Panchakarma treatment center Kanyakumari
About Panchakarma
Panchakarma is the word for the five different procedures used in Ayurveda which are believed to purify the body. This is done in two ways:
Pacifying the aggravated Doshas (VADHA, PITHA & KAPHA) by using appropriate diet, natural herbs and minerals.
Eliminating the increased Doshas from the body.
Panchakarma is a purifying therapy to enhance the metabolic process through food and herbal medicines.
It is used in deep rooted chronic disease as well as seasonal imbalance of tri-Doshas. As the wastes are eliminated from the body, the person becomes healthy. So Panchakarma means five types of actions or techniques or treatments. These types of therapeutics are based on elimination therapy.
Panchakarma (meaning "five actions") developed in India though there are regional variations in therapeutic procedure as well as in the equipment used. According to Charaka, the five actions are Nasya (nasal therapy), Vamana (emesis or vomiting), Virechana (purging) and two kinds of Vasti (therapeutic enema), Nirooha Vasti and Sneha Vasti. Herbal decoctions are used for Nirooha Vasti and herbal oils for Sneha Vasti. This five major procedures in Panchakarma, is meant to purify the whole body by eliminating the accumulated toxins from it.
Another school, that of the surgeon Sushruta, regards Rakta (blood) also as a dosha (humour),the vitiation ofwhich can cause diseases and advocates Raktamokshana (bloodletting) as the fifth in the Panchakarma therapies. In this school the five therapies are Nasya, Vamana, Virechana, Vasti and Raktamokshana. As bloodletting involves medical venesection, it is no longer popular. Leeching, however, is still practised.
This five fold therapy is aimed at Shodhana, the eradication of the basic cause of disease. Shodhana or eradication alongwith Shamana, the mitigation of the disease and its symptoms are the two concepts of disease management in Ayurveda. Panchakarma is also believed by practitioners to have a rejuvenating effect when it is subject to a healthy person.

Panchakarma is always performed in three stages; Purva Karma (pre-treatment), Pradhana Karma (primary treatment) and Paschat Karma (post-treatment). The patient who opts for any one of the five therapies must invariably undergo all three stages.

Pre Treatment
Pre Treatment consists of oil therapy, massage and fomentation therapy.
Snehana (oleation or oil therapy) and Svedana (sudation) two Purva Karma procedures are the most important preparatory measures to have Panchakarma. Snehana (internal and external oleation) is said to loosen the toxins stuck in various sites of the body. Snehana is administering sneha or snigdha dravyas in the form of taila, gritha, vasa (muscle fat) and majja (bone marrow) to the body. The sneha is given with herbs tailored to help a specific patient's disease. If sneha is given in a pure form without adding herbs it is called ‘Achcha sneha’ and is considered the most effective. Snehana is given in the early morning for a maximum of seven days. Snehana is said to help the doshas or toxins to move into the alimentary tract from the extremities for easy evacuation (vilayana and uthkleshana of doshas). If snehana is not given before panchakarma, the body is understood to bend like a thin dry stick through the effects of five karmas.

Oil massage (Sanskrit: abhyangha) is an important treatment in Ayurveda. It involves a therapeutic massage of about 45 minutes' duration, which is said to treat disease. The massages are done with two therapists working on either side of the patient who lies on a wooden bed called a droni in Sanskrit. Special attention is paid to the foot area. Practitioners of panchakarma believe, there are nerve nodal points (called Marmas in Sanskrit) on the soles of the feet, which are closely related to certain internal organs. The sole of the right foot is massaged with clockwise movement and the left foot with anti-clockwise strokes. During the treatment, the patient is made to recline in seven standard positions. This begins with the person seated in an upright position, supine or flat on the back, turning to the right side, supine again, turning to the left side, supine once again and finally sitting as in the beginning.  Sometimes the position of lying face down is also adopted.

Svedana is a fomentation therapy given to the whole or part of the body depending on the disease. Steam of medicated herbs is given, using the fire-saagni sweda. Without using the fire fomentation, anagni sweda is done by sitting under the sun, being in thirst, hunger, covering the body with thick bed sheets, or being in a closed dark room. Svedana is said to dilate channels in the body to facilitate the movement of the ama towards the Koshta (alimentary canal). Fomentation covers both dry and sticky materials (snigdha dravyas). It is said to help in the liquifaction of doshas; it is given after Abhyanga or massaging the body, so after the seventh day of oleation, the patient is made ready for Vamana and other procedures.

Primary Treatment
The ama that reaches the Koshta is believed to be eliminated during the Pradhana Karma (primary treatment). This is the panchakarma itself; Nasya (nasal therapy), Vamana (emesis or vomiting), Virechana (purging) and two kinds of Vasti (therapeutic enema), Nirooha Vasti and Sneha Vasti. Herbal decoctions are used for Nirooha Vasti and herbal oils for Sneha Vasti.

Vamana Karma (Vomiting) is used for Kapha disorders like bronchitis, cold, cough, asthma, sinus, & excess mucus. One to three days prior to Vamana Karma, the person’s body should be oilated both internally and externally. Externally through the Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) and internally taking Ghee (clarified butter) in his or her diet. The person should also eat a kaphagenic diet to aggravate Kapha in the system. It is always recommended that during this major action, one should stay only on the Khichadi recipe. Vamana Karma is contra-indicated before teenage and after 60 with heart disease, hypertensive, hypoglycemia, all vata disorder and person with vata prakriti.

Virechana Karma (Therapeutic Purgation) is used for pitta disorders like skin disorders, acidity, heart burn, peptic ulcer, jaundice, intestinal parasites.  Virechana is induced by administering herbal purgatives given orally which passes through whole gut and eliminate excessive pitta.

Contra-indication for Virechana Karma -- Childhood and old age, ulcerative colitis, diarrehoea, dehydration, debility and weakness, bleeding from rectum, acute fever or any acute condition.

Basti Karma (Enema) is used for vata disorder like chronic constipation, bloated stomach, gases, malnourished people, sexual disorders, constipation, backache, spinal pain. Basti Karma is one of the important procedures of Panchakarma. The procedure emphasizes on loosened Vata dosha removal out of the body through the rectum. Medicated oil or decoction is administered through the anus to pacify the aggravated air.

Contra-indication for basti Karma – Hemorrhoids, bleeding piles, fistula-in-ano, diarrhea, any acute condition.

Depending on the body type, Basti Karma can be two type - Nirooha Vasti in which herbal decoction is used. Anuvasan Basti in which herbal oil is used in Enema.

After treatment
Dietary regimens restricted bodily exertion and the intake of herbs believed to promote health come under the Paschat Karma (post-treatment). Paschat Karma is administering required food for the body after the purification of the body, to intensify the agni (digestion power) which will subside after Panchakarma. During the treatments, food is given according to the degree of purification intended for the body.
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