Panchakarma is a unique mode of Ayurvedic therapy which has both preventive and curative aspects. Panchakarma constitutes the Shodhana Chikitsa which is an Ayurvedic rejuvenation treatment since it not only eliminates the toxins causing diseases but also replenish the tissue with nourishment. Department of Ayurvedic medicine has a well-equipped Panchakarma centre located in the green and serene atmosphere of the Himalayan Institute campus in a pristine ambiance. It offers its services under an expert team of Ayurveda practitioners well supported by qualified and well-trained paramedical staff. The name Panchakarma is derived from two Sanskrit words. “Panch” means “five” and “Karma” means “Action.” The name denotes five primary procedures of cleansing which Ayurveda uses to purify the body . The five-purifactory procedures are: 1) Vaman (Induced Emesis) 2) Virechan (Induced Purgation) 3) Niruha Basti (Decoction Enemas) 4) Anuvasna Basti (Oil Enema) and 5) Nasya (Nasal medication). Panchakarma therapy is always performed in three stages – Purva Karma (pre-treatment), Pradhana Karma (main treatment) and Pashchat Karma (post treatment).
Purva Karma includes two preparatory procedures before the main panchakarma procedures. These therapies are used to dislodge the toxins from the inner sites and help them in eliminating by the main 5-panchakarma procedures. These are: Snehan (Oleation) Swedan (Fomentati Snehan (Oleation). 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 & Spirit. It is carried out in silence, which helps to harmonise various functions of the body. Silence and rest are two important components in the process of activating the body’s own self-healing mechanisms. This massage is performed symmetrically with synchronized movements by the help of two well-trained panchakarma therapists and is usually followed by a medicated steam bath (Swedana). It is one of the most rejuvenating treatments of Ayurveda. Benefits: Increases tissue strength, improves blood circulation, rejuvenates the whole body, removes the cellulite, beautifies the skin, delays aging, induces sound sleep, promotes vitality, pacifies Vata imbalance, reduces stress and removes toxins.
Swedan (Herbal Fomentation) – This refers to the remedy that involves application of heat in various ways to make the patient sweat. It is second major form of the preparatory procedures. Among 13 types of swedan Nadi sweda and Vashpa sweda are used as Panchakarma preparatory procedures. The vapors dilate and soften the channels of the body allowing the impurities to move out. Herbal steam specific to the ailment or vitiated dosha is administered which opens the pores, dislodges the toxic materials, making them subtler and flushes the system. In addition to this it reduces the body’s stiffness. Benefits: Reduces pain in the body, eliminates toxins, promotes lightness, reduces stiffness, beautifies the skin, removes the Cellulite.
Pradhana Karma Following snehana and swedana, the aama (toxins) comes in to the koshtha (Gastrointestinal system) from where these can be eliminated by main Panchakarma procedures, i.e, vamana, virechana, anuvasana basti, niruha basti and nasya. Vamana It is a medicated emesis therapy, which specially cleans Kapha toxins collected in the body and decongests the respiratory tract. In preparing for vamana, one sets up the conditions in which it can occur spontaneously. Various Ayurvedic decoctions are used for inducing vomiting. Whole procedure is performed cautiously under the supervision of physician with proper care.
Virechana is a medicated purgation therapy used in the conditions associated with Pitta imbalance. It removes accumulated Pitta toxins from the liver, gall bladder and small intestine and cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. In this procedure herbal preparations are administered orally to increase bowel movements for bringing toxins out from the body with defecation. A person undergoing virechana may have many bowel movements depending upon the nature of koshtha and toxins. It is a safe procedure and effect is obvious.
Basti is the mildest and safest detoxification therapy recommended for a wide variety of illnesses and considered one of the most important aspects of treatment. According to Maharshi Charak it is 50% of all the therapies. It cleanses the accumulated toxins from the colon and is choice of treatment for the diseases caused by imbalance of vata. Vata is the most active principle in pathogenesis. Balancing Vata may treat the root cause of most of the diseases. It improves the absorption, stabilizes vata & is highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment also. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction are given as enema to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone.
Nasya 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 Kapha toxins from the head and neck region and promotes the functions of the sensory and motor organs above the clavicle. Nasya is said to stimulate the base of the brain through its effect on the olfactory nerve endings bringing greater clarity and balance to the mind, brain and senses. It specifically provides strength to the head, nose and neck. Indirectly it works on the whole body by improving the functioning of the endocrine glands. It prevents premature wrinkling, graying and falling of the hair.
