An Introduction to Ayurvedic Panchakarma
According to Ayurveda, ill health is caused by an imbalance in the Doshas, the energy forces at work within us; it is, therefore, the aim of Ayurvedic treatments to re-establish the harmony between them. The Ayurveda system of medicine believes illness can be treated and prevented through a combination of Panchakarma therapy and nutrition. Panchakarma is known as the original Ayurveda treatment and is a special detoxifying cure which aims to rid the body of harmful deposits and restore balance to the Doshas. The treatment is used for a manner of different conditions including rheumatism, cardiovascular diseases, chronic headaches, anxiety, stress, metabolic disorders, allergies, and more.
Before treatment can begin a diagnosis must first take place by an Ayurvedic doctor. The diagnosis may consist of different procedures such as pulse diagnosis, a consultation with your doctor, and an assessment of your physical features to reveal your constitution type and the state of your Doshas. Once this has been established an individual treatment plan will be created to target your specific issues.
Panchakarma therapy is divided into 3 main phases: Purvakarma which are the preparatory measures, Panchakarma which is the main treatment, and Paschatkarma which is the post-treatment phase.
Purvakarma – Preparatory Measures
The first phase in Panchakarma aims to activate the Doshas and their associated metabolic waste products found in the bodily tissues. The activation process is performed with the help of Ayurvedic herbs and spices, and the external and internal administering of oils. The internal application may involve the consumption of a purified medicinal butter called Ghee every morning, which penetrates into the cells where it liberates the imbalanced Doshas. The external application takes place in the form of various oil massages which cause the toxins stored in the bodily tissues to be excreted. To conclude the first phase, the toxins dissolved by the oil treatments are flushed out of the bodily tissue and passed through the gastro-intestinal tract using procedures designed to make you sweat, such as herbal steam treatments.
Panchakarma – Five Time Purification
Following on from the preparatory measures, the main phase, Panchakarma, aims to cleanse the body of the excessive Doshas by releasing them as toxins. There are five methods involved in this process: Vamana which is therapeutically induced vomiting, a laxative therapy known as Virechana, Vasti which is colon therapy, a nasal and sinus treatment called Nasya, and Rakatmokshana a blood purification therapy. However, nowadays induced vomiting and blood purification are rarely used; instead, laxatives and colon therapy are the more common treatments.
Paschatkarma – Post Treatment
The final stage is the regenerative phase where the effects of the treatments are most strongly felt. Paschatkarma aims to strengthen the body following the intense treatments underwent in the previous stage. The methods include using recipes which incorporate certain plants into them, light oil massages, and a structured diet tailored to the individual’s constitution type. A rejuvenating treatment called Rasayana, yoga, and meditation is also used in this stage.
As well as Panchakarma, Ayurveda therapy also emphasises the importance of nutrition, with it believed that your diet has an important role to play in balancing the Doshas. The digestive tract is viewed as the ‘Flame of Life’ because of its role in transforming food into energy and structural components for the body. To be at optimum health the digestive tract must be balanced through the use of a diet suited to your constitution type. A food plan that incorporates all flavours will be created and specially tailored to suit your body and constitution type to restore balance to the Doshas.
With the treatments undertaken and tailored diet observed, the Doshas should rebalance and you should subsequently experience improved health, as well as having a deeper insight into how your body works which will aid you in sustaining the benefits of your treatment.
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