Pancha Karma refers to five kinds of purificatory therapies
To cure diseases and to maintain health the minute channels and pathways of the body have to be free from stagnation of dosas and waste products. By means of pancha karma, the dosas and waste products which accumulate and block the pathways causing diseases are expelled from the body. Pancha karma is therefore recommended for healthy as well as for persons who suffer from various diseases. Pancha Karma treatment is thus unique to Ayurveda.
The following are the five purificatory therapies:
Vamanam: This is a cleansing treatment where the patient is made to vomit.This treatment expels the excess Kapha. Prior to the treatment the patient is required to undergo a preparation called snehapana and swedana .
Virechanam: This treatment refers to induced purging. Before purging the patient is subjected to snehana and swedana . The patient is then given a purgative to eliminate the excess pitta.
Vasti (Enema) : Vasti refers to two kinds of medicated enema . It is given to expel the aggaravated vata in the system. Vasti treatment pacifies all disorders as it is capable of eliminating impurities situated all over the body.
Siro virechana (nasyam) : Introducing medicine through nasal passage is called nasyam. This is an important therapy in Pancha karma. Nasal passage is the only direct access to the head. Nasyam is vital for all diseases occuring above the collar bone.
Raktha Mokshana (blood letting) : For disorders caused by impure blood, raktha mokshana treatment is done.
Preparation for Panchakarma: As a preparation for all cleansing treatments, the patient is first given a measured quantity of ghee/oil,etc. for 3 to 7 days. This procedure is called Sneha Paana. After this fomentation with medicinal herbs is done. This is known as swedana.
Purificatory therapies are used when doshas which are causative factors for diseases are severely aggravated. These therapies expel aggravated doshas from the body. This eliminates disease and restores health. Pancha karma treatment is designed to suit each individual according to their age, health, mental make up, physical constitution, seasons, etc.
Pancha Karma treatment besides curing specific diseases also helps in maintaining the health of the body.