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PANCHAKARMA – THE ULTIMATE DETOXIFICATION

Author - Surya Lanka

Within the huge subject of Ayurveda there is a detailed description of the classical method of cleansing and rejuvenating the body – this is called Panchakarma. The main objectives of Panchakarma are to remove the cause of any illness present in the body, and to restore the balance of the Doshas.

This cleansing removes improperly digested food components, metabolism by-products and environmental poisons. It results in the stabilisation/strengthening of the immune system and the restoration of the power of the body to self-heal. There may also be a parallel emotional or spiritual purification whereby deep seated or long-standing emotions and conflicts can arise. Many of our guests at Surya Lanka also report greater mental clarity and a desire to pursue a more “thoughtful” life after their cure.

Ayurveda Treatment. Image courtesy of Coral Sands.
Panchakarma consists of five primary cleansing treatments:

Vamana : Medically induced vomiting with the help of herbal concoctions. This helps to regulate Kapha disorders.

Virechana : Evacuation of the bowels. Medically induced expulsion of toxins from the small intestine. The main purpose is to regulate Pitta disorders.

 Vasti : The medically induced expulsion of toxins from the colon which regulates Vata disorders.

Nasyam : Expulsion of mucus and ama in the region of the head and neck via the nose. It is useful in the treatment of Kapha disorders.

Rakta Moshana : Bloodletting. Cleansing of the blood with the aid of leeches or by scratching the skin.

Kati Vasti Treatment. Image courtesy of benefitsofayurveda.com
The panchakarma process is usually administered in three stages:

Purvakarma prepares the body for the actual cleansing. They loosen the toxins from the deeper tissues of the body and transport them to the gastro-intestinal tract. From here they can be expelled from the body through the main cleansing treatments. Snehanam or internal cleansing involves the ingestion of oil or ghee. This in turn loosens and transports ama to the gastro-intestinal tract where it can then be expulsed via Virechena or Vamana. Swedana refers to steam, most typically the steam bath taken after the skin’s pores have been opened by an oil massage in order to exude toxins via the skin. The steam is often enriched with freshly broken medicinal herbs to intensify the process.

Pradhanakara is the actual application of the selected cleansing treatments of Vamana, Virechana, Vasti, Nasyam and Rakta- Mosha.

Pashtatakarma is the post treatment stage. The body’s Doshas have now been restored to their inherent equilibrium so dietary changes and advice on Ayurvedic lifestyle practices are essential to maintain and strengthen both physical and mental Optimum health.

All programs at our Ayurveda Retreat strictly follow these three stages of Panchakarma. Not adhering to these stages in the correct order can result in harmful effects.

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