Panchakarma is one of the vital ayurvedic treatments for complete purification and rejuvenation of the body. But in order to prepare the body for this treatment, Purvakarma is required. It is a pre-purification measure that precedes the Panchakarma process. It involves a combination of Snehanam (oleation) and Swedhanam (fomentation) both of which helps in loosening up the body and prepared it to flush out the toxins by moving them through the gastrointestinal tract.
Panchakarma is a Sanskrit term used in ayurvedic treatment. Ayurveda Panchakarma involves five therapeutic treatment methods that are used to purify the body and remove toxins from the system. It is equally effective in case of both healthy and unhealthy individuals. While the unhealthy person gets rid of the chronic diseases, the healthy person becomes fit enough to prevent diseases and stay physically and mentally fit.
Vamana is the first step of Panchakarma that involves Emesis therapy. It is an ayurvedic procedure of therapeutic vomiting that helps in eliminating excess Kapha or mucus that is the root cause of diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, cough and cold, etc. It also helps in treating the skin problems of psoriasis, eczema and urticaria.
Next is Virechana, or purgation therapy which removes excess Pitta from the body and purifies the blood to treat the problems of skin rashes, acne, pimples, inflammation, biliary vomiting, Jaundice, digestive disorders, headache and certain gynaecological disorders. The procedure involves oleation, fomentation and emesis followed by a medicated steam bath every day for 3 days along with a light and warm diet.
Vasti or Basti is a medicated Enema treatment that is extremely beneficial for rejuvenating convalescence and treating neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders, infertility, sexual debility and other conditions. The term “Basti” stands for a pouch or bag. The procedure involves introducing ayurvedic liquid and herbal concoctions made of oils and milk through the perineum or anus or the vaginal opening in women in order to cleanse and heal the lower part of the body and remove the toxins accumulated in this part through the colon and urinary tract.
Raktamokshana, which means ‘to let out the blood’ is a bloodletting procedure and effective blood purification therapy that helps in neutralizing the accumulated Pitta in the blood. This ayurvedic treatment is especially effective in treating haemo pathological conditions, skin disorders and skin allergies. It is a localized treatment and usually not more than 10 to 40 ml of blood is removed at a time. There are two main types of Raktamokshana – Shastra Visravana and Anushastra Visravana.
Nasya or nasal administration is a procedure of cleaning the accumulated Kapha from the head and neck region. At first, the face, head and chest is massaged thoroughly using certain herbal oil which promotes perspiration. This procedure is followed by administering of certain ayurvedic oils and powders through the nostrils.
Dhara is an exceptionally relaxing ayurvedic therapy in which a stream of soothing warm herbal oils, milk and buttermilk is poured on the head and various other body parts that help in soothing the nervous system and calming the mind. This therapy induces feeling of peace and happiness in the mind.
Pizhichil or Thailadhara is the best ayurvedic treatment in Kerala, in which warm medicated oil is poured on the body along with gentle massage while the person is lying on a wooden plank. This treatment helps in strengthening the immune system of the body and is useful for rheumatic diseases, arthritis, neurological disorders, sexual weakness and blood pressure.
Patra Pinds Sweda is yet another purifying and rejuvenating ayurvedic treatment that heals the mind and body. Patra Pinds Sweda involves tying up of heated oils, herbs and powders into small muslin bags or “Potli” that are placed on different body parts using varying degree of pressure with a special focus on the nerve points. This is followed by a healing massage done using fingers and palms of the hands. The fingers and palms apply controlled pressure on specific areas that help in treating various ailments.
Udhwarthanam is an effective ayurvedic treatment for obesity and weight loss that involves deep dry massage using herbal powders. The massage is done in opposite direction of the hair follicles that stimulates the subcutaneous fat tissue and breaks down subcutaneous fat storage. This powerful massaging technique reduces obesity and skin problems, improves mobility of the joints and strengthens the muscles of the body.
Sirolepanam or Thalapothichil is a traditional ayurvedic treatment for hair care that provides a complete solution to all hair problems. It reduces hair fall, stimulates the hair follicles to promote hair growth and improves shine of the hair strands. In this process, the relaxing and rejuvenating process, the scalp is first massaged using prescribed oils. The massage is followed by application of medicated pastes, medicines and juices of herbs mixed with oils to head and the whole scalp.
Pristha Basti is an ancient ayurvedic treatment that involves the process of retaining a specific amount of lukewarm medicated oil on a specific area of the body for a fixed time. The oil is contained in a receptacle made of paste made of urad dal.
The Sirobasti ayurvedic treatment involves retaining of medicated oils over the head for a certain period of time. In this procedure, a long leather cap is fixed on the head and secured at the temple suing a cotton cloth. The top end of the cap is open through with the warm medicated oil is poured into the cap and the scalp is allowed to soak this oil.
Kati Basti is an effective ayurvedic treatment for relieving lower back pain, one of the biggest health disorders of modern times. The waist area of the body is known as “Kati” in Sanskrit and this treatment involves the holding of warm ayurvedic oils over the lower back and spine region for a specific period of time. The patient is asked to lie face down on a wooden plank and 200-300ml of medicated oil is poured into a reservoir made on the lumbosacral area using black gram dough.
Greeva Basti treats the disorders related to the neck region. Greeva stands for neck and basti refers to the container. In this process, warm medicated oil is retained on the back of the neck using a reservoir made of black gram dough. The reservoir covers all the vertebrae of the neck along with 2 to 3 vertebrae of the thoracic region. The worm oil which is poured into the reservoir helps in alleviating neck pain and strengthens the bones and joint tissues.