Two of the eight branches of classical Ayurveda deal with surgery, but contemporary Ayurveda tends to stress attaining vitality by building a healthy metabolic system and maintaining good digestion and excretion. Ayurveda also focuses on exercise, yoga, and meditation.
Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the
body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being.
Developed thousands of years ago in India and recommended on a seasonal
basis, as well as when an individual feels out of balance or is experiencing illness.
Panchakarma is an elegant cleansing process that releases stored toxins and
restores the body’s innate healing ability. Resolving disease by removing impurities
is called Shodhana Chikitsa (Cleansing therapies), is the fundamental principle of
Panchakarma. It involves clearing the vitiated doshas that cause disease and
restoring the equilibrium between them.
Panchakarma is a type of treatment in Ayurveda which means five actions, where Pancha means five and Karma means actions. Through these five actions or purification measures, the body is cleansed of specific vitiated doshas and Ama (undigested food product), which forms as a result of everyday metabolic processes. Each purification measure has a specific action to impact particular imbalanced doshas and return them to their original balanced state, thus preventing further disorders.
Vamana is the unique procedure of eliminating the Doshas from the body through
the oral route by way of induction of vomiting. Kapha Dosha, the third among the
three Doshas is best eliminated by this procedure. The forcible expulsion of
undigested Pitta and Kapha through the upper root is known as Vamana by
definition. To begin with the client is treated with Oleation and Fomentation
procedures, and is followed by the induction of vomiting. The client is
then subjected to samsarjana karma to complete the procedure. The whole
procedure including the preoperative procedure as well as post-operative
procedure is called as Vamana karma.
Elimination of the vitiated Dosha from a route nearest to the vitiated site is the general rule. Accordingly if the accumulation of Dosha is observed in the upper half of the body, it is best eliminated by the upper i.e. oral route. To be more precise if the accumulation of Dosha is present in the gastric, it is best eliminated by the vamana karma. This procedure is said to be more efficacious in clearing the accumulation of Kapha Dosha. Best results from vamana karma may be achieved if administered during the spring. Following list reveals the conditions that may be treated by vamana karma.
Excretion of faecal matter and other accumulation of the Dosha through the rectal route is known as Virecana. Expulsion of the waste from the body is the verbal meaning of the word Virecana. Therefore all purificatory procedures are referred by the name Virecana. In the words like Sirovirecana, Sukra Virecana mutra Virecana, the word Virecana means mere expulsion. Conventionally this term refers to excretion of the waste through the rectal route. Among the three doshas the Pitta Dosha is best eliminated by this procedure. If the Kapha Dosha is accumulated in the Pitta sthana this is also best eliminated by the Virecana procedure. Unlike Vamana procedure this does not produce any embracement to the client and hence easy to administer. Depending upon the amount of elimination of Dosha Virecana is categorised into Mridu, Madhya and Tikshna. There are other classifications too mentioned by pioneers of the field overtime such as, Anulomana, Sramsana, Bedhana, etc.
Administration of Basti predominantly containing herbal decoction is known as Kasaya Vasti.
Administration of medicated oil or other fat through the rectal route in a prescribed dose is called as Anuvasana basti. Depending upon the variation in the amount of oil administered it is also known by the name Sneha basti, snihika basti or matra basti. The details of the same is discussed earlier. Anuvasana basti may be administered alone or in combination with niruha basti. The time of administration of the basti is not uniform in different seasons. Before planning the anuvasana basti one should note the following points. Client should be thoroughly examined to see that he is not suffering from any illness in which anuvasana basti is contraindicated. If the dominance of the vitiated Kapha Dosha is observed in any client the anuvasana basti is not ideal for administration. During the cold seasons anuvasana basti is administered during the day time. During the hot seasons the anuvasana basti is administered during the night hours. Anuvasana basti is always given immediately after the meals.
