Panchakarma Treatment – Questions and Answers

What is Panchakarma treatment?

Panchakarma treatment is a set of five treatment procedures followed in Ayurveda in Ayurvedic treatments. They are –
1. Vamana  – (Emesis therapy)

2. Virechana – (Purgation therapy)

3 & 4. Basti – (two types of rectal enema)

5. Nasya (Nasal drops)

Can anyone have Panchakarma treatment?

Except a few categories of people like too elderly people, children, pregnant woman etc, anyone can have Panchakarma treatments.

Can a normal person without any diseases have Panchakarma treatments?

Yes, even a healthy person can have Panchakarma treatment for proper health maintenance for  a long time.

Can I do Panchakarma myself?

Self medication is dangerous, be it any medicine system. Panchakarma is a job of the specialist. Hence it is to be had under the supervision of an expert Ayurvedic doctor.

Does it require hospitalization? Do I need to get admitted to Ayurvedic hospital to have Panchakarma treatment?

You need not necessarily get admitted to Ayurvedic hospital to have Panchakarma treatments. You can come to the Ayurvedic clinic / Ayurvedic hospital when the Ayurvedic doctor calls you and go back home after finishing the treatment.

Can I go to work, while I am on Panchakarma treatment?

If your work does not involve much of physical activity, then you can definitely go to work, while you are on Panchakarma treatment. Generally a person undergoing Panchakarma would need some rest.
Can I decide about the choice of Panchakarma?
Choosing the effective Panchakarma treatment is the job of a specialist Ayurvedic doctor. So, you can enjoy the treatment rather than worrying about the selection of the treatment. 🙂

What are the preparatory procedure to Panchakarma treatment ?

There are very simple preparatory procedures to Panchakarma treatment like correction of digestive power, etc, which your Ayurvedic doctor will explain you in detail.

What are the post Panchakarma procedure?

After undergoing Panchakarma treatment, there is a set of diet and lifestyle rules to be followed for a period of 3 – 7 days to enjoy the maximum benefits of Panchakarma.

Does Panchakarma alone will cure disease?

By Panchakarma treatment, more than 50 – 60 % of Ayurvedic treatment gets completed. But to treat the disease completely, Ayurvedic medicines will be required for a specific amount of time.

Do I require to undergo all the five Panchakarma procedures?

  • If you are suffering with a disease and your doctor decides on a one or two of the five Panchakarma treatments, then that is sufficient.
  • If you are a healthy person, then consult a doctor and get his advice. In most of the cases, not all the five are required.
  • Usually one or two Panchakarma treatments are advised.

How long a total Panchakarma therapy course may take?

Depends upon your health, disease condition and doctors advice – usually 5 – 15 days.

Generally who can not have Panchakarma therapy?

Pregnant woman, kids,  elders –  are advised not to have Panchakarma treatment.

For a healthy person, what are the benefits of Panchakarma?

For a healthy person, Panchakarma treatment helps to

  • Maintain, gain weight or lose weight (based on the person’s needs),
  • To get rid of pimples or other seasonal skin infections
  • To get rid of seasonal respiratory conditions like common cold, fever etc.
  • Improve immunity
  • Helps in rejuvenation and relaxation.
  • Helps relieve from any body toxins, free radicals etc.
  • Improves the health of sense organs.
  • Supports normal hormonal balance etc.

Depression

Our positive living, anti-depression program is a hands-on approach through Positive guidance, Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation therapy with a goal to eliminate present or future dependency on medication.

Here are some studies done on this topic and the benefits of Yoga. We have combined Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation to holistically solve depression related problems. It has been so successful that we have helped several people from eliminating years of dependency on medication!

 Empirical evidence

Each year more than 25 million Americans are treated with antidepressants. Effective? Yes, but with added stress and side effects such as, weight gain, lethargy, and sexual dysfunction, have brought into question whether medication is the only solution. It may not be. Recent studies have shown evidence that the practice of yoga—postures, breathing techniques, meditation—has beneficial effects on the emotional well-being and mental acuity of depression sufferers. And, best of all, without any of the side effects.

A recent study in Scandinavian, conducted by Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., measured brain waves before and after a two-hour Kriya Yoga class. It found that alpha waves (relaxation) and theta waves (unconscious memory, dreams, emotions) increased by 40 percent. This means the brain is more deeply relaxed after yoga and the subjects are in better contact with their sub-consciousness and emotions. The Scandinavian study is significant for depression sufferers because after the yoga session, alpha waves increased in the right temporal lobe.

Previous research has shown that depressed, introverted people typically have more alpha activity in the left frontal-temporal region, while optimistic, extroverted people have more alpha activity on the right. That theta waves also increased supports the notion that yoga works to alleviate depression not only by increasing brain chemicals that contribute to a feel-good response—such as endorphins, enkephalins, and serotonin—but also by providing greater access to feelings.

