Our body has the ability to heal itself, but improper diet, lack of exercise and lifestyle choices often prevent us from achieving optimal health. The focus is slowly shifting towards natural healing methods, and Panchakarma is one of them. This five-stage treatment originates from the amazing world of Ayurveda and is known to detox the body, thus paving the way for good health and well being.
What is Panchakarma?
The Sanskrit word ‘Panchakarma’ is made up of two words- pancha, meaning “five” and karma, meaning “treatment”. So, it’s a combination of five methods to bring balance to every constitution type (prakruti). Panchakarma penetrates deep into the tissues to tackle stress and relieve pain. It is the ultimate Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation of the mind and body.
What Does Panchakarma Do?
According to ancient Ayurveda scriptures, unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle give rise to a foul-smelling, sticky and harmful substance. This is called “ama” and should be expelled from the body so that the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys can function to their maximum capacity. Panchakarma involves the use of massages, oil baths and nasal treatments to eliminate this waste matter from the body. As every individual differs in terms of their amount of digestive fire (agni), age, and severity of health conditions, they may need to go through one or all of the five healing stages. The sessions are a pleasurable experience, but a “healing crisis” may occur during the course of the treatment. This is nothing to worry about, as it’s just the body discarding harmful substances.
What Happens Before a Panchakarma Treatment?
Before the actual treatment starts, people usually undergo two processes- oleation and fomentation. Oleation is the application of various Ayurvedic oils that help relax the body and loosen up toxins from the tissues. Fomentation is when your body is made to flush out these toxins through sweat.
What Are the Five Panchakarma Treatments?
Although we have all vata, pitta and kapha doshas in our body, one of them dominates the rest. Imbalance in the dominating dosha can cause serious and chronic illnesses. Each of the five treatments of Panchakarma is dedicated to curing one particular dosha.
Vamana is suggested for those who have a kapha-dominated body type, and are suffering from weight gain, asthma and hyperacidity. With the help of oleation and fomentation, the toxins turn into a liquid state and are cleared through induced vomiting.
Those with pitta-dominated conditions such as jaundice and colitis should go for Virechan treatment of Panchakarma. After oleation and fomentation, the person will be given a herbal laxative for the cleansing of the bowels.
Nasya is very helpful for individuals battling migraines, sleep disorders, sinusitis and hairfall. In the beginning, the head, neck and shoulders are massaged with herbal oils. Then, medicial nasal drops are administered to promote relaxation and healing.
Being the mother of all Panchakarma treatments, Basti works well for everybody, irrespective of their dosha. It’s an effective way to cure convoluted and chronic diseases such as arthritis, piles and constipation. As per the nature of the problem, herbal decoction, oil, milk or ghee are administered into the rectum to cleanse it.
This is the method of blood cleansing. Raktamokshana treatment is highly preferred by those who suffer from skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. One can also choose to administer it to a certain part of the body.
What are the Benefits of Panchakarma?
Panchakarma has numerous benefits both for those facing chronic health conditions and those who wish to prevent them. Some of them are:
1. Improves health by eliminating toxins from the body and mind
2. Strengthens the immune system
3. Slows down ageing, allowing you to retain a youthful appearance
4. Enhances mental clarity, enabling you to make wise choices
5. Promotes deep relaxation
6. Resolves energy blockages in the body and opens up chakras
8. Helps weight loss by rejuvenating tissues
What are the Restrictions to be Observed during Panchakarma Treatments?
Panchakarma treatments typically last for 21 days. Some restrictions that one may have to observe at home during the various stages of treatment are:
1. Avoid extremely hot and cold temperatures.
2. Avoid loud noise.
3. Take rest on feeling tired.
4. Eat foods that the body can easily digest.
5. Go to bed early.
6. Not suppressing a cough, sneeze, or nature’s call.
7. Abstaining intimacy with their partner.
Note: Panchakarma treatments are not advisable if one has a fever, is pregnant or injured. Treatments should be started only after consulting with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.
If allopathic medication isn’t giving you the desired results or you’re looking for something long-term, you should give the Ayurvedic Panchakarma detox a try. Not only does Panchakrama heal the symptoms, but also activates the body’s self-healing mechanism.