Administration of the medicines through nasal route is known as Nasya. As this is the nearest root, the diseases related to head is best treated by this procedure. Sirovirecana, Sirovireka and Murdhavirecana are the other names of this procedure. Depending upon the composition of the herbs used in the medication as well as variation in the pharmacological action the Nasya is classified into different types. The procedure of dropping the medicated oil into the nostrils is known by the name Navana Nasya. In Avapida Nasya herbs are pounded into a paste and then is squeezed to extract the juice which is dropped into the nostrils. In Dhmapana Nasya the herbs are in a fine powder form and is blown into the nostrils. Smoke emitting from burning the herbal medicines is breathed through the nostrils and is known as Dhuma Nasya. Medicated oil when dropped into the nostrils in a small and specific dose is known as Prathimarsha Nasya. And this Nasya is described as the most convenient form of Nasya as it does not lead to any discomfort or complications.
Shirodhara is a body therapy from Ayurveda. Warm oil is poured in a continuous stream over the forehead an area where nerves are highly concentrated. The oil saturates the forehead and scalp and penetrates into the nervous system. The gentle pressure and soothing warmth of the oil allow the body, mind and nervous system to experience a deep state of rest, similar to meditation. Shirodhara has a deep effect on the nervous system. This immediately calms, relaxes and has a cleansing effect on the mind and nerves.
Shirodhara can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, fatigue and hypertension. It relieves tension, worry, fear and headache as well as depression. It regulates mood and gives feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
Application of the heat to the lower back , sacral or lumbar region by using heated medicated oil is called as Kati basti. In Ayurvedic literature the term refers to enemata treatment. But the Kati basti does not involve any enemata procedure. Rather this is a localized form of Fomentation procedure. As warm oil is used to apply heat, this is considered as Snigdha Sweda. Kati basti is indicated in painful conditions of low back region. The procedure Fomentation itself is beneficial in relieving the pain, in addition to this the medicated oil that gets absorbed from the skin has unique therapeutic effect. This procedure is proved to be effective in diseases like, lumbar spondylosis, spondylolysthesis, disc prolapse, ankylosing sponditis, rheumatoid arthritis, sacroileitis, and lumbosacral strain.
The word Udvartana is self explanatory. The simple procedure of massaging the oil or powders of herbs in a direction opposite to the orientation of hair in the body is called as Udvartana. Body cleanse is another name for this procedure. It has been said in the Ayurvedic literature that, Udvartana opens the circulatory channels, facilitates the metabolic activity and improves the complexion.
Inducing of perspiration by a unique procedure of pouring warm medicated oil into the body is known as Kaya Seka. Depending upon the requirement this procedure may be performed to a portion of the body or whole body. Instead of the oil, warm herbal decoctions, medicated ghee, milk or such other liquids may be used for applying heat to the body. Medicated liquids with cold property herbs may be used for in the similar manner, especially in conditions like the imbalances of Pita Dosha. And in such conditions, as the procedure does not cause perspiration.
Like other Panchakarma procedures, this procedure is also indicated both in healthy persons as well as diseased persons. Oleation effect of the oil as well as therapeutic effects of the herbs used in the preparation of oil helps in maintenance of balance of doshas as well as correction of vitiation.
Inducing perspiration by using heated round packs of rice is referred as Sali pinda sweda. Here Brown rice (which grows in 60 days) is used in the procedure and hence the name Sali Pinda sweda. This is also popularly known as Navarakizi. The whole body below the neck is subjected to the Fomentation procedure in this unique type of swedana. More over to get the beneficial effects of Swedana, this is an easy and effective procedure in healthy persons, in clients suffering from imbalances of Vata Dosha/ neurological disorders, as well as in children.
Four therapists simultaneously performing the bag fomentation in a synchronised manner on different parts of the client's body is ideal. Two therapists stand on the left side of the client and the other two on the right side. Two therapists standing at the head end of the client on either sides performs fomentation on the upper part of the body. The other two therapists standing at the foot end side perform fomentation on the lower portions of the body on either sides. As an alternative two or one therapist may carry out this procedure but it takes comparatively more time.