Another study, conducted jointly by the Philadelphia-based Jefferson Medical College and Yoga Research Society, found that practitioners experienced a significant drop in cortisol levels after a single yoga class. High cortisol levels are characteristics of stress and serious depression. A marked decrease in cortisol and increase in the hormone prolactin—which is believed by many professionals to be the key in producing the anti-depressant effect of electroshock therapy—was also demonstrated in tests conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India, using the breathing technique Sudharshan Kriya (SKY). In several major controlled studies involving adults with major depressive disorder, SKY produced dramatic relief from depression accompanied by beneficial changes in brain and hormone function.

What about long-term effects? So far, most of the longer studies have been done in the area of mindfulness-based training; the most recent one was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (vol. 68, 2000). Here, mindfulness-based stress reduction was combined with group cognitive therapy as an eight-week treatment in the prevention of recurrence of major depression. In follow-up testing a year later, the treatment group had a significantly lower relapse rate than did the control group.

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Beauty Therapy

Beauty Treatments at Ayurveda Retreat

We offer beauty treatments that are derived from the ancient texts of Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Sutras for the mind, body and soul. They are carefully selected and prescribed by the doctor. Many ancient temples in India display the most beautiful carvings of women enjoying these beauty treatments.

 Ayurveda and Beauty

As in any holistic medicine, inner and outer radiance and aging are closely related. The more we nurture ourselves, the more radiant we become mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally, regardless of our particular body shape or proportions. Ayurveda emphasizes beauty as being a product of the four dimensions, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional, with very high importance given to self-knowledge, positive environment, development of positive routines and habits.

The secret in retaining youth and beauty is ensuring the proper circulation of vital life fluids and the regular discharge of waste materials through therapies such as Panchakarma and Kaya Chikitsa.

Nothing helps the body more than a routine care and nurturing through tools such as massage. In the Ayurvedic tradition, massage is considered just as essential to overall health and beauty as good diet and positive lifestyle.

An Ayurvedic facial massage activates deep centers of the brain, reflex points and facial circulation to totally soothe the body. Tensions in the neck, shoulders and face are freed and energy is rebalanced from head to toe. Herbal extracts and essential oils are to be added for their additional healing properties and pleasant fragrances.

 Using an Ayurvedic Diet to keep yourself beautiful

Ayurvedic diet comprises of 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 digested material that would otherwise seek elimination through the skin. Foods low in fat help to keep the blood clean and enhance good blood circulation. Thus an efficient circulatory system works to cleanse and nourish the whole system, and naturally help weight control. Food 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.

Foods high in minerals keep 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. Foods rich in vegetable proteins- 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 spices such 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 a person 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. This contributes to a radiant, rich glow in general.

 Ayurveda Mukh Soundarya

A facial beauty treatment to improve color and complexion of the skin using gentle Ayurvedic herbal face packs, face wash and cream.

 Mehndi (Henna)

It is a traditional artwork on hands and feet. It has always been highly popular in India, but now, people all over the world decorate their hands and feet with artistic designs made from mehndi paste. It has been a tradition to apply mehndi during festivals and wedding ceremonies. The special ayurvedic significance lies in its effect of balancing Pitta. Enjoy our highly talented therapist – artists performing this traditional artwork on your hands and feet.

 Ayurveda Kesh Soundarya (Hair Care)

Conditioning treatment for your Hair using various herbal powders and pastes.

 Ayurveda Pada Soundarya (Pedicure)

An ayurvedic herbal foot treatment using various herbal pastes, decoctions and creams.

 Ayurveda Hatha Soundarya (Manicure)

An Ayurvedic herbal treatment for enhancing the youthfulness of your hands and arms using various herbal pastes, decoctions and creams.

Panchakarma Detoxification

Panchakarma – Ayurveda’s Complete Detoxification and Cleansing

Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment. Panchakarma means “five therapies”. These 5 therapeutic treatments eliminate toxins from the body, they are : Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti and Raktamoskshana. The series of these five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions).

 Panchakarma Diet

Panchakarma is effective only if special detoxification diet is consumed along with the treatments. We at Ayurveda Retreat are very aware of this and every individual undergoing Panchakarma receives special diet which is monitored every day by the doctor. Additional treatments may be recommended by the doctor and provided at no extra charge.

 Vamana

Vamana is a medicated emesis therapy which removes Kapha toxins collected in the body and the respiratory tract. This is given to people with high Kapha imbalance. Daily treatment involves loosening and mobilizing the toxins in an effort to finally eliminate them.

Benefits of Vamana: Bronchial Asthma, Chronic Allergies, Hay Fever, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Hyperacidity, Chronic Indigestion Nasal Congestion, Edema, Obesity, Psychological disorders, Skin disorders.

 Virechana (Purgation)

Virechana is medicated purgation therapy which removes Pitta toxins from the body that are accumulated in the liver and gallbladder. It completely cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. It is a safe procedure without side effects. Benefits of Virechana help root out Chronic Fever, Diabetes, Asthma, Skin disorders such as Herpes, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia Joint disorders, Digestive disorders, Constipation, Hyperacidity, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Headaches, Elephantiasis and Gynecological disorders.

