Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word which means “the perfection of knowledge”, or “science of life”. Ayurveda is more than just a means of taking care of one’s physical health. It is a complete way of life that guides one’s actions and decisions in all aspects of life. It is a spiritual science that considers the body, mind and spirit to be one connected entity. According to Ayurveda, the human body is a self-healing mechanism. By taking care of our bodies, minds and spirits, we can increase the natural abilities of our bodies to fight off disease and illness. Kerala is renowned globally for its ayurvedic treatment centers and is a leading state in Ayurveda treatment. Ayurveda treatments in Kerala are highly sought after and most of the Ayurvedic centers in Kerala practice it.
What is panchakarma treatment
Panchakarma is a “complete detoxification” treatment, but it is much more than a cleansing or a detox. When we experience a detoxification, we rid the body of toxins, but we do not rebalance the body’s systems. When we do panchakarma, we rebalance the body systems, and in addition to ridding the body of toxins, we add in homoeopathy to help the body regain its natural balance. The best example is the liver. In the western world, we tend to think of the liver as a filter or a garbage disposal, which it is. But in the Ayurvedic world, the liver is the king of the body. Panchakarma is a very integral part of Ayurveda. It is the process wherein the body organs are cleansed and the body is lightened. The treatments of Panchakarma include internal cleansing, detoxification and medication on body systems. The treatment is done by using herbal medicines and oil massage. A good Panchakarma treatment is beneficial in curing diseases like constipation, obesity, high and low blood pressure, respiratory disorders, high cholesterol levels and insomnia. It also helps in weight loss and improves digestion. It is your blood purifier and blood builder; it is the master of the body. When we have a healthy liver, everything in the body is in balance. If the liver is out of balance (and I think most of us are today), then everything else in the body is also out of balance. Because of the synergistic effect of the body, when one thing is off, everything else is off. So if you are “mostly out of balance,” then you are automatically “all out of balance.” Panchakarma is commonly practiced in Kerala. There are basically five different types of Panchakarma treatment in Kerala. Three main components of the panchakarma process
- Poorva karma – preparation process
- Pradhana karma – Main detoxification procedure
- Paschat karma – post panchakarma therapies
1)Poorva karma – preparation process
The preparation phase is the first and arguably most important part of the cleansing process. It’s designed to help your body get rid of any imbalances and toxins that it may be storing. This phase includes a few different steps, all of which are meant to help soften and encourage the release of stored toxicity.
Oleation: Oleation is the process of using oil or an oily substance on the body, and is a popular practice in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic oils are typically made from natural ingredients like plants and minerals, and are mostly used for external application.
Fomentation:This treatment involves the use of heat to produce sweat in order to detoxify the body. This is usually done after an oleation treatment to help the tissues become more flexible. The heat from the fomentation treatment helps to melt any profound established toxins that were relaxed during the oleation, and :allows them to be flushed out of the body.
2)Pradhana karma – Main detoxification procedure
The five different therapies in this stage are:
Vaman: Panchakarma is a type of Ayurvedic treatment that helps to cleanse the body of toxins. One of the ways this is done is by inducing vomiting through the oral administration of herbal emetics. This helps to remove accumulated doshas, especially vitiated kapha dosha, from the body.
Virechan: Virechan is a type of Ayurvedic treatment in which toxins are removed from the body by purging the bowels. In this treatment, the patient is first given oleation and fomentation treatments, then a natural purgative to clear the intestines and remove toxins from the body. Virechan is primarily used to treat Pitta conditions such as herpes zoster, jaundice, colitis, and celiac disease.
Nasya: Nasya is the Ayurvedic medicine which is applied using the nasal route, where steam or medicated smoke is blown into the nostrils. It is the most powerful of all the purification methods in Ayurveda, since it is the easiest way to reach the upper Dhatus and therefore is considered highly therapeutic.
Basti: Basti is an important component of Ayurvedic treatment for many disorders, including constipation, hemorrhoids and uterine disorders. If a person does not have any obstructed areas of the colon, just plain water can be used for basti. The purpose of basti is to increase the amount of water that the colon can hold, both by water retention and by flushing out the walls of the colon. The ideal amount of liquid for a basti is about 30 ml. This can be increased gradually after the first basti, if there is no problem with retention of liquid.
Raktamokshan:This treatment helps cleanse the blood and is effective against diseases and infections caused by impure blood. It can be done on a specific area or for the entire body. This treatment is especially useful for different skin infections, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and also for localized problems such as abscesses and pigmentation.
3)Paschat karma – post panchakarma therapies
The post-therapy procedures, also considered the rejuvenation phase, is the time to implement the tools that have been taught to help sustain the new and improved you. After you’ve completed your therapy and you’re feeling like a brand new person, it’s important to continue using the tools that have been taught to you in order to sustain your progress. Ayurveda stresses the importance of keeping your agni burning brightly to prevent any unhealthy buildup. You can do this by regularly practicing yoga, meditation, and eating a dosha-specific diet. Also, don’t forget to perform daily abhyanga and pranayama!