What is Panchakarma?- it is the Ayurvedic System of Complete Detoxification and Cleansing
Panchakarma (“five fold cleansing therapy”) is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment.
The five therapeutic means (Panchakarma) of eliminating toxins from the body are the following:
- Vasti and
Through a series of therapies, deeply rooted stress and illness-causing toxins are removed from the body, while the doshas
or the energies that govern all biological functions are balanced.
Vamana is a medicated emesis therapy, which removes toxins of Dosha Kapha which are accumulated in the body, mostly in the respiratory tract. This is done in people having high imbalance of Dosha Kapha. Daily treatment involves detatching and mobilizing the toxins in an effort to finally eliminate them. Vamana is Indicated in bronchial asthma, chronic allergies, hay fever, vitiligo, psoriasis, hyperacidity, chronic indigestion, nasal congestion, edema, obesity, psychological disorders and skin disorders.
2. Virechana (Purgation)
Virechana is therapeutic purgation, which helps to eliminate Dosha Pitta toxins from the body- accumulated in the liver and gallbladder. It completely cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. It is a safe procedure without side effects. Virechana is indicated in chronic fever, diabetes, asthma, skin disorders (such as herpes), paraplegia, hemiplegia, joint disorders, digestive disorders, constipation, hyperacidity, vitiligo, psoriasis, headaches, elephantiasis and gynecological disorders.
3.Vasti (Enema or Colonic Irrigation)
Vasti (Enema) is considered as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments, since it cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha-through the colon. Vasti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenative treatment. Medicated oil or ghee, together with a herbal decoction is given as an enema to cleanse the colon and has the result to increase the muscle tone. This procedure is usually applied for 8 to 30 days, based on the medical condition of a person. Vasti is indicated in hemiplegia, paraplegia, colitis, convalescence, cervical spondylitis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, digestive disorders, backache, sciatica, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, obesity, piles, sexual debility and infertility.
4. Nasya (Nasal Purge)
Nasya involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse the accumulated Dosha Kapha toxins from the head and neck region. Based on the medical condition of a person, it can be given up to 30 days. Nasya is indicated in trigeminal neuralgia, Bell’s palsy, memory impairment, weakened eyesight, insomnia, excess mucus, hyper pigmentation in the face, pre-mature greying of hair, weakness of voice, headaches of various origin, hemiplegia, loss of smell (anosmia), loss of taste, frozen shoulder, migraine, stiffness of the neck, nasal allergies, nasal polyp, neurological dysfunctions, paraplegia, and sinusitis.
Raktamokshana is a procedure to cleanse the blood and is advised only in very serious conditions. It is not advisable during general Panchakarma. Most Ayurveda centers do not offer Raktamokshana.
The Panchakarma Diet
Panchakarma is only effective, if a special detoxifying diet is given along with the treatments. We, at Kerala Ayurveda Institute, are very much aware of this. Therefore, every individual undergoing Panchakarma, receives special diet instructions and healthy food from our own Kerala Café kitchen. This is monitored by our own Ayurvedic doctor.
Using the Ayurvedic Diet to keep being beautiful
Ayurvedic diet is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other naturally fiber-rich and wholesome food that not only provide lasting energy throughout the day, but keep the body toned and radiant. Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive tract by providing bulk, which in turn helps eliminate toxins and waste. When the intestines are regularly cleaned, the body does not become overloaded with waste material that would otherwise seek elimination through the skin.
Food low in fat, helps to keep the blood clean, thus enhancing good circulation. An efficient circulatory system works to cleanse and nourish the whole system, and naturally help weight control. Foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates give the body a quick boost of energy that is always followed by a physical (and emotional) low. This stresses the pancreas and adrenals, devitalizing the body. Refined carbohydrates deplete the body of minerals, which are so important for all vital functions. It is the combination of refined carbohydrates and excess protein, which forces toxins to the skin surface in the form of pimples.
Food high in minerals keeps the body looking alive and charged with energy. Minerals greatly contribute to that intangible radiant, fresh, and magnetic look of a person in good health. Low protein diets weaken the body and cause a hollow, sunken look to the face. Diets high in animal proteins increase the toxicity of waste products in the body due to their slow transit time (it takes meat about three days to completely be digested and leave the system.) This slows digestion and depletes the body of minerals. Vegetable proteins, on the other hand, fully nourish the body, being quickly and efficiently metabolized. Ayurveda has the means of making meals more digestible with such spices as garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper.