 Basti (Enema or Colonic Irrigation)

Basti (Enema) is considered as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments. It cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the 3 doshas : Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Basti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction is given as enema to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone. This treatment is provided for several days, based on the medical condition of a person.

Benefits: For Hemiplegia, Paraplegia, Colitis, Convalescence, Cervical Spondylosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, Digestive disorders, Backache & Sciatica, Hepatomegaly & Splenomegaly, Obesity, Piles, Sexual Debility & Infertility.

 Nasya (Nose Cleaning)

Nasya involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse accumulated 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 benefits include Trigeminal Neuralgia, Bel’s Palsy, improves memory & eye sight, insomnia, elimination of excess mucus, hyper pigmentation in the face, pre-mature graying of hair, clarity of voice, headaches of various origins, Hemiplegia, loss of smell and taste, frozen shoulder, migraine, stiffness of the neck, nasal allergies, nasal polyp, neurological dysfunctions, Paraplegiar and sinusitis.

 Raktamokshana

Raktamokshana is a procedure to cleanse the blood and is advised only in extremely rare conditions. It is NOT advised during general Panchakarma. Most Ayurveda Centers including ours do not offer Raktamokshana due to the high risk of infection involved in blood cleansing.

 Ayurvedic purification procedures

It has been scientifically proven that natural purification treatments can successfully eliminate environmentally toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB’s) and pesticides from our body, without damaging it or causing side effects.

A study at the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa in collaboration with a special laboratory at Colorado University demonstrated that classical Panchakarma Treatment eliminated up to 50% of the detectable toxins in the blood.

 Chemicals injure health

The world’s largest facility for substance identification, the Chemical Abstracts Service in Columbus, Ohio, USA currently has more than 13 million artificial substances registered. At least 100,000 of these industrial commodities combine into a chemical “soup” which we constantly absorb through food, air and skin. Experts calculate that in Germany 30% of the population suffer from environmentally induced diseases.

Most of the today’s environmental toxins are lipophils that accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body. These fat-soluble toxins are associated with a range of diseases such as hormone disruption, immune system suppression, allergies, diseases of the liver and skin, various types of cancer, neurological illness, reproductive disorders and deformities.

 The study

The study consisted of two parts: a cross-sectional comparison and a longitudinal pre and post treatment. It was designed to examine the level of contamination by toxins in the population and the effectiveness of Panchakarma treatment in eliminating these poisons.

 Panchakarma Treatment

Several modalities in the Ayurveda detoxification procedure use non-toxic, lipophilic materials, such as clarified butter in the oleation phase and herbalized sesame oil in the massage and enema treatments. These traditional methods are believed to sequentially loosen and remove lipid soluble toxicants from their deposited sites and stimulate their elimination.

 Part I – The cross-sectional study

88 subjects, age 45 years and older, participated in the cross-sectional study. 48 had previously undergone the detoxification procedure an average of 18 times and 40 had not. Blood samples from both groups were sent to the Analytical Laboratory in the Department of Environmental Health at Colorado State University that was blind to the treatment status of the subjects.

PCBs and Pesticides Found in Blood Samples: Blood samples from both cross-sectional groups were assayed for 17 lipophilic toxicants, including 9 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and 8 pesticides and metabolites, such as DDE, a by-product of DDT. The specific PCBs and pesticides that were studied had either been previously linked to major health problems or had been of high concern for their potential toxicity.

The results showed that PCBs and several other pesticides in the significantly lower in the blood levels of the detoxification group than that of the control group.

 Part II – The longitudinal study

In the longitudinal study, blood samples from 15 subjects who participated in the Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH) Ayurvedic detoxification procedure were assayed, pre and post treatment, by Colombia State University Analytical Laboratory.

The results of the two-month longitudinal study showed that PCBs and Beta-HCH levels were reduced by 46 percent and 58 percent respectively in the MVAH detoxification group. Without this intervention, the expected drop in PCBs and Beta-HCH over two months would be only a fraction of one percent. Previously, no method had been scientifically verified to reduce levels of these lipid-soluble toxicants in the human body without causing negative side effects.

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Beauty Consultation

We offer you free Beauty Consultation. We analyze your skin type and advise you products the most suitable for your skin. We offer wellness for mind, body, emotions, soul and spirit. We offer a free consultation prior to any Beauty Treatments, to help you and us assess your individual needs. Your skin is what the world sees as you, and sometimes it just has a mind of its own. Let our Beauty Therapists identify and address your individual skin concerns. We will give your face and neck a gentle cleanse.

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Panchakarma

Panchakarma is a sanskrit word, which means five karmas. Pancha is five and karma means procedures. Panchakarma are the five main cleansing procedures advised by ayurveda. This is a specialty of ayurveda, because no other medical science in this world has described anything similar to this. Ayurveda has a specific approach in treating diseases, which is different from all other systems of medicine. Instead of relaying only on medicines, ayurveda advocates that periodic detoxification of the body is extremely essential. The diseases treated in this way are cured completely and permanently.

