Panchakarma and its importance
Ayurveda, the science of life or science of longitivity, views human health or body as intimately connected with the environment and with the “panchamahabutas” (Forces of nature). Most of the diseases occur at any stage due to imbalance in these eco-human connections. Ayurveda is one among the oldest scientific medical systems in the world with wealth of clinical knowledge and experience, is structured and formulated to treat or cure the imbalances successfully.
Ayurveda accepts the common origin for the cosmos and human body. In the process of creation, Ayurveda believes there were two kinds of substances, which are non material and material. Non material substances are “trigunas” (Satva, Rajo and Tamo gunas), whereas, materialistic substances are Panchamahabutas (Prithvi, ap, thejo, vaju and akasa), earth, water, fire, air and eather. Fire is one among the five panchanmahabuts, which also place major role in the transformation of human body and also in the day to day chemical, physiological and physical activities of human life.
Ayurvedic treatment is also called as Chikista in Sanskrit, has been divided in to so many types, Acharya Vaghbhta divided in to two major types followed by 6 subtypes. Which includes Langana (Reduction), Svedana (Sudation), Rookshana (drying), Brihana (Tonification), Snenhana (Oleation) and Sthambhana (Astringent).
Acharya Charaka, divided the Ayurvedic Treatment as two major types as, Samana (palliation) and Sodhana (Purification or elimination)
Palliation type of treatment mainly involves reduction of aggravated or vitiated doshas (Bio- Humors), this kind of practice, which mainly include taking some supplements or Ayurvedic Medicines is widely used currently. This only gives partial relief to the symptoms. Whereas, treatment which starts with the (Panchakarma) purification or by elimination methods will treats the condition to its roots. So that reoccurrence will be very minimal or sometimes do not recur.
Importance of AGNI (Fire)
In both kinds of treatment the important factor is “AGNI”. According to ayurvedic medicine, it is the only one we are treating for. In most of the disease the root cause will be simple indigestion, which turns creating toxins in the body also denoted as “AMA”. These toxins will get absorbed by the system (RASA) and accumulated in target organ (DHATHU) and cause disease (ROGA). It is very important to keep the digestive tract free of toxins, by improving AGNI. Keeping healthy digestive tract is only possible through the proper elimination methods (regular Panchakarma). Panchakaram can be done both for preventive and curative purpose.
The most confusing point for most of the people is where to start? What to expect? What exactly this will do for us? So many. In order to answer the questions step by step manner, it is important to know what is Panchakarma involves, how many days it takes, what are types and their benefits. Panchakarma is combination of five different therapies.
- Vamana (Medicated Vomiting)
- Virechana (Medicated purgation)
- Anuvasna Vasti ( Medicated oil enema)
- Niruha vasti (Medicated Herbal decoction Enema)
- Nasya (Nasal medication).
Panchakarma – benefits
In order to explain the benefits of Panchakarma, it is very important to know what the Bio humors (Three dhoshas). Three dhosha, Vata, Pitta and kapha are the Bio humors which balance creates health and imbalance results disease.
What is Bio – Humors?
All activities in the universe as well as human are grouped in to three main basic functions, viz. creation, organization and destruction. These functions are represented in universe by three energies, i.e. moon or rain or principle of cohesion, sun or principle of thermo genesis and wind or principle of propulsion.
Ether and air (Akasha and Vayu) combine to form Vata dosha, which is responsible for controlling destruction – Vasti (medicated enema is more suitable Panchakarma type)
Pitta is formed by the element of fire and small amount of water. This is also called as thermogenic principle, which is responsible for digestion and metabolism – As the seat of pitta is liver (middle part of body), so the virechana Karma (Downwards elimination is more suitable)
Water and Earth combine to form biological water humor or kapha, which is responsible for new growth, strength, protection of all organs and maintaining the creation – As the seat of Kapha is the chest (upper part of the body), so the vamana (Upward elimination) is more suitable procedure.
Ayurveda teaches that the balance of three subtle energies, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha, maintains health. Kapha is responsible for strength and immunity. It also provides the basic substratum to all the tissues of the body. Biological fire humor or Pitta is responsible for digestion and metabolism and biological air humor or vata is responsible for all the movements- gross and subtle in the body. In order to balance these subtle energies, it is first important to identify the dosha which is in imbalanced, and then accordingly select the Panchakarma therapy to treat the condition from roots.
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By Dr Kumar CRS BAMS (GOLD MEDALLIST), MPH, MHP, Consultant Ayurvedic Physician and Panchakarma Specialist JEEVA HEALTH PTY LTD