From oleation and natural oils to massage, if your health is ailing, Panchakarma may be the answer. As an exceptional way to treat chronic illnesses, detox the body and rejuvenate your internal system, Panchakarmas holistic benefits for restoring vitality are superior to some modern medical treatments. Ayurvedic medicine is from the Vedic culture and has been practiced for centuries. It’s also becoming popular in the states. Here’s what makes this effective practice essential to healing the mind and body.
What is Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is a purging process that removes toxins from the body and helps to promote healing. Because this portion of Ayurvedic detoxification can help remove chronic illnesses (eczema, Spondylitis, psoriasis), it’s useful when our Agni (fire) is not strong. At times our digestive energy or process slows down and it’s more difficult for our bodies to remove waste and create healthy tissues.
Your Ojas and Imbalances
Our body produces what’s called Ojas or a substance that builds up from digested food. When food is non-sattvic, your body can’t easily convert it into Ojas. This happens if you eat food that’s oily, processed or if you eat meat.
When your body is in a state of bliss, it can easily digest the foods that you’ve eaten and it’s free from harmful toxins and bacteria. Toxins are easily expelled through the urine or sweat from the body. Other waste you expel with bowel movements after digesting food.
Aside from expelling waste, bacteria and toxins, another reason you might need Panchakarma is when you’re under stress or dealing with difficult emotional imbalances. These all contribute to our body-mind connection being in a state of imbalance. Once this occurs, you might see the results through mental problems like stress, panic attacks or anxiety. It might also come out in physical life where you gain weight, suffer from ailments like psoriasis or you might suffer from hormonal imbalances.
Why You Need Panchakarma Treatment Detoxes to Remove Toxins (Ama)
To help bring your body back into balance, you may need ayurvedic detoxification. Each person’s body type is made up of different elements. The elements are fire, earth, air, ether and water and sometimes you might have a combination of these separate elements in your dosha.
While the 3 doshas are Kapha, Pitta and Vata, eating the wrong foods or working in high-stress environments can cause your dosha to become out of balance. What’s actually occurring is you’re going against your dosha body composition or Prakriti. As an example, if Pitta or Kapha has an imbalance, it might lead to diabetes.
To keep a better sense of balance, the toxins (or Ama) need to be removed. Ama represents sticky material that accumulates in the blood vessels and lymphatic system. Because it can clog areas in the circulatory system, if it builds up, it can cause a person to be more susceptible to different diseases. Hence, Panchakarma can detox and cleanse the body both internally and externally.
Derived from the Sanskrit root words Pancha (five) and Karma (activities), there are 5 therapy steps involved in this detoxification process to bring the body and mind back to a more balanced state. These include Virechana, Basti, Vamana, Rakta Moksha and Nasya.
Panchakarma works to open the arteries and other channels that might be blocked or clogged. Hence, it becomes easy to remove toxins after a 5-21 day treatment. The Panchakarma treatment duration varies based on the severity of a person’s diagnosis when they see an ayurvedic specialist. To determine this, Purvakarma is first done. This is a body purification that cleanses the body through Snehana (oil massage) and Swedana (steam).
It occurs in 2 stages:
- Snehana takes place over 5 to 7 days and uses warm oil to help remove toxins from the body. The targeted area is the GI or gastrointestinal tract which helps prep the person for Panchakarma.
- Swedana occurs directly after oil massage to help further remove toxins and open the pores. It’s recommended that you drink plenty of water to help flush the toxins from your body.
After the purification takes place, Panchakarma is next. The treatment steps are designed to remove toxins in the nose, skin, mouth and rectum.
The steps include:
In this stage of Panchakarma, the person receives an oil-based enema to remove toxins in the colon and help reduce Vata (dosha combining ether and air). Because Vata controls urine, bile, feces and other excrements, any medications or solutions to the anus/rectum will affect Vata or Asthi Dhatu (bone tissue). That’s because the colon’s mucus membrane is here where the bone (periosteum) covering is located. Hence, any medication or herbal solution given rectally affects Asthi Dhatu and can correct disorders the person might have with Vata.