 

In diseases like asthma, hypertension, heart diseases, skin diseases (especially psoriasis, vitiligo), and many other diseases where the patients have to take life long medications panchakarma treatment is extremely beneficial to achieve total cure of these diseases.

 

Which are these five karmas

 

  • Vamana
  • Virechana
  • Basti
  • Nasya
  • Raktamokshan

 

These are the five therapeutic procedures used for complete cleansing of the body.

 

How do they act?

 

These procedures actually detoxify the body through various routes. The first procedure called vamana detoxifies the body by way of vomiting. This vomiting is scientifically induced by specific medicines & is fully controlled. It is planned & performed in such a way, that the toxins from all over the body are expelled by the nearest route that is by mouth. Especially those accumulated in upper part of the gastro-intestinal tract (stomach and upper part of small intestine) are very effectively cleaned by vamana. Similarly virechana, the second one in the list detoxifies the body by way of purgation. This purgation is also scientifically induced in such a way that it expels only the toxins and not the vital fluids of the body. The lower part of the intestine is detoxified by this procedure. Basti is a procedure in which medicated oils and decoctions are inserted in the rectum and distal part of the large intestine with the help of a special apparatus.

 

This procedure is very useful in detoxifying the large intestine. Nasya is the simple procedure by which the toxins accumulated in the complex area like sinuses, brain and also those, accumulated in throat, in and around eyes, ears etc. Raktamokshan is a procedure of detoxification of blood.

Why is detoxification necessary?

 

Our body needs cleaning internally and externally. We manage to clean the body externally by way of bath etc. But we are not able to clean it internally. Inside our body, numerous functions are continuously performed. The metabolism which is going on at the level of each and every cell in the body generates waste products (toxins) which get accumulated in the various systems, tissues and organs. These toxins need to be removed periodically, because if they get accumulated they can interfere and disrupt the normal functioning of these systems / organs, which can give rise to various diseases like diabetes, asthma, hypertension, heart diseases etc. Normally body tries to expel these waste products, but the efforts are not sufficient, as some of them are very sticky and remain in those tissues, organs or systems. Ayurveda has a perfect understanding of the body hence it has advised panchakarma, for the complete detoxification of the body. This detoxification therapy is essential for everybody in order to lead a healthy and disease free life.

Mode Of Action Of Basti Panchakarma Treatment

Vasti or Basti is a broad spectrum Panchakarma treatment. It is not limited to cleanse the bowel and evacuate the stagnant faeces. It is a highly valued treatment and is much more than the modern term ‘enema’ though the method of administration is the same.

When it is administered in various combinations, Vasti serves the purposes of Shodhana (cleansing, detoxification), shaman (palliation), lekhana (scraping), brimhana (nourishing, bulk promoting), vajikarana (aphrodisiac), vaya sthapana (life span enhancing, longevity promoting) etc.

Mood and Gut Bacteria

Mode of action of Vasti, Ayurveda perspective:
While appraising the significance and utility of Vasti, Charaka enumerates the below mentioned gunas (qualities) and karmas (functions) of Vasti –

  • Vaya sthapana – stabilizes, fortifies and strengthens the tissues of the body and hence enhances the life span of an individual by postponing or delaying the process of ageing
  • Ayushya – enhances the life span (quality and quantity of life)
  • Sukha – provides comfort and happiness by establishing good health
  • Bala krit – provides strength, endurance and immunity
  • Agni krit – stabilizes the digestion and metabolism
  • Medha krit – enhances the intelligence
  • Svara krit – provides good voice
  • Varna krit – enhances colour
  • Sarvartha kari – can be readily administered at all ages
  • Niratyaya – free of complications
  • Sarva gada apaha – remedy for all the diseases
  • Vit shleshma, pitta, anila mootra karshi – eliminates stools, morbid kapha, pitta and vata and urine
  • Dhaardyakrit – makes the body strong and stable
  • Shukrabala prada – strengthens the shukra (semen, reproductive fluid)
  • Vishvak sthitam doshascha nirasya – eliminates all the morbid doshas accumulated in the body

Similarly while appraising the benefits of Anuvasana vasti, Charaka enumerates the below said qualities and functions:

Varna prada – provides and enhances colour
Bala prada – provides and enhances strength and vigour
Vatahara – best remedy to tackle and eliminate Vata disorders from their roots

Taila or sneha (medicated oil or lipids) administered in the Anuvasana Vasti is totally antagonistic to the qualities of Vata. The snigdhata (unctuousness), guruta (heaviness), ushnata (heat) qualities of sneha are antagonistic to the ruksha (dry), laghu (lightness) and sheeta (cold) qualities of Vata.
After getting rid of morbid vayu, Anuvasana Basti restores health. It causes pleasantness of the mind and nourishes (enriches) veerya (potency, sexual potency), bala (strength and immunity), varna (colour) and agni (metabolism)
Kashyapa tells that Vasti is equal to the amrita (nectar of life) to the kids and also the old aged people

All these functions and benefits of Vasti are obtained by its ‘vata mitigating property’. We all know that Vata is the master of the orchestra of body functions and is responsible for all the normal and abnormal activities (physiological and pathological activities) taking place in our system. This means to tell that all the activities, good or bad, are under the control of the Vayu.

