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Panchakarma is an excellent treatment for detoxifying the body, rejuvenation, and strengthening the immune system and restoring balance and well-being. It is among the most effective healing methods in Ayurvedic Medicine.

What is Panchakarma?

Panchakarma is an excellent treatment for detoxifying the body, rejuvenation, and strengthening the immune system and restoring balance and well-being. It is among the most effective healing methods in Ayurvedic Medicine. It is recommended to be done seasonally, or when an individual feels out of balance or is experiencing illness.


Panchakarma Rejuvenating Detoxification therapy

Panchakarma in Sanskrit means "five remedies." This treatment is a process used to wash the body of toxic substances from disease, unhealthy nutrition habits, and environmental toxins. Usually, the body can effectively process and remove these waste substances, such as the vitiated doshas. However, because of one's repeated dietary bad habits, poor exercise habits, lifestyle, and genetic predisposition, metabolic co-factors, hormones, digestive enzymes, and Agnis that regulate the body's internal homeostasis become disorganized. This malfunction may cause the accumulation and spread of toxins throughout the structure resulting in many diseases. This waste matter is known as Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a sticky, foul-smelling, harmful substance that has to be completely evacuated from the body.

Watch: Detox Yourself With Panchakarma

See: Ayurvedic herbs for detoxification

Why do I need Panchakarma?

Panchakarma removes excess doshas to correct imbalances in them as well as eliminate the harmful Ama from your system through the body's organs and elimination channels (colon, sweat glands, lungs, bladder, urinary tract, stomach, and intestines). Panchakarma purifies the cells at every level.

It is a relaxing experience tailored to individual needs and may involve:

- Daily warm oil massage (abhyanga)

- Herbal steam therapy (swedana)

- Lymphatic massage

- Herbal enemas (Basti)

- Nasal administrations (Nasya)

- Other specific treatments (see remedies in detailed treatments below)

Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal remedy for maintaining mental and physical hygiene and equilibrium.

Panchakarma is a five-step therapy; it is highly personalized based on the needs of the individual depending on the Ayurvedic constitutional kind, doshic imbalances, age, digestive strength, immune status, and many other factors. Depending on each person's needs, all or just parts of the five treatments are utilized. Specially trained therapists must administer these processes in a specific sequence for a specified time period. There may be periods of discomfort related to the profound release of toxins, which does occur. It's therefore essential that a knowledgeable expert who can recognize the signs of properly and improperly administered Panchakarma oversee the treatment. Luckily these indications were recorded by the ancient practitioners or vaidyas.

Panchakarma therapy, like other medical procedures, must always start with the first consultation by a qualified Ayurvedic Physician who can establish the individual's Prakriti (constitutional type), the nature of the health issue (if any), and the proper degree of intensity of the prescribed therapies.

Some signs you need to detox:

A thick layer of coating on the tongue

Fatigue

Brain fog

Pains and aches 

Uncontrollable cravings

Bad breath, odor, and flatulence

Constipation or diarrhea


See: Ayurveda For Brain Fog & Chronic Fatigue

Panchakarma health benefits

Panchakarma treatments have been proven to create brain wave coherence and to lower metabolic activity measurable in research. They transform the mind and body to go into a profound level of peacefulness. In this relaxed state, it is possible to cleanse toxins from tissues as well as to release deeply held emotional tensions.


Panchakarma Detoxifies the Body and Mind

If we would like to experience optimum health, it's crucial to maintain a powerful digestive fire and remove toxins from the body. Panchakarma is a time-proven natural treatment that detoxifies and restores the body's internal balance and energy.

According to Ayurveda, superior health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all parts of life. This is from assimilating items that nourish the mind & body and eliminating the rest. When we can not fully digest our food, experiences, and emotions, toxins accumulate in our bodily tissues, creating imbalance and, ultimately, disease. Panchakarma is inherently an elegant detox & cleansing process that gets rid of stored toxins and restores the body's own internal healing ability.

When our digestive system energies, known as Agni (fire), are intense, we create healthy tissues, eliminate waste products effectively, and generate a subtle essence called Ojas. Ojas, which may be pictured as the innermost sap of our psychophysiology, is the foundation for clarity of perception, bodily strength, and immunity. Likewise, if Agni is weakened, digestion is incomplete and generates toxins that get tucked away in the body. The toxic residue left behind and stored is known as Ama.


Foundation for health & wellness

When Ama starts to accumulate in the body, it blocks the energy flow and nourishment throughout the system. Ayurveda believes this build-up of toxins that the underlying cause of all disease. A frequent example of this is that the accumulation of saturated fat and cholesterol that's beyond the body's capacity to metabolize. Over time, this contributes to the congestion of the blood vessels and arteries and, finally, to heart attacks.

While it's easy to comprehend Agni and Ama concerning food, it's essential to not forget that your mind and heart are continually digesting power and information as well. In fact, your mental digestive powers are working right now to break down these thoughts into smaller components that your intellect can assimilate. Likewise, your emotional Agni is responsible for processing experiences, emotions, and feelings.


