Panchakarma: Definition, Procedures, & Benefits!
Health is not all about not having any kind of disease; instead, it is a state where Dosha, Atma (soul), Indriya (sense organs), and Manas(mind) are all in normalcy. Ayurveda has stated three types of doshas - Vata, Pitta, & Kapha; those are responsible for the metabolic system, nervous system, and nutritive system. Also, these Doshas are responsible for normalcy in the human body. A disease may manifest as soon as there is a bit of disturbance in the Doshas. The main aim of Ayurveda is to maintain the balance between these Doshas. To do so there are several treatments and procedures such as Panchakarma, Ritucharya, Rasayana, and more.
What is Panchakarma? Panchakarma is the name that represents “Pancha” which means five and “Karma” which means procedures. It is a power pack of five detoxifying and rejuvenating therapies to achieve equilibrium between Doshas. In simple words, Panchakarma is a method of cleansing the body and lubricating it from all the unwanted waste. The treatment is unique and includes curative, promotive, and preventive procedures for various uncertainties. The five karmas required for cleansing, lubricating, detoxifying, and rejuvenating your body are:
- Vamana: This procedure is a must for those suffering from Kapha Dosha. In this treatment, a person is treated with oleation inside and outside including some ayurvedic medicines. Toxins in the body start melting and reach the upper cavities of the body till duodenum (end of stomach). After then the person is treated with a decoction that enables vomiting, in order to dispose of toxins from the body. Vamana may be beneficial for asthma, hyperacidity, weight gain, and other uncertainties associated with Kapha Dosha.
- Virechanam: This procedure is a must for those suffering from Pitta Dosha. The procedure is much similar to that of Vamana. Firstly, the person is treated with oleation and then treated with natural purgative (strong laxative). As a result, the melted toxins instead of moving to the upper cavities accumulate at the lower part of the body i.e. lower than the duodenum. Virechanam may help you with conditions such as jaundice, colitis, etc. by enhancing bowel movement too.
- Nasya: This procedure plays a vital role in balancing all three Doshas. At the initial stage of the overall procedure, one’s shoulder and head areas are given gentle massage. After that, both the nostrils are regulated with nasal drops. As an outcome, the whole respiratory tract is cleansed and your head area becomes free from pain, hair issues, neurological disorders, headaches, and much more. It is slightly more effective for people with Vata Dosha.
- Asthapana/Niruha/Basti: This procedure cleanses the area from the transverse colon (a segment of the large intestine) to the anus. It helps in combating Vata Dosha dominant diseases. Asthapana or Basti introduces a herbal concoction (injecting into the rectum) leading towards quick absorption and better digestion. Also relieving kidney stones, arthritis, piles, constipation, and more.
- Raktamokshan: The procedure is useful in treating ailments caused due to impurity in the blood. As the name states, “Rakta” means “blood” and “Mokshan” means “freedom” which means making your blood free from impurities. Raktamokshan is beneficial for fighting against diseases like tumors, skin disorders, ulcers, pigmentation, et cetera.
These five natural processes being referred to as Panchakarma is a natural way of detoxifying the body and maintaining the equilibrium of the Doshas. Still, a question persists, “How do I know when I may go through Panchakarma?”. Here is the list of symptoms that indicates the need for Panchakarma:
- Unclear mind
- Bad breath
- Tiredness and laziness throughout the day
- Food craving
- Unbalanced sleep cycle and food cycle
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and frequent fever
- Body pain
Additionally, the Ayurveda experts advise following Panchakarma at least once a year. This aims for the overall nourishment of your body, soul, health, and well-being. Proceeding further let's have a quick go-through about the major benefits of Panchakarma.
Major Benefits of Panchakarma
- Purifies the Body & Mind: One’s well-being relies upon the ability to carry out the processes of all parts of life. Especially, absorbing the essentials and disposing of the rest. In simple words, if we can’t digest our food, feelings, toxins, etc. causes an imbalance that eventually turns us sick. Panchakarma focuses on the purification of the body and mind by eliminating toxins and helping you in achieving better digestion. As the saying goes, “Healthy thoughts are sown by a healthy body”.
- Balances the Body: As discussed earlier, for a well-functioning body you need all the three Doshas - Vata, Pitta, & Kapha in an equilibrium. Panchakarma fine-tunes the balance between Doshas and maintains a balance between them. As a result, the increase in diseases or any kind of imbalance is prevented. Additionally, with the body’s balance your mind, consciousness, and digestion should be aligned. This enables you to build a good metabolism, strengthens your immune system, and assists you with several mental and physical issues.
- Foundation of Health & Well-being: The major factor behind the accumulation of toxins in the absorption of undigested food. It leads to blockage of blood vessels, arteries, and more. Panchakarma helps in balancing Pitta (Agni) that promotes healthy digestion, it keeps fat, cholesterol, constipation, heartburn, improper bowel movement, and more at bay. Furthermore, it helps in building healthy eating habits, improves sleep patterns, eliminates stress, helps in weight loss, et cetera. Thereby performing Panchakarma lays a foundation for overall health and well-being.
Panchakarma encompasses in total five karmas namely Vamana, Virechanam, Nasya, Asthapana/Niruha/Basti, and Raktamokshan. If you notice symptoms like bad breath, unclear mind, tiredness, and unbalanced food and sleep cycle then probably you may go through Panchakarma procedures. The procedures will help you in attaining the balance of body, lays a foundation for health and well-being, detoxifying and purifying the body and mind.