A unique mode of Ayurvedic cleansing therapy, which has both preventive and curative aspects.
Pancha Karma constitutes the ayurvedic rejuvenatory treatment since it not only eliminates the toxins causing diseases but also replenish the tissues with nourishment. Therefore, Pancha Karma is also known as rejuvenating therapy.
The name Pancha Karma is derived from Two Sanskrit words: "Pancha" which means five" and "Karma" which means action. The name denotes five primary procedures of cleansing, which Ayurveda uses to purify your body.
The five cleansing procedures include:
- Vaman (induced emesis)
- Virechan (induced purgation)
- Basti (therapeutic enema)
- Nasya (nasal medication)
- Rakta Mokshan (bloodletting)
Pancha Karma is performed in three stages:
PURVA KARMA includes two preparatory procedures before the main pancha karma procedures. These therapies are used to dislodge the toxins from the inner sites and help them in eliminating by the main pancha karma procedures.
1) Snehan (oleation)
2) Swedan (sudation)
This therapy employs administration of medicated oils either internally or externally. There are various types of external application of the medicated oils, depending on the parts of the body involved and type of the massage performed.
The external application of oil is called Abhyanga or ayurvedic massage. A whole body massage with specific ayurvedic oils to nourish and revitalize the body tissues (Dhatus) and to allow the toxins to be removed from the cells.
Abhyanga not only loosen the toxins but helps in achieving deepest healing effects by naturally harmonizing the Body, Mind & Soul. It is one of the most rejuvenating treatments of Ayurveda.
Increases tissue strength, improves blood circulation, rejuvenates your whole body, removes cellulite, beautifies your skin, delays aging, induces sound sleep, promotes vitality, pacifies Vata imbalance, reduces stress and removes toxins.
This refers to the remedy that involves application of heat in various ways to make a person sweat. It is the second major form of the preparatory procedures. The vapors dilate and soften the channels of the body allowing the impurities to move out.
Reduces pain in your body, eliminates toxins, promotes lightness, reduces stiffness, beautifies your skin and removes cellulite.
Following snehan and swedan the ama (toxins) comes in to the kostha (Gastrointestinal tract) from where these can be eliminated by the Pancha Karma procedures i.e vaman, virechan, basti, nasya and rakta mokshan.
Vaman is a medicated emesis therapy, which specially removes Kapha toxins and decongests the respiratory tract. The whole procedure is performed cautiously under Heidi Nordlund's supervision with proper care.
Virechan is a purgation therapy used in the conditions associated with Pitta imbalance. It removes accumulated Pitta toxins from the small intestine, liver and gallbladder and cleanses the entire gastrointestinal tract.
A person undergoing virechana have many bowel movements depending upon the nature of ama (toxins). When supervised by Heidi Nordlund, it is a safe procedure and the effect is obvious.
Basti is the mildest detoxification therapy recommended for a wide variety of illnesses and considered one of the most important aspects of treatment. It cleanses the accumulated toxins from the colon and is the choice of treatment for diseases caused by Vata imbalance.
Balancing Vata is key in treating the root cause of most diseases.
Basti stabilizes vVta, improves absorption and is highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment.
Herbal decoctions or medicated oil or ghee are given as basti to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone.
Administration of medicated oil through the nose is called Nasya.
Nasya is particularly useful in the treatment of diseases occurring in the organs situated above the clavicle. It cleanses accumulated toxins from the head and neck region and promotes the functions of the sensory and motor organs above your clavicle.
Nasya is said to stimulate the base of your brain through its effect on the olfactory nerve endings bringing greater clarity and balance to your mind, brain and senses.
It specifically provides strength to your head, nose and neck. Indirectly it works on your whole body by improving the functioning of your endocrine glands.
Nasya also prevents premature wrinkling, graying and falling of the hair.
Rakta Mokshan (bloodletting) is one of the therapy mentioned in the ayurvedic texts for blood disorders; it removes impure blood from your body.
Rakta Mokshan extracts a small amount of blood from a vein and relieves the tension created by pittagenic toxins in the blood. The spleen is stimulated to produce antitoxic substances which helps to stimulate the immune system.
Toxins are neutralized enabling radical cures in many blood born disorders.
In India, Rakta Mokshan is practiced and performed by using instruments or leech applications. Unfortunately, Rakta Mokshan is an illegal procedure within the United States and Europe, however, blood tests are usually prescribed as alternative.
Sometimes Netra Basti is counted as the fifth pancha karma practice. Netra Basti is the process of keeping unctuous substances (medicated ghee or oil) in the eyes for a certain period of time.
Netra Basti improves eyesight, nourishes tired, dry, rough and injured eyes, strengthens the nerves and muscles of the eyes, and may help eye diseases such as drooping of eyelids (ptosis), night blindness, cataract, blurred vision, stiffness and roughness of eyes, injury to eyes, sub conjunctival hemorrhage, inflammatory lesions of the eyes, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, pain in the eyes and decreased secretion of lachrymal fluid.
Paschat Karma is the concluding process of Pancha Karma and is effective in maintaining the healthy status of the body that has been achieved through Pradhan Karma.
Paschat Karma is divided in two procedures: Samsarjan Karma and Rasayana.
After the Pradhan Karma procedures are completed, weightloss is common and agni (the digestive power) is weak. Samsarjan Karma involves embracing a special diet and lifestyle for about two weeks in order to bring back the strength.
Rasayana refers to rejuvenation. This process yields excellent results when followed by the Pradhan Karma.