We love our body because it is unique to us and embrace the mind because it guides us every now and then. While our body carries out specific functions necessary for everyday living, our mind helps us control our thoughts, feelings, emotions and allows us to focus properly. Hence it is important to take care of both your mind and body and let go of all the harmful toxins and other unwanted substances that get accumulated and stored in the body over time as they can impact your health and interfere with proper functioning. (At a time, you most likely store at least 700 toxic chemicals in your body. They may enter the body through our food, our water, our air and may even come from pesticides/herbicides and other chemicals.)
Doing this on a regular basis can help improve physical health, enhance energy levels, reduce stress and other negative emotions. Furthermore, it can also promote weight loss and boost metabolism. Fortunately, attaining the state of optimal health, vitality and wholeness and a body and mind free of toxins and impurities may not need multiple treatments and medications. Panchakarma procedure in Ayurveda is the ultimate treatment for cultivating the mind-body balance. It not only helps cure major and complex diseases and rids the body of toxins but also restores balance in the body and the mind, helping maintain optimum health and safeguarding the body from future diseases allowing you to take charge of your life.
Before you kickstart your journey to good health, let us first understand what is the exact definition of good health.
A healthy body can not just help you resist illness and diseases but enables you to deal with changes and challenges in daily life. While most people believe being free from disease is considered to be healthy, there is a larger picture. According to Ayurveda, health is more than having a body that is free from diseases and works well. It isn't just about the physical body and biological functioning but a balanced mind, thought process and emotional responses.
Overall, good health is all about wholeness and balance. (One of the main reasons for all kinds of imbalances and diseases in the body is the accumulation of ama).
Let’s see what all elements should be in balance in order to be in good health.
If all the above factors and elements strike the right balance, the person is called a healthy person or Swastha.
Let us take a few notes. Ama refers to improperly digested food that gets absorbed into the system. Such partly digested food is a toxic disease-causing substance. It can block the subtle channels of the body and cause imbalances in the doshas. It may even destroy Agni and increases the risk of diseases in the body.
Agni refers to the digestive fire in the body. It is responsible for regulating body temperature, and supports all digestion, absorption, and assimilation processes and helps convert the food into energy.
By now we have covered what good health exactly means according to Ayurveda. Now let us know in detail how Panchakarma procedure can help maintain this optimal state of health.
The panchakarma process is a set of five therapeutic and detoxification treatments all of which aim at removing and eliminating toxins from the body in order to cleanse the system and enable the organs to function to their full capacity. It begins with medicated herbal and essential oils which are either administered internally or poured on the body for a therapeutic massage to loosen and lubricate the toxins thereby facilitating easy removal from the human body.
By helping you eliminate all the waste materials and toxins that have accumulated over the years, Panchakarma detoxification goes a long way and helps the patient maintain optimum health. It prevents the body from the adverse effects of the harmful disease-causing toxins, unblocks the channels, restores balance and cleanses the system. Due to its preventive, curative and promotive actions, it is gaining immense popularity all over the world and is being used widely for treating various diseases.
The classic authentic Ayurvedic detox treatment is of five types. Hence the name PANCHA (five) KARMA (procedures). All five processes are highly beneficial in detoxification and allow the recipient’s vital energies to flow freely again. They restore the three doshas to their natural equilibrium, and positively impact the overall health and well being. Furthermore, Panchakarma procedure is regarded as Ayurveda’s primary purification as well as detoxification treatment which alone can alleviate and treat many chronic diseases. As it helps restore balance in the body and the mind, it also prevents future diseases and the need for complex allopathic treatments.
The famous detoxification process is performed only at certified Ayurvedic centers by well experienced and highly professional Ayurvedic panchakarma and massage therapists.
It is important to note that Ayurvedic traditional Panchakarma therapy is conducted after a thorough physical examination and pulse diagnosis by an experienced and certified Ayurvedic Doctor.
The Panchakarma procedure takes you through complete detoxification and healing typically comprises three steps. While the initial stage aims at loosening and liquefying waste products (ama), the main procedure aims at the disposal or elimination of the toxins and the waste products which are one of the main disease-causing elements in the body. Let us take a look at them in detail
Panchakarma process is a series of five detox therapies that act on the body’s tissues, blood, skin, major organs and deep cleanse the body/system of toxins or Ama while balancing the doshas. Below is the list of the five crucial therapies and how they are performed to bring back the energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha into equilibrium.
Vaman means therapeutic vomiting. During this therapy, the recipient is subjected to inside and outside oleation (Snehan) and fomentation (Swedana) treatments to forcefully bring the kapha from the respiratory tract into the stomach and then a controlled vomiting is induced which is a medicated emesis. Vamana therapy is administered in Kapha-dominant conditions such as obesity, asthma, and hyperacidity.