तत्र आस्थापन अनुवासनं तु खलु सर्वत्र उपक्रमेभ्यो वाते प्रधानतमं मन्यते भिषजः।(च.सू.२०/१५)
Tatra aasthaapana anuvaasanam tu khalu sarvatra upakramebhyo vaate pradhaanatamam manyate bhishajaha (Ref – Charaka Sootra 20/15)

Charaka gives an opinion that ‘Asthapana and Anuvasana are the best choices of treatments to control the Vata’.

Destruction of Vata in its root place i.e. Pakwashaya by Niruha Vasti –
The Vasti (Niruha) on entering the Pakwashaya (colon) terminates the morbid Vata by roots. When the Vata is controlled in the Pakwashaya, which is the centre of administration of Vata, the other subtypes of Vata located in all the parts of the body will be automatically controlled. When the Vayu is controlled all the other elements and activities which are under the control of Vayu fall into rhythm and get to become normal.

Example, Just as the flowers, fruits, leaves and branches of a tree get destroyed when the roots of the tree are cut off, the Vata too gets destroyed when it is cut at its roots located in Pakwashaya. Thus, Vasti is the numero-uno treatment for Vata disorders and all the other diseases.

Nourishing of root place of Vayu (Guda and Pakwashaya) by Anuvasana Vasti –
The tree is nourished when the water is regularly sprinkled at its roots. The tree always remains healthy and green. It will be enriched with attractive green leaves, and timely appearance of flowers and fruits. Similarly when the Guda (anus and large intestine, colon) is sprinkled with anuvasana vasti, all the siras (veins or vessels carrying the nutrition) will get nurtured and the body as a whole will be nourished. All the dhatus (tissues) including shukra or semen will be nourished with enriched qualities. People who don’t have progeny will be blessed with kids following the nourishment of shukra tissue by Anuvasana Vasti.

Basti is said to be the best treatment for Vata Vyadhis (diseases occurring due to vitiation of Vata). Vasti is an unparalleled remedy in many conditions including stiffness of the limbs, lame and limp, pains occurring due to vata in various parts of the body, distension of abdomen, hard bowel movements and impaction of faeces in the intestines, pain in the viscera, anorexia, and many more pathological conditions. Basti is also the best remedy for impotence and infertility.

This multidimensional action of Basti keeps us puzzled regarding how Vasti is capable of bestowing so many benefits and how does it expel many types of morbidity and diseases from the body and mind!

The Vasti administered in the Pakwashaya imparts its beneficial action on the entire body and mind. If it palliates and pacifies the morbid doshas somewhere in the body, it destroys and expels the doshas somewhere in the body. This shows the selective action, tissue and organ specific action of Basti. According to Sushruta, the administered Vasti stays in the pakwashaya (colon), shroni (pelvic region) and below nabhi (navel) regions of the body. From here the Vasti works on the basis of its veerya (potency or functional capacity). The veerya of the medicines of Vasti spreads throughout the body through the means of multiple srotas’s (channel or duct system or transportation system of the body). The veerya of the medicines brings about the desired actions like palliation, elimination, nourishment etc depending on the purpose of which the Basti has been administered. Just as the veerya (potential part) of water sprinkled at the roots of a tree reaches all the parts of the tree, the Vasti sprinkled at the root of the body i.e. Guda or anal orifice (guda is said to be the root of the body by Acharya Parashara as quoted by Chakrapani, the commentator of Charaka Samhita) will reach all the parts of the body.
Most of the administered Vasti gets eliminated within quick time. Now a question arises so as to how the Vasti medicine in its short duration of stay within the colon imparts such healing effect??

Actually the given medicine (through Basti) will flush off the faeces and comes out in quick time along with the excreta by the action of Apana Vayu (the subtype of vayu which governs the functions of the lower parts of the body). But the Basti acts on the virtue of its Veerya (as already said). By the virtue of its Veerya, the Vasti reaches every corner of the body from the toes to head, drags the morbid doshas from every part of the body and expels them from the body.

Just as the Sun being located lacks of miles away from is capable of sapping off the fluids of living beings on earth by the virtue of the effect (virya, prabhava) of its heat and intensity, the Vasti medicine administered into the Pakwashaya by the virtue of its veerya will dissolve in it all the impurities and morbidity located at all the places of the body and expel them from the system.

Among all the 3 doshas, the vitiation of Vayu presents as the strongest morbidity and causes highest damage at all levels. Vata will also control the vitiation of other 3 doshas. It is said that nothing tolerates the strength and intensity of vitiated Vayu like Basti. Only the waves of the sea or ocean can tolerate the tsunami caused by the high winds or Vayu. Just like that, it is only the Vasti which can tolerate the aggravation of Vayu, destroy the morbid vayu and expel it out of the system.