Restoring your natural balance

If your emotional Agni is robust, you have the ability to extract whatever is sterile and remove the rest. The inability to metabolize emotions, however, produces as much poisonous residue as undigested food. Anger, sadness, and guilt are more debilitating for many people than problems with physical digestion.


Panchakarma health benefits:

Eliminate toxins from your mind and body

Promotes wellness by building immunity

Reverse the toxic effects of stress on your body and mind 

Lifts brain fog for sharp mental clarity and concentration

Rejuvenate your strength and energy

Deepens self-awareness

Clears emotional stagnation to experience inner joy

Prevents and reverses any dosha imbalance

Provides badly needed complete relaxation

Helps develop positive lifestyle habits that include yoga, meditation, and self-care

Bring a sense of ultimate well-being


See: Ayurvedic Diet

Panchakarma methods or karmas

Panchakarma Treatments

The descriptions that follow cover the selection of therapies that might be carried out during a Panchakarma series and reflect the treatments used in the ancient art of life. Two therapists working in synchronicity may perform some of them. Multiple therapies may be linked together throughout the course of a single day's treatments.

- Abhyanga

An independently prepared herbal-oil massage designed to deeply penetrate the skin, relax the mind-body, divide impurities, and excite both arterial and lymphatic flow. It increases the ability of nutrients to reach cells and allows for the removal of waste. The ultimate result is a heightened state of awareness, which will control the internal healing of the body.

- Shirodhara

A gentle and periodic pouring of herbal oil over the forehead, synchronizing brain waves and profoundly calming the mind, body, and soul.

- Garshana

A sterile lymphatic skin brushing with either a silk or wool glove. This enhances the circulation and cleanses the skin so that following oil and herbal remedies can penetrate deep into the cleansed pores.

- Swedana

This is a herbal steam bath, during which the head is kept cool while the body is heated to remove toxins lodged deep inside the tissues. The cool head gives a sense of calm while the steam over the entire body penetrates and cleanses deeply, without overheating and causing strain to the body.

- Udvartana

A deeply penetrating herbal lymphatic paste massage. This powerful exfoliating treatment will reestablish your natural glow. It conditions the skin while at the same time releases stagnant lymphatic toxins in the body.

- Five Senses Treatment

This therapy combines the effect of all five senses working in unison. Sound therapies are specific Vedic mantras recommended for each type of imbalance. Touch therapy enlivens specific vital points in your body called marma points. Taste therapy employs certain herbal medicines. Sight uses Ayurvedic color treatment, and odor is obtained with rare aromatics. The cumulative effect harmonizes all of the senses to bring one's awareness of the origin of thought and feeling within the heart.

- Basti

An herbal enema especially prepared to pull toxins out of your colon. This is the final step of each daily Panchakarma therapy. The recently loosened impurities from each day of treatment are flushed from the body via the effects of the Basti. The Basti also transports Ayurvedic drugs to the bloodstream and tissues to be able to transform the memory of damaged and toxic cells. It's regarded as one of the most important and most powerful aspects of Panchakarma therapy.

- Nasya therapy

Personalized herbs and oil drops, inhaled through the nose, which clear the uterus of excessive mucus. It is also an important treatment when medicating the central nervous system. This therapy combats the deep dryness which exists at the origin of many allergic conditions.

- Shiro-Abhyanga-Nasya

This combination therapy is for a combination of a deep head, neck, shoulder massage, and facial lymphatic massage. This is followed by deep inhalation of therapeutic aromatic steam, and a sinus and nasal Nasya with herbal nose drops. This exotic treatment is used to balance many head, neck, and respiratory disorders.

- Pinda Swedana

This is a deep cleansing treatment using rice cooked in milk and herbs, which is massaged into the problem tissues and joints. The procedure is relaxing and detoxifying.


See: Shirodhara and Ayurvedic Therapies for Success Case of Migraine

Three steps of Panchakarma treatment

Panchakarma treatment is done in three phases:


1. Poorvakarma -- Preparatory processes that song the body accumulate toxins within the full complement of its own organs into the alimentary canal and the closest site of excretion/elimination.

2. Pradhanakarma: The principal treatment and therapies once the toxins are removed from the body.

3. Paschat karma: Post-treatment care, including diet program, focused on bringing the individual back into a regular diet and lifestyle.

The treatment aims at correcting the imbalance of the doshas -- Vata, Pitta, Kapha -and restoring their inherent stability, through five cleansing processes.


Poorvakarma

The Panchakarma Detox and Rejuvenation Program start with a preparatory process named Poorvakarma, preparing the body for eliminating toxins. This can be done first through Snehanam, where the body is made unctuous or fatty internally and externally through oleation, preparing the doshas and impurities to be removed. The next phase involves Swedanam, healing perspiration. After this phase is completed, Panchakarma cleansing procedures are carried out based upon the Prakruthi, the status of each person. The Program ends with Paschatkarma in which the individual undergoes corrective measures through medications, therapeutic treatments, diet, and activities for your system and mind. In some situations, Rookshna or drying is completed to create the body's channels prepared to consume Sneha, or oil before Snehanam.