This anal cleaning uses herbs in a solution sent through a tube to cleanse the intestines. Any undigested waste or Vata that is left in the body is then removed. As Vata can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and other disorders, removing excess Vata is essential. The person will experience less gas and bloating after this procedure. They may also feel calmer as they have less emotional grief or sad feelings.
This herbal solution step during Panchakarma causes induced bowel movements to remove toxins from targeted areas. These include the small intestines, stomach, gallbladder, kidneys and liver. As an example of how it works, it removes toxins like bile (Pitta or heat) in the bladder, liver and intestines.
People that have jaundice, stomach problems, chronic fevers, indigestion, biliary vomiting GI issues and acid reflux may benefit from this. If bile (Pitta) builds up in the blood, it can lead to rashes, flatulence, bloating, acne and auto-immune problems.
This therapy causes loose bowel movements and it removes stubborn or resistant emotions in the person. Once complete, they will feel less heat in their body and a sense of lightness. They may also feel lighter as they’re carrying less stool in their system. Avoid eating foods that cause imbalances in your predominant dosha/humor to avoid relapses.
With this step, warm herbal oils are used to clean out the nose (the brain’s doorway). This area, which is close to the brain (motor function, sensory function, mental activities, memory, concentration), Ayurveda Panchakarma is essential as Prana (life force through nerve energy) comes in through the air and is filtered into the body. If Prana is deranged, the result is memory loss, convulsions or headaches. Oil gently lubricates the interior of the nose and gives lubrication to the brain, eyes and ears. It can reduce sinus problems, brain fog, allergy symptoms and help alleviate snoring. It can also lead to more mental clarity and a sense of calm.
To achieve this, use 2 drops of the herbal oil in both nostrils with a dropper. Then use a clean finger and ensure your nails are cut short to avoid scratching and tearing the inside of the nostrils. Protecting this area is essential to blocking harmful viruses, bacteria and airborne pathogens that can come into the bloodstream.
In this step, leeches are used for bloodletting to withdraw (suck out) toxins (Pitta) from the bloodstream. Because toxins can get into the blood, the leeches can help clean it which is very hard to do with other methods.
Having toxins in the blood can cause acne, rashes and eczema. After this detox, the result is the person will have a better complexion and not have itching or burning skin. When completing this treatment, avoid spicy, fermented and sour foods, yogurt, alcohol, sugar, salt and marijuana.
At this stage, the person swallows an herbal solution usually with saline water. It might also be an herbal solution. They swallow this 4-8 times to elicit controlled vomiting. This step removes extra Kapha (mucus, phlegm, congestion) in the airway and lungs.
Left untreated, the person might suffer from colds, asthma, coughing or bronchitis. It can also remove suppressed or hidden emotions from the body. Additionally, the lungs can become more clear and the nasal passageways and sinuses open. The voice can also become more clear and the mind is calmer after this purging. This stage is especially helpful for those with diabetes, asthma or digestive disorders.
After Vamana, the person should feel relaxed and able to breathe more clearly as there’s less congestion and phlegm. Consume a light diet and avoid raw vegetables and fruit to reduce the risk of infection. Activities might include fasting, rest, herbal cigarettes and allowing natural urges (passing gas, going to the bathroom, coughing and sneezing).
Panchakarma is a way to purge bacteria, waste and toxins from the body. This detoxification process uses massage with oils, enemas, steam, and other treatments to promote healing and re-establish your mind-body connection.
Costs vary by doctor and the duration of the treatment plan. Some Ayurvedic practices might charge $750 per day for custom Panchakarma treatments. Others might charge a flat fee of $2,800 for the consultation, Purva karma and panchakarma treatment plan.
Panchakarma is a detoxification process that’s been part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It uses herbs and oils to help restore the body, purify it, detoxify it and rejuvenate it.
Panchakarma therapy treatments can range from 5 to 21 days. Some Panchakarma treatments can extend for up to 60 days depending on the person’s condition.
During Panchakarma when digestion is on a break and there’s less fire in the body, the person is eating a lighter diet. Hence, they may lose more weight. They might have moong dal or rice throughout the day. They might also have more ghee and drink ginger tea and hot water during the detoxification process.