Ayurvedic Therapies: Panchakarma- Purva Karma


Order is the state of health, as defined by Ayurveda, which exists when the digestive fire (agni) is in a balanced condition; the bodily humors (vata, pitta and kapha) are in equilibrium, the three waste products (urine, feces and sweat) are produced and eliminated normally, the seven bodily tissues (rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja and shukra) are functioning normally, and the mind, senses and consciousness are working harmoniously together.

Ayurveda emphasizes preventative and healing therapies along with various methods of purification and rejuvenation. It can guide every individual in the proper choice of diet, living habits and exercise to restore balance in the body, mind and consciousness, thus preventing disease from gaining a foothold in the system.

The wrong diet, habits, lifestyle, incompatible food combinations (e.g. milk and fish, melons and grain, yogurt and meat or cooked honey etc.), seasonal changes, repressed emotions and stress factors can all act either together or separately to change the balance of V-P-K(Vatta, Pitta, Kapha). According to the nature of the cause, either vata, pitta or kapha undergo aggravation or derangement which affects the agni (gastric fire), and produces ama (toxins). This ama enters the blood stream and is circulated throughout the body, clogging the channels. Retention of toxins in the blood results in toxemia. This accumulated toxicity, once well established, will slowly affect prana (vital life energy), ojas (immunity), and tejas (cell metabolic energy) and result in disease. This can be nature's effort at eliminating the toxicity from the body. Every so-called disease is a crisis of ama toxicity. Ama is the basic internal cause of all disease, due to the aggravated doshas.

To stop the further production of ama Ayurvedic literature suggests putting the person on a proper diet with appropriate lifestyle, habits and exercise, and administering a proper cleansing program such as panchakarma.

Purvakarma: Pre-purification Measures
Before the actual operation of purification begins, there is a need to prepare the body in prescribed methods to encourage the body to let go of the toxins. The two procedures are snehan (oleation) and swedan(fomentation).

Snehana (oleation)
The literal meaning of this term is to make smooth or to oleate. It is the main purva karma procedure and is a specific treatment for vatic disorders.

Example: oily preparations, ghee, oils, fats etc.

Following are the indications of snehana:
Sexual exhaustion,  Anemia, Anxiety, Dryness of the body, Senility
Snehana is also given to the patients of vimana and virecana.

The procedure followed involves the administration of oily preparations within fifteen to thirty minutes after sunrise. The quantity, duration and the type of preparation is pre decided and certain dietary restrictions are prerequisite. Warm, well-regulated liquid diet is preferred but one with stickiness or oleaginous is incompatible.

The following signs will indicate the effectiveness of the remedy:
Accelerated digestive power,  Intolerance to fat, Loose motions, Lightness of the body, Smoothness of the body, Passage of flatus, Visible fat in the stool

After the treatment patients are advised to abstain from sexual activities, to use of warm water; sleeping only at night; avoiding anger, anxiety or loud talk.

Swedana (fomentation)
This refers to the remedy that involves practices involving heat to make the patient sweat. Following are the conditions for which swedana is given to patients:
Corrhyza, Cough, Headache, Paralysis, Constipation, Arthritis
On the second day of swedana, vamana is given and virecana after three days` interval. In case there is a need to give basti, nasya, rakta mokasana to the patients then they are given immediately after swedana.

The following signs prove the effectiveness of the therapy:
Disappearance of corrhyza,  Relief from pain and stiffness, Remission of the disease

After the remedy the patients are advised to avoid cold water and take a nap after a light meal.

Five Basic Shodhans: Cleansing Methods
1) Vaman: therapeutic vomiting or emesis
2) Virechan: purgation
3) Basti: enema 
4) Nasya: elimination of toxins through the nose
5) Raktalmoksha: detoxification of the blood 

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