Summarizing the above said material, it is understood that the Vasti and its effect is not limited to the Pakwashaya but in fact reaches to every minute part of the body. The veerya of the Vasti gets digested and assimilated by Agni, the digestive fire. Later the veerya of the vasti getting admixed with blood and plasma (rasa-rakta) circulates all through the body and reaches the target sites (where its utility is needed). On reaching various parts of the body, Vasti renders the functions of shamana (palliation), shodhana (cleansing) etc.

Mode of action of Vasti, modern view (in comparison to Ayurvedic concepts) –
Even modern studies have shown the action of vasti vis-à-vis enema beyond the level of colon (large intestine). According to studies, the enema reaches to the level of stomach, duodenum and ileum (parts of small intestine) wherein the active principles of the enema medicines are absorbed and made use of.

The Vasti explained in Ayurveda is a combination of many healing medicines like honey, rock salt, herbal decoctions, jaggery, milk, medicinal pastes, medicated ghee and oil etc. Sneha or medicated lipids (oil and ghee) have anu pravana guna (deep penetrating quality or crossing the barriers or percolating nature).

If we place sneha in a container, close the lid and invert it, the sneha dribbles from the junction of the lid and vessel or from the pores of the lid and escapes. This is called as anu pravana guna or percolation. Similarly, the vasti medicine can percolate and cross the barrier of ileo-caecal valve which is a door between (lid) the end of ileum (last part of small intestine, where it enters the large intestine) and caecum (first part of colon or large intestine). The salt, milk, meat soup, veerya of medicines etc dissolved in sneha also crosses this barrier and reaches their target tissues and or organs. Sneha is an important solvent.

In the book named ‘The Physiological basis of medical practice’, the authors Best and Taylor quote ‘Materials introduced by enema, in some instances pass through the walls into the illium; such incompetence may permit the enema fluid to reach the duodenum’

If due to the pressure of the medicines of Basti and provocation by the same, if the valve dilates, there is a good chance of the medicines moving quickly towards the duodenum. They can also reach the stomach and mouth.

In one of the modern references we get to read ‘The possibility of materials even the lower bowel, reaching the mouth is strongly suggested by the fact that lycopodium sporce, introduced into the colon by enema, have been recovered some hours later from washing of the stomach’. This shows that the enema can reach the stomach also.

While explaining the positioning of the patient, Charaka states that when the Vasti is administered with patient sleeping on his left lateral side, the medicines easily reach the level of grahani or duodenum. Jejjata, the commentator of Charaka Samhita further clarifies by telling that the agni-sthana or site of agni (digestive fire) is located on the left side of the body, above the level of the nabhi (navel region). This is also called as Grahani (duodenum).

Similarly, on the left side of the body itself the sthulantra (large intestine, descending and sigmoid colon with rectum) is continuous with guda (anus and rectum). Thus, when the patient sleeps on the left lateral side, the medicine easily reaches the Sthulantra and agni sthana because they both are placed at the same level, in line with each other. On reaching the agni sthana or grahani, the vasti dravya strengthens and fortifies the agni. In turn, the agni digests (transforms into usable form) the vasti medicine and helps in its absorption and utilization.

The Vasti medicines will have various forms of sneha (medicated oils, ghee etc) and they will be absorbed and utilised in the body. Scientific studies and research works have proved this fact. On giving vasti (brimhana vasti or strengthening or bulk promoting enemas) the quantity of fatty acids and proteins were found to be increased in the blood. This fortifies the concept of ‘action of brimhana vasti’. It increases the sneha (fat proportions) and proteins of the body. The body weight also has been seen to be enhanced after administration of brimhana vasti. All these help in recovery from Vata diseases.

The action of Vasti is also seen to have beneficial effects on Asthivaha srotas (channels helping in nourishing and forming bone tissue) and Majjavaha srotas (channels helping in nourishing and forming bone marrow tissue). Tikta Ksheera Bastis (enemas prepared with bitter medicines processed in milk) are the best in getting rid of asthigata vata (osteopenia, osteoporosis) and asthi shula (bone pain). Tikta dravyas or bitter herbs are predominant in Akasha (ether, sky) and Vayu (air) elements. By the virtue of these elements, they tend to reach the places (tissues and organs) rich in akasha and vayu elements. Asthi or bone is the seat of Vayu. All srotas (channels of transportation or duct system of the body) are made up of akasha mahabhuta. Therefore the tikta ksheera vasti has maximum affinity towards the bone tissues and the channels of the bone. By the virtue of tissue specificity and target tissue, the vasti reaches the bones and destroys the diseases and morbidity therein. Lot of snehas are included in the vasti. Some ingredients or portions of the sneha (phospholipids) take an important role in the formation of bone and bone marrow. Pakwashaya or large intestine (colon) is said to be the adhishtana (location in which vasti is administered) of vasti. Pakwashaya is Pureeshadhara kala (layers which form the faeces). According to Dalhana, the Pureeshadhara kala is itself Asthidhara kala. This establishes a relationship between the large intestines and bones.