Diets high in salt tend to make the mind and body stiff and tight. Having a constricting influence on the body, it tends to slow circulation and create retention of fluid. This can create that sunken effect under the eyes and make someone look puffy. In Ayurveda, a very low salt diet is suggested whenever there are skin problems. Strong stimulants or depressives such as coffee, sodas, or alcohol stress the body’s organs and make skin loose and flabby, furrowing the brow and producing bags under the eyes in the long run. Fresh organic foods are nutritionally the richest, coming from healthy soil and thus carry the strongest, vital energy contributing to that radiant healthy glow.
Procedures for Health
ABHYANGA: Ayurveda’s principal healing tool and the “Mother of all Massages”
It is a whole body massage given with herbal oils customized to your body type- to detoxify, nourish and revitalize the body tissues (Dhatus). Abhyanga has much deeper and more far-reaching effects than ordinary massage using mineral oils and lotions. Abhyanga achieves deepest healing effects by naturally harmonizing Mind, Body and Spirit. This massage is usually given by two therapists for one hour and is usually followed by a herbal bath or medicated steam bath (Sweda). It is one of the most rejuvenating treatments of Ayurveda.
Abhyanga increases tissue strength, improves blood circulation, rejuvenates the whole body, removes cellulite, beautifies the skin, is anti-aging, improves quality of sleep, promotes vitality, reduces Dosha Vata imbalance, reduces stress and eliminates toxins.
SHIRODHARA: Revitalizing the central nervous system
In Shirodhara, medicated warm oil / herbal decoctions / medicated milk / buttermilk is continuously poured, in a steady stream on the forehead for 20 to 30 minutes. This procedure often induces a completely relaxing and rejuvenating mental and physical state. It deeply revitalizes the central nervous system and melts away stress.
Indicated in Anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hypertension, diabetic neuropathy, problems of central nervous system, hemiplegia, paraplegia, weakness of the sense organs, insomnia, pre-mature graying of the hair, hair loss, mental retardation, paralysis and stress.
SWEDA: Balancing the doshas
To balance the doshas and ailments of a person, Sweda or medicated herbal steam bath opens the pores and flushes and cleanses the system through the skin. It is usually very effective when done immediately after Abhyanga.
: Reduces pain in the body, eliminates toxins, promotes lightness, reduces stiffness, beautifies the skin and removes the cellulite.
PINDA SWEDA: Strengthening the joints through leaf bundle massage
A highly rejuvenating treatment in which fresh leaves are fried with several other herbal ingredients, tied into a bundle and dipped into warm medicated oil and simultaneously massaged by four therapists all over the body for one hour, it is applied after Abhyanga.
Indicated in chronic back pain, dysfunction or loss of function of a part or whole limb, joint stiffness, joint swellings, muscular pain, sciatica, spondylosis, sprains and cramps. It also has anti-aging and rejuvenating actions.
UDVARTANA: Weight reduction through herbal massage
This is a specialized herbal treatment for weight reduction. A herbal paste or powder is applied all over the body and deeply massaged with specific movements by two therapists for one hour.
: Toning the skin and muscle after childbirth or weight loss, removal of stubborn cellulite, obesity, weight reduction, imparts good complexion to the skin, revitalizes the sense of touch, removes dosha Kapha toxins from the body.
: Profoundly soothing and relaxing head massage
A soothing massage of the head, neck and shoulder for 15 minutes using warm herbal oils.
: Helps those suffering from insomnia, brings sound sleep, cools the eyes, relieves headache, removes dandruff, arrests pre-mature graying and hair loss,
PADA-ABHYANGA: Stimulating the acu-pressure points
A very stimulating massage of the lower legs and the feet for 30 minutes, to activate the acu-pressure points.
: Improves the eyes, soothes and cools the eyes, alleviates burning of the eyes, Induces deep sleep, improves luster of the skin, smoothens cracked skin of the feet, lowers hyper tension, relieves tiredness of the feet.
TALAM: Relieving migraine and headache
A herbal paste in oil is applied to the head for 45 minutes.
: For insomnia, gives cooling effect to the head, burning sensation of the scalp, improves eyesight, skin disorders, and relieves migraine and headache.
JANU VASTI: Improving circulation
In this treatment the knee is bathed in warm medicated oils or herbal decoctions for 20 or 30 minutes. It promotes the strength of the knee joint by improving the circulation.
: Relieves pain of knee joint, good for osteo arthritis of the knee joint.
KATI VASTI: Relieving lower back pain
A special technique aimed at providing relief to the lower back using warm medicated oils or herbal decoctions maintained over the lower back for 20 to 30 minutes.
: For chronic and acute backaches, prolapsed inter-vertebral disc, lumbar spondylitis, osteoporosis, sciatica.
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