A primer to Panchakarma: All you need to know about this holistic Ayurveda therapy

Posted on:27 September 2021, 08:00am IST
Panchakarma treatments work on the body by utilising a combination of treatments — from steams, saunas, massages, and specific diets.
Radhika Iyer Talati
Panchakarma treatment includes preventive, curative and promotive actions for various issues. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Ayurveda is an age-old science that uses body intelligence, seasonal wisdom, and nature’s cure by way of Panchakarma to balance and detoxify the body. It is designed to restore the degenerative process of the human body, holding within it the potential of long-lasting wellness. 

‘Nasya’ is a crucial part of Panchakarma. It which helps to clear the head region of the body and is treated through massages. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Panchakarma treatments are designed to work on the body using a combination of treatments like steams, saunas, massages, and specific diets that help the body get rid of ‘ama’ or toxins.

According to Ayurveda, the human body is submerged under a load of improper food, poor lifestyle choices, and immense stress. These issues affect our body both mentally and physically, leading to blockages in the various systems that run the body, ultimately resulting in diseases. Seasonal changes additionally are known to create illnesses in the body aggravating the doshas and throwing them off balance.

Therefore, one needs to cleanse and re-balance the body by way of adopting a lifestyle that encourages the habit of correct eating, regular exercising, and mindful living. 

A little more about Panchakarma

Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that literally means “five actions” or “five treatments”. It is a means of flushing ama or toxins out of the body, thereby cleansing and rejuvenating the body and mind.  It uses five methods or therapies that are guaranteed to detoxify the body. 

  1. Vamana: Ideal for people who have a kapha dominant body and are suffering from asthma, obesity, or anxiety. 
  2. Virechana: Best suited for people with pitta dosha, who are suffering from skin and digestive disorders, jaundice, and acidity. 
  3. Nasya: Helps to clear the head region of the body and is treated through massages with herbs and oils on the head and shoulders, giving instant relief. 
  4. Basti: Often recommended for complex and chronic diseases, basti is a therapy that uses enema of herbal oils or decoctions to heal the body. It is one of the five pradhana karmas of Panchakarma, and is used to treat vata disorders.
  5. Raktamokshana: This procedure is used to cure diseases that are caused due to impure blood. The name is derived from two words ‘rakt’, which means blood, and ‘mokshana’, which means to leave.

Also Read: How to balance Ayurvedic doshas for healthy and radiant skin

Steam is a vital aspect of physical wellness. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

These therapies are customised to the specific needs of the individual, depending on their Ayurvedic constitution, their dosha imbalances, age, digestive strength, immunity status, metabolic disorders, and several other factors. Qualified Ayurvedic doctors will use all or either part of the five therapies to heal a patient. These therapies are known to detoxify the body, strengthen the immune system and restore balance and well-being in an individual. 

How does it work?

All the glands in the body get activated in the process of the treatment that can last from a minimum of three days to a maximum of a month.  Panchakarma treatments are administered in the clinic of an Ayurvedic practitioner, where a patient can either go for daily treatments or one could even get admitted to an Ayurvedic centre for a 360-degree experience. 

Whatever type of treatment the doctor proposes, one must cooperate fully to understand and reap the benefits of this traditional procedure. Ayurvedic treatments combine the body-mind connection to diagnose and treat diseases, helping you to bring about a change in your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

Panchakarma can promote better sleep. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Panchakarma releases stress

It helps you experience deep relaxation. Mental efficiency is enhanced and deep-rooted tensions are eliminated. It strengthens the immune system and also makes the body stronger and healthier.

Moreover, it provides better sleep, helping the body into a state of deep rest, thus increasing agility and concentration. Adopting the treatment of Panchakarma once a year helps the body to fight against various health ailments. Immunity of the body is enhanced, negative thoughts are eradicated and a healthy body and mind become an everyday blessing.

Radhika Iyer Talati

Radhika Iyer Talati Founder of Raa Foundation & Anahata Organics, yogini, mountaineer & philanthropist

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