Panchakarma is a global medical term now. It is a prestigious component of Ayurvedic system of medicine and therefore one can describe it as a super specialty of Ayurveda.
Even though it is closely linked with kayachikitsa (General Medicine), yet it has its own identity as an independent specialty for all acharyas of Ayurveda.
Panchakarma is made of 2 words – ‘Panch’ means five and ‘Karma’ means procedure.
According to acharya Charaka the 5 procedure are,
According to acharya Susrutha the panchakarmas are,
Prior to Panchakarma are two procedures – Snehana (Unctuating Therapy) & Swedana (Sudation therapy respectively)
Snehavidhi – Unctuating Therapy
It can be done both internally and externally. Externally it can be done in the form of abyanga (oil massage) either local or whole body, pizhichil etc. Interanally it can be given in a therapeutic dose or with food. It gives strength and stability to body tissues. It can be done both internally and externally. For Snehana fat, oil, ghee and bone marrow fat is used.
Snehana produce strength and stability to tissues. Medas (fat) and Majja (bone marrow) are directly fat based. Many vitamins are fat soluble so they yield energy directly.
Functions of nervous system are based on fat.
It can cure skin conditions like dryness of the body. Helps miraculously in vision defects and difficulty to open eyes.
Acharya Vaghbata concluded that “those who take fat are supposed to live a hundred years, blessed with profound digestion, clear gut, strengthened tissues, physical strength, good complexion, stability of senses and slow ageing.
Inducing thermal changes in our body is called swedana or sudation. It is again done prior to elimination procedures. The effect of heat can be for superficial or deep tissue.
For external diseases superficial heat is given and deep heat for middle pathway organs, and in case of internal path way sudation is not necessary and can be done by drinking hot water.
Sudation is done locally or for whole body. There are different types of sudation like valuka (sand), leaf pottali (cloth bag of leaves) Parisheka (Pouring hot liquids).
The primary benefits of swedana is to reduce pain and stiffness . It is indicated in Asthma, cough running nose, constipation , weakness of voice, body pain, modular lumps, renal extraction etc.
Both snehana and swedana comes hand in hand and usually snehana is followed by swedana. The main purpose of unction snehana and swedana before purification is to create utkleda ie. Sectretions through the mucus of respective cavity.
The simultaneous work of both gives results that gives miracles to the body.
Vamana is an emetic process (inducing vomiting) with the use of medicines. An excellent method to remove the vitiated kapha that is accumulated in the body and respiratory tract. This helps to loose the accumulated toxins and finally eliminate them.
It is a method of removing metabolic wastes after being brought to GI tract. The commonly used drug most is madana phala (Randia dumetorum)
Fever of recent onset
Vitiated breast milk
Disease of head and neck
It is a purgative therapy. This is done by the the use of medicine to induce purgation to remove the toxins accumulated in the lower part of the body. It acts as a cleaner to the digestive tract and further detoxifies the liver and gall bladder.
Hyper pigmentation of face
Diseases related to female genital tract and menstrual irregularities.
Diseases of semen and male genital tract disorder.
Acharya Charaka consider vasti as half of Ayurveda chikitsa. When vamana and virechana are considered as purificatory process, vasti is considered as both purificative and curative therapy. ie. It serves dual purpose as an elimination of waste and according to ingredients.
Vasti is usually given through the rectal route.
Vasti is of 2 types mainly.
Again classified into 2 types
Another type of vasti is uttera vasti (done other than ano rectal route) ie. in diseases of vagina and uterus.
An elimination process by which wastes are eliminated through nostrils. Nasya is especially for disease of parts above neck. Nasya is the process of instillation of medicines through the nostril to remove the metabolic toxins accumulated above neck. Since nasal passage being the gateway of the head, it is permitted through this opening and thus curing such diseases.
Nasya is mainly of 3 types
Related to face and neck
Related to Head
Related to whole body