Virechana involves the clearing of the bowels for purgation or disposal of toxins. During the therapy, the patient is given a natural purgative in increasing quantity for a specific time duration (up to 7 days) depending on the strength of his digestive fire. This is said to trigger a response that forces all the ama or toxins of the body to accumulate in the small intestine and ultimately get eliminated, purifying the body of toxins. This procedure not only helps the body get rid of the toxins and the pitta dosha but also purifies the blood and the digestive system. Virechana therapy is administered in Pitta dominant conditions such as acne, eczema, gastritis, colitis, haemorrhoids, chronic headaches, migraine, stomach and intestinal ulcers, liver infections etc.
In this treatment, an enema containing various medicated substances such as medicated oil/Kashayam/fluid is administered into the rectum to flush out the toxins through the colon. Besides pacifying the Vata and other allied doshas in the body, it improves strength and digestive power, nourishes the body and sustains age. Basti is often regarded as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments. This is because it helps the recipient flush out the toxins from all the 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the bowel movements. This treatment is administered in conditions such as chronic fever, kidney stones, constipation, distention, heart pain, backache, obesity and Digestive issues and vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms.
Nasya is an ultimate panchakarma treatment for healing and is extremely effective in clearing and purging the head area. The ancient Ayurvedic nasal treatment begins with a delicate head, neck and shoulder massage using organic aromatherapy products. After the completion of the massage, warmed herbal oil is installed in both the nostrils which helps cleanse, purify and strengthen the nasal passages and open the channels of the head thereby improving the process of oxygenation (prana). Nasya therapy can have beneficial effects in people with respiratory diseases such as congestion, allergies, chronic cough, rhinitis etc. It is also useful in treating headaches, sleep disorders, and neurological disorders.
Raktamokshana, is designed to remove and expel the impure blood from the body to reduce the number of toxic substances in the blood and thus help manage and treat disease conditions caused by impure blood. During the therapy, carefully controlled removal of small quantities of the vitiated blood is conducted by the Ayurvedic therapist to expel the accumulated toxins. It can be done in a particular area such as the gluteal region or the low back region or for the whole body. The role of Raktamokshana is quite significant in treating different skin infections, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, acne and local lesions such as abscesses and pigmentation.
Swedana is a very common procedure conducted as a part of the Ayurvedic panchakarma procedure. It's a passive body heat therapy that involves the use of Dry and wet saunas to open up the pores and induce sweating. As the recipient sweats profusely, the body starts releasing impurities through the sweat glands and thus cleanses itself. The therapy also encourages a general state of relaxation and relieves stiffness, heaviness.
Abhyanga is the external oleation of the body. It's an ayurvedic massage that's performed using warm oil and herbs to nourish the tissues, loosen impurities, and promote overall health and wellness. When the oil is applied to the entire body and combined with massage strokes, the toxins and the impurities start to loosen up and ultimately get expelled through the channels of elimination. A study conducted in 2011 also found that after the massage, the recipients’ subjective stress levels and heart rate decreased.
Change is constant, inevitable and always for the better. Panchakarma procedure is no exception. Over the years, Panchakarma therapy has evolved in various ways and made considerable progress. In modern times, Panchakarma and Ayurveda clinics give even more importance to patient safety. Also, the best ones comply with the standards set by the NABH (The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers) which is the most respected and prestigious accreditation board for healthcare organizations. Now, let us begin with how the Panchakarma procedure has changed and evolved.
Below are the five therapies which are at the heart of a classic or traditional Panchakarma treatment
Some of the cleansing procedures mentioned above have been modified for better patient convenience and more effective outcomes. They are widely known for their significant beneficial effects on overall health, wellness and healing. Below are the elements used in the modern Panchakarma treatment to cleanse the body of toxins and impurities.
Just like the classic Panchakarma, modern panchakarma therapeutic processes are also based on five essential therapies. The effects are incredibly positive, powerful and help bring a long-lasting balance within the mind, body and spirit when accompanied by a proper diet and appropriate lifestyle. Furthermore, the modern Panchakarma procedure also facilitates a deep-rooted release of stress that may have built up due to obvious reasons and is stuck in the body for years. Also, rather than weeks, it takes a couple of days to complete.
Panchakarma therapy is not just a detoxification and cleansing technique but significantly heals the body and the mind and provides a rejuvenating experience. You can go for a Panchakarma therapy whenever you feel sick and need healing, purification or rejuvenation or whenever you feel the need to achieve a balanced state of mind and the body and when suffering from diseases or medical conditions. In general, Ayurvedic doctors recommend that even a healthy person should go for Panchakarma detoxification at least once a year. This is because it can help prevent diseases and ensure the best and optimum health. On the other hand, a person with the illness can go for Panchakarma treatment twice a year.
Also, some Vedic texts recommend Panchakarma treatments three to four times a year as per the season. For example, chilling winters can cause cold, flu, fever, and cough throughout the season and also aggravate Asthma etc. Opting for Panchakarma treatment during the winter can help rejuvenate the nervous system and is a great way to relieve stress, pressure and regain control of yourself. Similarly, Panchakarma performed in spring can help eliminate all the excess fat and proteins which our body usually accumulates in the winter months and thus help get you in shape.
Panchakarma therapy is an integral part of the Ayurveda health care system. Accreditation is thus important for Panchkarma clinics in order to attract patients and gain their trust and confidence.
