Panchakarma Is Not A Massage Package!!
Wherever you see the word Panchakarma anywhere, you will definitely come across the words detox, massages, cleansing or rejuvenation and the following questions will surely be running in your mind.
What exactly is Panchakarma?
What actually happens inside the body during Panchakarma?
Who can undergo Panchakarma?
How long does it take to conduct Panchakarma?
Can a healthy person undergo Panchakarma?
Before answering all these questions, you must understand that Panchakarma is not merely a massage package. Massage is only a teeny part of Panchakarma. In fact, a few Panchakarmas doesn’t need massages at all.
The body perceived in Ayurveda is totally different from the body explained by today’s modern medical science. So, it is nearly impossible to explain the action of Panchakarma in terms of modern science.
Our body consists of an innumerable number of channels, most of which cannot be perceived with the naked eye and not even with the electron microscope. These channels subtly connect all the organs in the body, making them function in harmony. The three notorious Doshas(toxins) – Vata, Pitta, Kapha – will tend to disturb the harmony in these channels, preventing them from doing their normal function. The magnitude of this disturbance from these doshas will increase with wrong diet, lifestyle, age, stress, external factors like pollution and so on. Needless to say, the doshas will calm down with healthy food and a disciplined lifestyle. If the channels are affected by the toxins, beyond its threshold, it leads to some of the other diseases in the body or the mind.
Panchakarma is the best method to flush and clean the toxins infused in these channels. Panchakarmas are five in number and all five Panchakarmas are not needed every time. Most of the diseases can be completely cured with one or maximum two Panchakarmas. The five Panchakarmas are:
5.Anuvasana Vasti / Rakta Mokshana
Q: What exactly is Panchakarma?
A: Yes, your guess is right. It is Pancha + Karma. It is the five therapeutic procedures explained in all classical Ayurvedic texts to uproot the disease completely. The uniqueness of Panchakarma is the non-recurrence of the disease if the post Panchakarma phase is properly maintained.
Q: What actually happens inside the body during Panchakarma?
A: Each karma is conducted separately one after the other. The five karmas are explained depending upon where the disease is manifested in the body. The wise doctor chooses which Panchakarma to conduct, after a thorough examination of the patient.
Panchakarma can further be generally grouped into two parts:
Panchakarma with Snehapaanam:
After the proper appetite is attained, Snehapaanam is initiated. This is the first and common phase for Vamana and Virechana. As the word suggests, Snehapaanam means simply, ”drinking fat.” Fat can be either ghee, oil, muscle fat or bone marrow (last two only for non-vegetarians). The fat is usually medicated with herbal kashayams. The quantity of fat will increase successively, depending upon the appetite of the patient. It can be conducted for a maximum of seven days before the patient gets into the next phase. After Snehapaanam, full body massage is done for either two or three days.
1. Vamanam: After the massage is over, the Vamana procedure will begin, where the patient will be induced vomiting therapeutically under strict medical supervision. Generally, diseases related to Kapha, upper body and skin are treated with Vamana.
2. Virechana: After the massage is over, the patient is made to take bath and the medicine, which is carefully chosen by the doctor, will be given to the patient. The patient is under the supervision of the doctor until the purgation treatment is completely over. Generally, diseases related to Pitta, skin, eyes, GIT, obesity, etc., are treated with Virechana.
Panchakarma without Snehapaanam:
The approach for the body detox without Snehapaanam is entirely different from the former.
3. Nasyam: The process of eliminating doshas and toxins through the nostrils is called Nasyam. Doctors usually conduct Nasyam to evacuate toxins from the head and neck. Epilepsy, brain stroke, rhinitis, sinusitis, headaches, insomnia, dementia, hair fall, all ENT disorders, etc., can be very well managed through Nasyam.
4. Vasti: Vasti is a special Panchakarma. Many Vaidyas opined that Vasti is Ardha Chikitsa. Which means it is equivalent to half the treatment done to the patient or rather the treatment is complete only with the course of Vasti. Vasti is done with oil/ghee and kashayam alternatively. The doctor will choose the duration depending upon many factors.
5. Rakta Mokshanam: Rakta Mokshanam is blood-letting. Sushruthaacharya has dealt with Rakta Mokshanam exclusively. He has held the treatment so high, that he considered it as one among the Panchakarmas. Various methods are adapted to carry out the blood-letting procedure. Some of which are leech therapy, venous puncture, etc.
Q: Who can undergo Panchakarma?
A: Anyone with chronic diseases is very much eligible for Panchakarma. Usually, Panchakarma is not advised for children, aged and pregnant women. But, in some cases, a few set of Panchakarma are done on even children and aged. Vasti is the only Panchakarma prescribed for pregnant women. It is tremendously helpful for them in their eighth month for an easier delivery, good lactation and a healthy offspring.
Q: How long does it take to conduct Panchakarma?
A: Panchakarma is widely practised across the globe.Each doctor has a different style of practising Panchakarma. However, the general duration is:
Q: Can a healthy person undergo Panchakarma?
A: Yes, indeed a healthy person has to undergo Panchakarma as a preventive measure.