would happen if someone always washed the outside of the car - but
never cleaned the engine or put oil in it! The car might look shiny
and new from the outside, but it may have dirt inside and will
definitely break down one day. Generally
this is what we do with our bodies. Our body is just like a car.
Except the engine of our body is running non-stop, without any
cleaning and lubrication. Thousands of years ago
devised a very systematic way of cleaning various toxins from the
body and called them Panchakarma therapies.
Panchakarma therapies, preparatory treatments are undertaken.
These are called the Purva Karma and include:
Snehan - oil therapy.
Internal Snehan is the use of medicated oils and
ghee (clarified butter) internally. The oils (Sneha) are so subtle that they enter into the minutest pores of the
cell membranes to mobilize impurities and make their elimination
External Snehan comprises of different kinds of massage.
Special herbal oils are applied using specific techniques. These
massage techniques are useful for the treatment of muscular fatigue, loss of motor functions, arthritis, paralysis, migraine and physical aches and pains. They also increase immunity,
improve skin complexion and induce a sound sleep by relaxing the
Svedana - heat therapy
In Svedana, different types of heat therapies like steam baths
and poultices are used on specific parts of the body. Varieties
of warm medicated oils, water, milk and herbal decoctions are
also used. These types of fomentation treatments are very
beneficial in diseases like pain in the joints and neck,
lumbago, urinary disorders, renal diseases,
common cold, asthma and loss of muscle function.
Svedana disperses the accumulated doshas, and opens
blocked channels and pores. This makes the elimination of wastes
easier when Panchakarma is performed.
Balancing Therapy – Shamana
meaning of Shamana is to suppress or balance. Shaman
therapies are effective when the dosha are not deep rooted
and the disease is not chronic. These therapies are also advised to
people with chronic ailments but who do not have access to Shirodhara or elimination therapies. Time is another important
factor in this modern age and the elimination therapies do require
the patient to live in a specific healing center under the guidance
of an expert. Therefore it is good to follow the Shamana therapies under such circumstances.
Shamana therapies suppress or balance the aggravated
dosha. A special
diet and regimen, contradictory to the qualities of the increased
dosha is prescribed to the patient
e.g., a cooling diet to
decrease the Pitta dosha. The herbs and medicines used for
suppressing the increased dosha are carefully chosen
according to the constitution of the patient. Different types of
herbal powders, tablets, decoctions, jams, medicated oil or ghee are
used in this type of treatment.
It is not
always necessary to use special Ayurvedic medicines in Shamana therapy. Sometimes a very simple diet, or an activity can help to
alleviate the aggravated dosha. Fasting, exercise,
exposure to sun or air can also be used as treatments in this type
of therapy. Shamana also eliminates the disease permanently,
although it may take some time to completely eliminate chronic
Elimination Therapy – Shodhana.
In chronic cases
of disease, the dosha are situated at much deeper levels
within the body. Balancing these dosha with treatments like
fasting and internal medicines, may take a very long time. The
internal medicines are administered through different channels, and
hence the results may not be apparent immediately. That is why it is
said that Ayurvedic medicines work slowly. In order to get immediate
results and provide relief to the patient, Ayurveda advises the use
of elimination therapies or Shodhana.
Shodhana therapies expel the aggravated doshas from the body by the
use of different types of elimination therapies called the
Panchakarma. It involves the use of the following five types of cleansing
dosha are located in remote areas of the body, generally there
is no direct outlet for their elimination. Therefore, some
preparatory treatments are first induced in order to soften the
dosha and move it to either the stomach or the intestine from
where the dosha is eliminated using the above-mentioned
techniques. It is also used as a preventive treatment to gain
positive health and to maintain the balance or equilibrium of the
three dosha. Shodhana is a specialized type of therapy
and should be performed under the supervision of an expert Ayurvedic
doctor. As this therapy also involves a specific diet and life
style, it is necessary that the patient reside in a Ayurvedic
hospital/Pancha Karma center, for the duration of the treatment. If
a person does not have access to such a facility, the Shamana therapy can be induced to provide temporary relief.