Among all other accreditations, Nabh is the most prestigious accreditation for a Panchakarma centre issued by the Quality Council of India. This is because NABH has strict protocols and policies for patient care, patient safety, medication management, etc. Acquiring NABH accreditation means that the Panchakarma centre follows a strict system and enhanced process for patient safety when managing and delivering the Panchakarma therapy to the patients. Be it an Ayurveda hospital or an Ayurveda centre, a variety of people are responsible for ensuring patient care and safety apart from the doctors. So when providing accreditation, NABH also takes into account the work structures, quality standards and safety protocols that are being followed by the staff. The ayurveda centers/hospitals accredited by NABH have international recognition.
Below are the NABH standards for Panchakarma clinics. It comprises both quality assurance standards and treatment standards during different stages of care.
COP 1: Care and treatment is provided in a uniform manner irrespective of background, economic class, race, language etc.
COP 2: Special attention and care shall be given to patients with special needs & disabilities. Along with this, extremely specific and personalized treatment plans shall be followed for such patients to ensure optimal health outcomes.
COP 3: Documented policies and procedures shall be followed to ensure excellence in pain management and appropriate pain management methods.
COP 4: Documented policies and procedures shall be followed to ensure appropriate rehabilitative services
COP 5: Policies and procedures shall be followed to achieve optimal health from Panchakarma Therapy.
COP 6: Policies and procedures shall be followed when conducting all types of research activities, if applicable..
COP.7. Documented policies and procedures shall be followed when recommending diet and daily regimens to the patient (pathya/ apathya ahara and vihara)
Owing to therapeutic and curative benefits, Panchakarma procedure is gaining more and more popularity across the world. However, it can be life-threatening and deadly if it is not performed by experienced and certified Ayurvedic experts and in an appropriate manner and using proper precautions such as thorough pre-assessment and pulse diagnosis. Thus it is highly important to choose a certified Ayurvedic clinic for the best quality of care.
There has been a substantial increase in the Ayurveda massage centres in and around all the major cities in India. However, they differ in their infrastructure and the set-up of Panchakarma facilities and the quality of healthcare. The Kerala gov has classified the Ayurveda centres into three main categories based on the amenities offered and the quality of the Ayurveda centre.
While Ayur Silver centres have minimum facilities for wellness-based Ayurveda therapies like Panchakarma, Ayur Diamond centres have the highest facilities. If your medical condition is acute and requires critical care, you may choose to visit an Ayur diamond Ayurvedic centre.
The ancient practice of Panchakarma not just focuses on treating the disease but focuses on detoxification, rejuvenation and aims to achieve a balanced mind, body and spirit and balanced doshas. Thus a panchakarma program takes place over the course of several days, allowing cleansing and awakening of one’s healing energies and senses and elimination of the toxic substances that have accumulated over time. Usually, the Panchakarma treatment lasts for a minimum of 7 days. Depending on the severity of the medical condition, it may continue for up to 28 days or more if the Ayurvedic Doctor advises.
Panchakarma procedure is a highly popular and individualized treatment plan that stresses on preventive care as well other than disease management. The complete process of Ayurveda Panchakarma cleanse involves five steps namely Virechana, Vamana, Nasya, Basti and Rakta Mosha. They are known for their multidimensional actions such as preventive, curative and rejuvenation. They not only help remove toxins out of the body and treat the disease conditions but improve metabolism and nourish the body.
Panchakarma procedure is a very crucial part of Ayurvedic detox. Right from helping the body get rid of toxins and waste materials to helping the organs function normally to its full capacity, it has multiple benefits. It completely purifies the body and strengthens the immune system to restore health and well being. It helps the body expel all the toxins or the ama, speeds up metabolism and enhances the strength of digestive fire. It also aids in weight loss by addressing the underlying cause of dosha imbalances. Furthermore, it also helps you overcome negative emotions such as stress and enhances mental and spiritual well being. So include this magical methodology in Ayurveda in your life to treat many ailments and relieve stress and anxiety.
Panchakarma cleanses and detoxifies the body and the mind and helps the system eliminate and expel all the disease-causing toxins and impurities. It also leads to stronger immunity and thus is the key to the prevention of many diseases. Thus one should undergo Panchakarma therapy for complete purification of the body and the mind and to maintain the state of optimum health. If you think your stomach is taking too long to digest food or you are experiencing diarrhea, heartburn very frequently, or suffering from nasal congestion or runny nose or unable to control emotions, feelings and undergoing a mental health crisis, this means that toxins have aggregated in your bodily tissues. You may opt for a Panchakarma treatment to get rid of all the impurities and toxins and cure many chronic diseases caused by toxins.
**The benefits of Ayurveda vary from person to person and the results may vary immensely based on the quality of the herbs, oil concoctions and medicines. BalanceBoat.com is not responsible or liable for the effectiveness and outcome of the Ayurvedic treatments. The information above is shareable purely for educational purpose it is not to be considered as a replacement for medical advice. Please always consult a certified specialist/Doctor before you embark upon a treatment.
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