Panchakarma is a Sanskrit term with two different words together, ‘Pancha’ means five and ‘Karma’ stands for a procedure to purify and restore balance to the body, mind and emotions. It refers to five actions intended to intensively cleanse them. Panchakarma is used by Ayurvedic physicians as a treatment of a wide variety of health conditions and as a preventative measure.
The ideas behind Panchakarma have influenced other alternative treatments. Environmental medicine studies how the accumulation of environmental substances in the body may cause disease, and detoxification therapy utilizes cleansing the body as its central treatment.
Panchakarma is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat almost all diseases, particularly those that are chronic, metabolic or stress-related in origin. Panchakarma has been used to treat allergies, asthma , arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndromes, colitis, high cholesterol, depression , diabetes, digestive disorders, heart diseases, hypertension , immune problems, infections , inflammation, insomnia , nervous disorders, obesity , skin problems and ulcers. Panchakarma may be used alongside intensive conventional treatments including chemotherapy and surgery, to support healing and recovery. Panchakarma is safe and non-toxic, and can be used as prevention and to increase general well-being. Panchakarma is limited in treating traumatic injuries, acute pain, and conditions requiring immediate surgery or invasive procedures. The philosophy believes in prevention rather than cure.
Firstly, the treatment begins thorough examination and diagnosis. A doctor or an Ayurvedic practitioner determines the type and extension of Panchakarma treatment; strictly diagnosed under Ayurvedic theory, physical and emotional characters. Those characters are varied in each and every person according to disparity of three Doshas—Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each individual has all those three Doshas with one predominating. If an imbalance occurs, diseases/conditions appear. Panchakarma rebalances the Doshas, brings them back to equilibrium which brings the individual back to their good health. Treatment procedures from herbal remedies and dietary and some changes in lifestyle during and after Panchakarma, which are suggest from ayurvda practitioner or doctor should follow to enhance the long term health.
Ayurveda believes that diseases generally start in the digestive tract. Due to poor diets, bad health habits and other different causes weakened the digestion and accumulate toxic substance called AMA in the body which interferes the body functions and flow of energy and creates imbalances which causes differents types of diseases. The main goal of Panchakarma is to cleanse the body of excess AMA from our body and to restore the digestive power.
In Panchakarma, there are two types of main therapies, Shamana and Shodhana. Shamana is collective, supportive therapies; which are required to be prepared for main therapies and the main therapy, the Shodhana is refers to Pancakarma's five main cleansing and elimination procedures. The oil therapy, called Snehana in Ayurveda is the preparatory treatment. Patients are given oil massages—Abhyanga the full body massage and Shirodhra, the forehead massage. They are fed dietary oils to lubricate the digestive tract, and are sometimes administered oil enemas. For stress-related and mental conditions, a special oil massage is given during which oil is steadily poured onto the patient's forehead. Oil therapy may be used for up to a week before the main treatment. Sweating therapy (swedana) is another preparation that uses saunas, steam rooms, heated clothing, herbal poultices and exercises.
The five main methods of Panchakarma are therapeutic vomiting (vamana ), purgation (virechana), enema therapy (niruha basti for medicated enemas and Anuvasana basti for oil enemas), and nasal cleansing (nasya). Depending on the health problem, one or more of these methods are used to cleanse the body and promote healing. Other Ayurvedic therapies may be used in combining as well.
For the Vamana; we use herbal solutions or salt water to induce vomiting which is very useful for skin problems, asthma, diabetes, chronic sinus or lung infections, epilepsy, heart dieses and digestive disorders.
Niruha basti uses special herbal solutions, and treats conditions including skin diseases, liver problems, abdominal tumors, parasites, and chronic fevers. For therapeutic enemas, medicinal oils and herbal solutions are used to cleanse the lower bowels. Niruha and anuvasana basti are used to treat conditions such as constipation, arthritis, nervous disorders, colitis, headaches, muscle weakness, and lower back pain.
In nasya, medicated oils or powders are run into the nostrils to cleanse the sinuses; which help to improve the conditions of the head, including mental disorders, headaches as well as to solve the problems of ear, nose and throat.
After cleansing methods patients go through Paschata karma. During the treatment, patients are advised to rest, avoid certain activities and often receive attention from nurses and doctors. Psychological care and counseling may part of the healing program, as Panchakarma endeavors the patients’ emotional problems in addition. Recommendations of dietary changes and lifestyle considerations, also recommendations certain exercises, yoga, meditation, stress-management techniques and herbal remedies; during or after Panchakarma, help the patients to lead his/her good health.
Panchakarma treatment can vary in length from a couple days to several weeks.
Patients should be thoroughly diagnosed and cared for by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Patients should seek Panchakarma treatment from reputable clinics with tolerable staff and facilities.
Certain Panchakarma methods are not appropriate for specific health problems, and some should not be performed on children, pregnant women and the elderly. Panchakarma treatments should be done only by qualified and experienced practitioners.
During Panchakarma, weakness, dissatisfaction, headaches, congestion, general illness and an increase in symptoms may occur as side effects. Also, some people can experience mental disturbances and depression during treatment because Panchakarma seeks to release stored emotional problems from the patient.