Snehanam

Inner Oleation: to be able to loosen and move the toxins toward the gastrointestinal tract, the body is made unctuous internally through the ingestion of medicated ghee over a set period with increasing dose together with a prescribed limited diet.


Topical Oleation: The body is then massaged with oil that is treated to ensure it is unctuous or fatty externally, too, to aid the elimination of toxins. The different procedures of petroleum program used are:

Uzhichil--By rubbing and applying oil on the body

Chavituuzhichil -- Deep tissue oil massage using feet

Dadhupushtiuzhichil --Heal with medicated oil to nourish


Swedanam

The body is put through healing sweating based on each person's Prakruthi (constitution and medical condition). There are various Swedanam therapies, a significant class being AGNIKRUTH (curative steam with direct heat).


The processes under AGNIKRUTH comprise Thapa -- Heat program through Hot water bag, fomentation, applying heat via popular stone or fabrics.; Upanaha --During bandaging with medications; Drava --Parishekam(a)Pizhichil (Deep setting of lukewarm oil), Dhanyamladhara (pouring of fermented treated water), (b) Kashaya Dhara -Pouring of the decoction on the body. Avagaham -- Sitting in a bath with warm medicated water. Ushama (1)PindaSwedam -- Therapeutic Massages with (a) Elakizhi -- warm pouches of different herbs and medicinal leaves (b) Njarangakizhi -- warm bags containing lemon, leaves, and herbs (c) Podikizhi -- warm pouches of herbal powders (d) Njavarkizhi -- Pouches containing medicinal rice, milk, and decoction (e) Dhanyamlakizhi -- herbal components dipped in particular herbal decoction named Dhanymla (2) Kumbhiswedam- (a) Steam bath (b) Nadiswedam -- Neighborhood steam application by means of a hose or pipe


Pradhanakarma

This stage of Shodana, the cleansing, and removal process holds the key to the long term strengthening and restoration of the resistance systems and involves many procedures. Among these, the methods listed below, are used appropriately in detoxing & rejuvenating every individual, since the body conditions differ from person to person.

Vamana- Therapeutic vomiting

Virechana- Therapeutic purging

Vashti (Kashaya/Sneha)- Decoction/Oil enema

Nasya- Fixing errhine / nasal cleansing


Paschatkarma

In this third and last phase of Samana, corrective, and rejuvenating treatments are given to guarantee lasting beneficial effects of this cleansing process for the individual, coupled with the ideal diet and lifestyle regimen. Reverting to the old methods of life and diet could worsen one's condition by facilitating the faster and easier accumulation of toxins, and hence, following the directions of the doctor is critical for the healing procedure. One or more of therapeutic massage treatments mentioned below form part of the segment of therapy, according to the condition of every person: Elakizhi: massage using warm pouches containing different herbs and medicinal leaves to decrease inflammation in the body and to strengthen muscles; Njarangakizhi: using warm pouches containing lemon, leaves, and herbs; Dhanyakizhi: using components made with grains; Njavarakizhi: Application of medicinal rice gruel found in a pouch within the body. This is beneficial to nourish tissues and decrease stress from the body. 

Njavaratheppu: Penetrating use of medicinal rice glue; 

Pizhichil: Pouring of lukewarm oil on the body; 

Kashaya Dhara: Pouring of medicated milk within the entire body using kindi, the conventional bell metallic water pitcher with the increased trunk. This will help to pacify the dosha imbalance; Thalapothichal: Application of treated paste on the head. This treatment will help to calm the mind and can be useful in getting good sleep. With the ideal herbs, it is perfect for the hair too. Thakradhara: Pouring of medicated buttermilk over the brow. Ksheeradhara: Pouring of medicated milk onto the brow, body.

See: Ayurveda Introduction & Guide

Summary

Panchakarma is the most authoritative mind-body-spirit healing experience for cleansing the body, strengthening the immune system, restoring equilibrium and well-being, and re-connecting you together with your spirit. It is one of the best healing therapies in Ayurvedic science and medicine. It boosts healing, purification, and rejuvenation. Panchakarma eliminates excess doshas, corrects imbalances, and removes the damaging Ama from your system throughout the body's own glands and organs of removal (colon, sweat glands, lungs, bladder, urinary tract, stomach, and intestines). Panchakarma purifies the cells at a really deep level.


See: Potential of Disease Prevention with Panchakarma Therapy

References

1. Patil, Vaidya Vasant. (2019). Panchakarma -A Scientific and Evidence-Based Specialty Therapy of Ayurveda.

2. Conboy, Lisa & Edshteyn, Ingrid & Garivaltis, Hilary. (2009). Ayurveda and Panchakarma: Measuring the Effects of a Holistic Health Intervention. TheScientificWorldJournal. 9. 272-80. 10.1100/tsw.2009.35.

See: Dosha Quiz

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