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.

beauty-therapy

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.

shirodara

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.

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.