you might be less perspiring, thus toxins do not get release from sweat. Foods you eat contain toxins, air you breathe contain toxins, water you drink might contain harmful agents, juice you drink contain harmful chemicals. When toxins and harmful chemicals continue to build inside the body and cannot pass through stool, urine, or sweat, you will start experiencing various health complications.
How is Panchakarma Done?
Panchakarma is preventive method as well as curative method. Panchakarma involves three steps: preparatory step, main step and conclusive step.
Preparatory step: Preparatory step is a method to prepare your body for the Panchakarma techniques. Preparatory steps include shirodhara (pouring herbal oil from the head), full body massage, oil bath and other similar techniques aimed at relaxing your mind and body. Massage is the important part of the preparatory step of Panchakarma. Whole body massage or massage on specific parts of the body is done though various things like oils, herbs, milk etc. As a preparatory step, you are also suggested to eat certain foods and avoid certain foods.
Main step: Panchakarma consists of 5 cleansing techniques viz. Vamana (vomiting), virachena (oral administration of various substances), vasti (administration of medicated anima), raktha mokshya (blood cleansing), and nasty (nasal administration of substances). The primary motive behind these 5 techniques is to balance Vata, Pitta and kapha dosha in the body. According to Ayurveda, you become sick when you have vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha. Vata is related to ether and air element, Pitta is related to fire and water element, and kapha is related to water and earth element. Vata accumulates in colon, Pitta in small intestine, kapha accumulates in stomach. When these systems accumulates it enter into various systems in the body. Thus, Panchakarma tries to balance earth, water, air, fire and ether element in the body. Panchakarma is a method to bring dosha from various systems back to the abdominal region so that they can be eliminated through swear, stool, urine etc.
Conclusive step: Conclusive step involves dietary and lifestyle modification
Who can go for Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is basically aimed at the people suffering from various chronic conditions or ailments. However, Panchakarma can also benefit the people who otherwise look completely healthy. Even in healthy people, toxins and harmful chemicals are continue to building up. These people have not yet experienced any health complications, but sooner or later, they will surely have health issues as these toxins are not completely eliminated. Therefore, Panchakarma can benefit all people including those who do not have any visible health complications. Whenever you have health complication you can go for Panchakarma, however, even when you do not have any visible complications, it is recommended that you go for Panchakarma twice a year. Ayurveda suggest Panchakarma in spring (you might have heard the term spring cleaning) and autumn.
Benefits of Panchakarma
Do you have joins pain, back pain, neck pain, migraine, psoriasis insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive disorders? Panchakarma can cure almost everything. Whether you have chronic diseases or common ailments, you can benefit from Panchakarma. Panchakarma cleanses your body completely. Panchakarma helps you deep cleansing your internal as well as external body. For example, your internal organs are cleansed through excretion or vomiting. Panchakarma activates fire element in your body thus helping you in digestion, circulatory system, and nervous system. Panchakarma rejuvenates your internal organs by eliminating toxins and by products from your body. Panchakarma slows down your aging by improving your immunity and mental strenght.