The medicines administered into large intestine reach the bones and help in nourishing and healing the bones. According to the modern science the calcium which is essential ingredients of bones are excreted through the stools. If the ingredients of bone are excreted through the stools, the medicines implanted into the colon could reach the bone. Practically we can see that the bone pain of asthigata vata quickly subsides on administration of tikta ksheera vasti (bitter milk enemas).

Similarly the sneha and majja (bone marrow) has nutritive relation with each other. Sneha is an essential ingredient of majja. Majja is in fact made up of sneha. Mastaka (brain) which is an abode of indriyas (sense organs) is said to be the sneha (fat) located in the shira (head). It is also called mastulunga. Mastulunga is in the form of consolidated ghee and is an ingredient which supports and provides strength to the head. Mastulunga is also called as mastishka gata majja. It is formed by the transformed part of meda or fat.

Thus we can find the combination of sneha, meda and majja within the shira (head). All the vata nadis (nerves) are formed by majja dhatu. According to Kashyapa, Majja is an abode of Vata. Thus sneha takes an important role in nourishing the Majja. This gives us a clarity so as to how Vasti has an impact and healing effect over the nerve centres of the brain, spinal cord and all parts of the body.

The medicines administered through Vasti reach Grahani and gets absorbed there. Grahani is also called Pittadhara kala (the layers which form the pitta are located in Grahani). Pitta formed in pittadhara kala or grahani has an important role in digestion of sneha. Pittadhara kala is also the majjadhara kala i.e. layers or membranes helping in formation of majja or marrow (pittadhara and majjadhara kalas are functionally said to be one and the same). The sneha which reaches Grahani will have a gross impact on all the majjas of the body.

In Grahani roga (disease caused in the duodenum due to metabolic errors, sprue syndrome, mal-absorption, IBS etc) we can find parva ruja or pain in inter-phalangeal joints (caused by majja), pain in flanks, heart, head (due to affliction of majja forming the nerves) and also some mental symptoms. All these justify the use of sneha vasti in vata diseases.

Studies have shown that there will be decrease in pyruvic acid, an ingredient of keto-acids after the administration of Vasti. Increase in pyruvic acid levels in the blood leads to decrease of Vitamin B1 and its decrease causes increase of Vitamin B1  levels. This vitamin has an important role in the health of nervous system. When this vitamin decreases inflammation occurs in the cells of the nerves. It also causes degeneration of myelin sheath leading to many diseases. This vitamin also has its influence on heart, circulatory and digestive systems. When its levels are decreased it causes symptoms like indigestion, constipation, tastelessness, sluggish digestion, etc. Vasti rectifies these conditions by reducing pyruvic acid levels and in turn increasing the Vitamin B1 levels.

Pakwashaya is an abode of Krimis (intestinal bacteria or bacterial flora). According to Ayurveda, Pureeshaja krimis or microorganisms taking their origin from faeces are located which are harmful. Similarly there are kaphaja krimis (microorganisms caused by morbid kapha) in the amashaya (stomach). The vasti will destroy and expel these krimis. The useful bacteria of intestinal flora are thought to be producing some strains of Vitamin B and Vitamin K. They help in proper maintenance of intestinal health. The ingredients of Vasti like milk, jaggery, sesame etc will help in increasing the quantity of these natural and helpful bacteria (provide a suitable environment wherein the useful bacteria are formed).

Basti also helps in formation of Vitamin B in the intestines which helps in recovery of many neurological diseases (vata vyadhi) and also helps in causing brimhana (enhancing strength, promoting bulk). Similarly deficiency of certain vitamins lead to skin disorders, eye diseases, burning sensation etc symptoms. The twachya (beneficial for skin), chakshushya (beneficial for eyes) and Varnya (colour enhancing) Bastis will help in destroying these diseases.

Vasti will have a soothing effect over the peripheral and local nerves. This will help in reduction of pains caused by nerve irritation (vitiation of vata). The shodhana (cleansing effect) effect of Vasti will reduce pressure over the colon, pelvis, flanks and viscera and also pacify vata. The pains caused by vitiated vayu will immediately pacify on administration of shodhana vasti.

Since the vasti reaches the grahani, the ksheera vastis (milk enemas processed with medicines) impart healing effect over the peptic ulcers occurring in stomach and duodenum and reduces pain and other symptoms associated with peptic ulcers.

All the above said versions of explanations from Ayurveda and modern perspectives prove and justify the role of Vasti and its probable mode of action.

Mode of action of Uttara Vasti –
Vasti or Basti is predominantly a treatment oriented towards the correction of Vata morbidity.
Uttara Basti is administered into the urinary tract (through urethra) or into the genital tract (through vagina). Thus the target organs of Uttara Vasti will be Basti (urinary bladder) and Garbhashaya (uterus).

