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Fomentation Therapy

Fomentation, or sweating, necessarily follows oleation. Induced by heat from different sources it brings sweat on the skin through hair follicles by opening the pores of the skin. Due to fomentation the agni is increased and the fatty tissue gets mobilized. While throwing out waste as ama (toxins) through the skin it also helps liquefy aggravated doshas, dilating all body channels for the cleansing.

It is divided into two main types, Agni Sweda wherein heat is applied directly as steam and Anagni Sweda where no external heat source is necessary e.g exercises, fighting, walking, lifting heavy loads, exposure to sunlight, stay in centrally heated rooms, putting heavy blankets over the body etc.

Charaka has described about thirteen types of fomentation of which some are in practice now.
Upanaha Sweda - fomentation by poultice
Ushma Sweda - steam fomentation
Nadi Sweda - local steam fomentation (steam/vapour of medicated decoction of leaves)
Avagah Sweda - tub bath in warm decoction of medicated water.
Pizichili - pouring of oil on the body.

After this therapy patients are advised to go for rest, avoid cold, take warm baths and get adequate fresh air. Nasal therapy, enema or bloodletting can be undertaken immediately after fomentation. Purgation should be done only after two days of fomentation. However, care should be taken to ensure that no part of the treatment is missed out on as that would not only reduce efficacy but may even prove detrimental.

Once the body has been correctly and suitably prepared, under supervision of a qualified doctor only should the administering of Panchakarma happen. It is best to depend on a reputed Ayurvedic nursing home and experienced Ayurvedic doctors.

Emesis Therapy

This is really effective for nasal disorders, tuberculosis, bronchitis, asthma, diabetes, poor digestion, anorexia, dyspepsia, inflammation of lymph glands, epilepsy, insanity, edema, obesity, heart diseases and Pericarditis.

Since Kapha resides in the upper part of the body, its elimination by the nearest route is an acceptable and desirable, given that if any dosha is eliminated from its chief site the chances of recurrence are very low. Honey and rock salt are the common vehicles to administer the puking.

Proper therapy brings about a feeling of cleanliness of the chest and stomach, lightness of the body and ensures timely passing of urine and stool. But care must be taken to avoid over-administration as it could result in unconsciousness, blood vomiting, sudden drop of blood pressure and chest pain. While any under-administration would result in not achieving the desired effect.

Purgation Therapy

Aims to eliminate those doshas that cannot be removed by emesis or through other channels as kidneys, lungs and sweat glands. It is highly effective in cases of fever, skin diseases, bleeding from the mouth & nose, piles, worms, gout, vaginal diseases, anal problems, fistulas, anemia, glandular swellings and loss of appetite.

A systematic therapy for the elimination of Pitta and Pitta-kapha performed through the anus using mediums as laxatives, mild purgatives and strong purgatives, it must be practiced only after Poorva Karma. However, it is not suitable for children, the old, the infirm and pregnant woman. And strictly avoided under conditions of bleeding of the lower channels, weaknesses or diarrhea.

Enema Therapy (Basti)

Considered the best treatment for a deranged Vata, it purifies and rejuvenates the colon that then nourishes the entire body and helps to gain control of the disease process before it goes into a migratory phase. Classified into Oily Enema, Decoction Enema, and Enema therapies, it is administered through the anal passage or vagina.

Because Vata is the force behind retention or elimination of all items, its imbalance is the root cause of diseases related to tissues and organs of the body. This therapy thus proves effective for nearly all types of ailments discussed in Ayurveda. Helping rejuvenate the body and providing strength and long life.

Vasti is essentially of two types: Nirooha that cleanses toxins from the dhatus and removes naturally accumulated malas (body waste) from the colon, and Anuwasana that which is meant to be retained in the body for a longer period of time in order to have its intended effect.

But it cannot be applied in case of particular skin diseases, obese patients, problems of the gastro-intestinal tracts, loss of appetite, enlargement of liver & spleen, thirst, dyspnea, edema and in states of grief and shock.

Nasal Administration

Making use of medicated oils taken through the nostrils, it is used to assist emesis therapy in dislodging toxins and excess Kapha from the throat, nose, sinus & other organs. It is effective for diseases in the head, ears, nose, throat, teeth and improving connections between the senses & respective organs. Although it is not suitable for patients suffering from indigestion, thirst, hunger, grief or pregnancy. And in excess it may lead to an excessive discharge from the nose and eyes, heaviness of the body, abnormal functioning of the sense organs.


Toxins absorbed into the bloodstream through the gastro-intestinal tract get circulated throughout the body, manifesting under the skin or in the joint-spaces making rooms for disease. Their elimination and purification of the blood then becomes necessary. Thus his therapy is very good in case of all imbalance of blood and Pitta disorders as stubborn skin diseases, tumors, gout, excessive drowsiness, alopecia, hallucinations and enlarged liver & spleen.

A sharp scalpel is usually used to make superficial, parallel or vertical incisions with extreme care after a soothing and antiseptic paste has been applied to the location. The amount of blood let out should not be more than 350ml. At such times a needle should be used to puncture a vein. It is however not to be used for people suffering from general swelling of limbs, debility, severe anemia, piles, fever, thirst, alcoholism.

The real objective of Panchakarma is to eliminate the cause of disease, since in itself the absence of symptoms does not always indicate a complete cure. Symptoms can often be quickly eliminated. But cure usually takes more time. Since it is based on the individual constitution, it is obvious that in very chronic diseases there may be more sittings required to eliminate the toxins from the body.

Duration of Panchakarma

The whole treatment of nearly a months duration is generally broken up in this manner:

  • 1st cycle
    1st-7th days of oleation, fomentation and nasal therapies.
    8th day emesis therapy.
    3 days off.

  • 2nd cycle
    1st-7th days of oleation, fomentation and nasal therapies.
    8th day purgation therapy.
    3 days off.

  • 3rd cycle
    1st-7th days of oleation, fomentation and nasal therapies
    8th day enema therapy

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