Paschat Karma Advise for proper diet, life style, health promoting and disease specific drugs comes under the Pashchat karma.
Navarakizhi is a special massage, which rejuvenates the body. A highly effective rejuvenation technique using a special type of rice that is cooked tied into boluses and dipped into an herbal decoction and warm milk. Medicated oil is first applied liberally over the patient’s body. Then the body is massaged with small linen bags filled with cooked Navara rice. The rice is cooked by boiling it in cow’s milk along with suitable herbs. The linen bags filled with rice are dipped in the same mixture kept boiling and applied by massage therapist at a comfortable temperature over the whole body. Body perspires and releases toxins through this treatment. This treatment improves complexion of the skin and restores vigor. This therapy endows several benefits to a healthy individual as well as to the person suffering from musculoskeletal disorders, degenerative conditions and neurological problems etc. The boluses made up of rice, herbal powder and herbal leaves used in the treatment are called Njavarakizhi, Choorna Kizhi and elakizhi respectively.
Shirobasti is yet another efficient treatment method in which oil is retained on the head in a special cap tied over the forehead. The treatment consists of keeping the prescribed medicated oil at a bearable temperature in a leather cap fitted around the head of the patient. Shirobasti is an important procedure, which is found to be very effective in trigiminal neuralgia, hemicrania, optic atrophy, otalgia, deafness, facial paralysis and various other neurological disorders.
Shirodhara In this treatment a stream of medicated oils is poured evenly on the forehead and head of the person thereby helping to tone up the brain and improve memory. It is very soothing and cooling treatment that settles the mind and profoundly relaxes the central nervous system. Different liquid mediums are used for shirodhara in different diseases. Medicated oils, buttermilk, and decoctions of herbal extracts are some of the fluids, which are commonly used for this purpose. Shirodhara is effective in anxiety, depression, stress related problems, migraine headache, tension headaches, hypertension, paralysis, senile dementia and other neurological malfunctions. This is also recommended for rejuvenating one’s physical and mental constitution.
Pizzinchil In this procedure patient lies on wooden droni and medicated warm oil is poured continuously over the entire body in a very specific manner. It is done for a specific period of time by the help of two therapists under the supervision of physician. It is indicated in different kinds of arthritis, neurological conditions and muscular problems.
Udhwartanam is a kind of dry powder herbal massage, which cleanses the skin, increases circulation and promotes weight loss and it slims & trims the body. This massage is also helpful in improving the skin complexion.
Katibasti This is a local treatment which is very effective for the treatments of back problems, like low back ache, sciatica, slipped disc, Lumbar Spondylosis, etc. Medicated oil is kept on diseased part with the help of a tank made of black gram paste.
Manyabasti is also very much similar to the Kativasti treatment but is used for treating the problems of the neck and upper limb. Medicated oil is kept on the cervical region with the help of a tank made by black gram paste. Common problems like muscle spasm, rigidity in cervical region, frozen shoulder, cervical spondylosis, neck pain, etc can be effectively treated with this local treatment.
Netra Tarpana/Netra Ashchyotana Netrashchyotana
Netra Tarpana/Netra Ashchyotana Netrashchyotana is another effective treatment used for treating various eye problems. In today’s world due to environmental pollution, watching TV and working on computer our eyes are often strained and overtired which always have adverse effects on our vision and activity. Netra tarpana treatment has a relaxing effect on the eyes and surrounding tissue, it is carried out in conjunction with face massage. This treatment helps remove impurities from the eyes and improves vision. In this process ghrita or rose water is kept over the eyes by making a tank of black gram paste around the eyes.
Avagha Sweda Under this treatment patient is advised to sit in a bathtub, which contains decoctions of herbs, warm water or medicated oil for a prescribed period of time. It is useful in treating hemorrhoids fistula in ano, urinary disorders and diseases of pelvic region.
Urobasti and Hridbasti
Urobasti and Hridbasti Under this procedure medicated oil is kept for a certain period of time over the chest as well as on the cardiac region with the help of a tank made by black gram paste. It improves stiffness and pain in this reason and gives strength to heart.