The lower part of the body is governed by a subtype of Vayu called as Apana Vayu. This Vayu or vata helps in controlling and governing all the activities taking place in the lower parts of the body. Its centres of control are Colon, pelvis, urinary bladder, uterus and lower limbs. If the Apana Vayu is at its functional best and is not vitiated all the activities related to the above mentioned organs take place easily and effortlessly. But if the Vata gets vitiated or moves in opposite direction i.e. upward direction (generally Apana vata tends to move in downward direction, expelling and excreting things being its primary functions) or gets obstructed functionally by other subtypes of Vayu or Pitta or Kapha (Avarana) or gets weak in functions, the functions related to the above mentioned organs and parts of the body will be disturbed.

This disturbance will be manifested in terms of excessive discharge or premature or immature elimination of the body contents as in premature ejaculation (PME), abortion, miscarriage, diarrhoea, etc or blocks caused by Apana vayu in these regions leading to various deformities and diseases like PCOS, BPH, impotence, sterility, amenorrhoea, constipation, back pain, pain in the joints of the lower limb, vesical calculi (stones in urinary bladder), etc

So the primary line of action in the diseases afflicting the urinary and genital systems will be to control and balance the Apana Vata. This goal will be achieved by Uttara Vasti because the medicinal ingredients in Niruha (decoction) and Anuvasana (oil or ghee) enemas given into the bladder or uterus will control Vayu. We know that Vasti is the best treatment to control Vayu. The vitiated Vayu when controlled by Uttara Vasti will be restored to its normal status. Healthy Apana Vayu will help in the activities at these sites to take place normally and will once again have its movements in the downward direction. With the regression of deformities and diseases all the diseases related to uro-genital system mentioned above will be cured.

The Uttara Vasti will also have a cleansing action especially Niruha Vasti. By cleansing action of Uttara Vasti in the urinary bladder and uterus and other genital passages, the process of urination and menstruation and sexual functions will be restored. The organs will be clean and sterile and will get rid of inflammation, irritation, stagnation and infections.

The sneha vasti administered in Uttara Vasti will be having a supportive role. They are nutritive in function and will improve the blood circulation, nerve conduction and immunity of the organs. Anuvasana vasti given in the form of uttara vasti is highly effective in cases of sterility and impotence and will bestow the progeny to those anticipating it.

Vasti or urinary bladder is said to be one of the important Marma sthana or vital organ. Its health can be maintained to its optimum with the help of Utara Vasti.

Just before finishing –
Basti is said to be ‘ardha chikitsa’ or half the treatment of all the treatments put on the other side of the balance. This is not exaggeration. I have not only handled but also have seen many complicated and rejected medical conditions being cured and healed by Vasti. The beauty of Vasti is its multi-dimensional nature. It can be highly useful in preventing many diseases and thus can be administered in healthy individuals. Its role in healing many psycho-somatic disorders is unparalleled by any other medicines or treatments. Basti can be administered at all ages and its variants like Matra Vasti can be administered on daily basis. Basti enhances immunity and postpones ageing, thus promoting longeivity of life in terms of quality and quantity.

No condition seems to be hopeless nor declared as ‘impossible to cure’ as long as Vasti has not been tried.

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Effective Basti Treatments For Pitta Disorders

Basti is said to be ‘Ardha Chikitsa’ or half the treatment of all the other treatments available in the world. This proves the authority of Vasti treatment over the other treatments.

Vata controls everything –
Vata is said to be the main controlling force of all the activities of the body.
Pitta and Kapha are incapable of producing a disease or disease process unless they are motivated, provoked and mobilized by vitiated Vata.

Similarly the functions of all the tissues and organs, the functions of mind, sense organs, motor organs and all the discharges and movements in the system is carried by the governance of Vata.
The expulsion of wastes from the body is also under its control.

Basti yantra enema

To sum up, Vata is the remote control of all the activities of the body. If this Vata gets vitiatied, the remote control will start controlling the body in an undesired way and cause lot of diseases and deformities.

Thus Vata being the superior dosha, needs a stronger treatment and attention when it is a in a state of vitiation.
Nothing can control a ‘Vata’ which is ‘out of control’ as is done effectively by Vasti.

Effective Basti Treatments For Kapha Disorders

Among the five Panchakarma therapies, =Vasti (including Niruha and Anuvasana) is the best treatment to combat morbid Vata and to cure all disorders caused by vitiated Vata.

Vata, the control mechanism of all the activities in the body –
Vata is said to be the main controlling force of all the activities of the body.

Pitta and Kapha are incapable of producing a disease or disease process unless they are motivated, provoked and mobilized by vitiated Vata.
Similarly the functions of all the tissues and organs, the functions of mind, sense organs, motor organs, all the discharges and movements in the system is carried over by the governance of Vata.

enema bag - Basti yantraThe expulsion of wastes from the body is also under its control.

In short, Vata is the remote control of all the activities of the body, mind and senses. If this Vata gets vitiated, it will start controlling the body in an undesired way and cause lot of diseases and deformities.
Vata being the superior dosha, needs a stronger treatment and attention when it is a in a state of vitiation.
Nothing can control a ‘Vata’ which is ‘out of control’ as is done effectively by Vasti.