Is it possible
to maintain perfect health without spending a single cent? Yes! just
check your constitution and follow the basic diet, sleep pattern and
exercises and stay healthy all year round.
healthy, one must live in harmony with nature - with a natural
balance. To practice this art of living with a natural balance, it
is important to know one's own unique constitution and follow a
It is so
simple and anyone can do it! It makes life so much more enjoyable.
To prevent disease and maintain optimum health, check your
addition to determining the constitution, there are a number of
important factors for maintaining good health, related to the diet.
This includes foods eaten, time difference between two meals,
combination and quantity of foods, cleanliness and proper eating.
Food should be fresh, hot, tasty and easy to digest.
There should be at least a four hour difference between any two
Restrict the number of items in one meal. The items taken in one
meal should not contradict each other. For example, (milk and orange
feeling of tiredness or heaviness in the stomach after eating,
indicates improper eating practices.
Food should be taken only when hungry and strictly according to
not eat while watching television or while reading. Eat in peaceful
and pleasant surroundings.
not rush eating or eat too slowly. Chew the food thoroughly.
Fruits should not be mixed with meals. Either take a separate meal
constituted only of fruits or eat fruits as a snack between two
not drink water one hour before or after meals though it is fine to
drink it in small quantities with meals.
regulated sleep is very important to maintain the balance of
functions in the body. "Early to bed and early to rise" is the key
to good health. For an average person, six hours sleep is
sufficient. Excessive sleeping contributes to disease. Adequate
exercise according to your constitution is extremely beneficial for
good health. Yoga is advised as the best type of exercise as
it takes care of physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga and Ayurveda go hand in hand, as the aim of both
these sciences is to give perfect health and attain liberation
through God consciousness.
strictly following the above mentioned procedures, some toxins still
accumulate in the body as a result of various metabolic activities.
It is necessary to eliminate these toxins from the body, as they
foster many diseases specially when their quantity increases beyond
a certain limit. To maintain efficient physical functioning and to
stay healthy, regular elimination of these toxins is required.
Ayurveda recommends fasting for one day, and the Panchakarma
therapies are prescribed to maintain optimum health and an active
lifestyle even in old age. There are many Ayurvedic rejuvenation
preparations available, which can be taken according to season and
In daily life,
many activities act as rejuvenating tonics in themselves. Good
social conduct, morality, good manners and good character are some
guidelines offer an easy way to stay healthy. What's more is that
following these guides does not cost anything and helps you lead a
more productive life.
("Five Cleansing Actions"), is the traditional Ayurvedic Method for
bodily detoxification and rejuvenation.
Traditionally, three of the five
actions are designed for the three different body types. For Vata,
generally the smaller-framed person, the cleansing method suggested
is the medicated enema (Basti). For Pitta, generally the
medium-framed person, purgation with special herbs is suggested (Virechana).
For Kapha, generally the larger-framed person, emesis (Vamana) is
recommended. The remaining two traditional cleansing methods are
therapeutic release of toxic blood, and medicated nasal therapy (Nasya).
A milder approach is to begin with
an appropriated fruit and fasting diet for each of the three body
types of constitutions, which will cleanse the digestive system.
This is followed by an herbal oil massage (Abhyanga) to help surface
toxins deeply embedded inside the body. This is followed by steam
therapy which open the pores, allowing the toxins to be released.
Another helpful treatment is the
Shirodhara, where a continuous
stream of warm herbal oil is dripped onto the forehead to purify the
mind and body, and relax the nervous system. It is most effective
when applied during meditation.
The main benefits derived from Panchakarma therapy are:
Increased digestion, improved
absorption and assimilation of all nutrients at the physical, mental
and spiritual levels.
Deeper and more restful sleep.
Elimination of all toxins, poisons and memory of disease.
Rebuilding body tissues, promoting rejuvenation and longevity.
Normalization of the menstrual cycle.
Increased awareness and increased emotional and mental clarity.
Increased physical flexibility.
Deeper and more insightful meditation - by teaching us how to
discover the seat of divinity in the most embryonic form, thus
creating a balance in all the different bodies.