Ayurveda is the most ancient yet unambiguous Medical Science that is being used for the benefit of mankind for thousands of years. Ayurveda has emerged through the Veda the most ancient literature about Indian Philosophy. More than a Medical Science it is a philosophy that encompasses science, art, customs or the lifestyle. It has Physics, astronomy, astrology, combinatorial chemistry, biology, botany etc. The list will go on as anything and everything in this universe has some link to it.
Ayurveda believes in the maintenance of health that helps prevent the diseases. However treats almost all the conditions in case health is disturbed. To serve both these purposes Internal Medication, Panchakarma and certain changes in lifestyle are employed in Ayurveda.
Panchakarma is a specialized branch in Ayurveda that helps to cleanse the body by eliminating vitiated dosha- Vata, Pitta and Kapha (These are basic body constituents that may cause pathological conditions when vitiated) out of the body. It is used in various ailments as a special tool.
There are five main treatments viz.
- Vaman (Emesis)
- Virechan (Purgation)
- Basti (Medicated Enema)
- Nasya (Errhine Therapy) &
- Raktamokshan (Blood letting)
Vaman – Induced Emesis
It is a prime Panchakarma procedure that eliminates vitiated Kapha mainly and up to certain extent Pitta. This vitiated Kapha and Pitta are responsible for numerous disorders like Asthma, hyperacidity etc. It is a well-controlled emesis induced with specific herbs and their decoctions.
Virechan – Induced Purgation
This is done with strong purgatives that eliminate the vitiated doshas (vitiated rudiments) out of the body and ultimately cleanse the body. This procedure is mainly recommended for Pitta and Vata disorders.
Basti – Medicated Enema
Enema containing various medicines in form of herbs, decoctions, honey, oil etc is given in various diseases. The purpose is not just the cleansing of colons but the alleviation of doshas as well. It proves to be a very effective remedy in a number of diseases including orthopedic & neurological disorders, obesity etc.
Nasya – Errhine Therapy
It is the nasal route of administration of medicines. It usually recommended for diseases affecting shoulders, neck and head region e.g. Cervical Spondylitis, Chronic rhinitis (Common Cold), Neuralgias, Hair disorders etc. Medicines can be in form of decoction, milk, juice, powder or fumes.
Raktamokshan – Blood Letting
Letting a certain quantity of blood out of the body eliminates vitiated Pitta out of the body and thus helps in a number of ailments involving blood tissue and Pitta. It is done in two ways viz. Leech treatment and with the help of needle and syringe through vein. Leeches when applied over the affected part of the body suck the blood up to their capacity and then leave the surface on their own. It is commonly used in skin diseases, psoriasis, abscess etc.
Along with the main Panchakarma Treatments, there are certain allied procedures that have tremendous effectiveness over a number of diseases.
Snehan – Oleation / Massage
It’s the most soothing treatment being done all over the world. Ayurvedaic Snehan incorporates the use of different oils and other unctuous materials. Various kinds of medicated oils, ghee etc are used to alleviate pain, fatigue and for many other purposes.
Swedan – Fomentation
Fomentation usually follows the Snehan / oil Application. It can be done using steam or dry heat. Steam box, Nadi-swed and different varieties of sauna can be used. Steam of herbal decoctions is used for the purpose. Along with orthopedic and neurological ailments like joint pain and spine disorders, it is also beneficial in Asthma and some skin disorders.
This is a treatment that has gained a wide popularity all over the world due to its efficacy in calming mind and relieving stress. It is a uniform flow of medicated oil / decoction / medicated buttermilk over the forehead for certain period of time. It soothes the mind and acts as a stress buster. It is commonly recommended in various neurological disorders like various kinds of headache, migraine, epilepsy etc. and hair disorders as well. It is the best treatment in hypertension to alleviate the blood pressure.
The medicated oil / medicine is allowed to rest over the head with help of a leather cap. It is beneficial in various psychological and neurological ailments.
It is a different kind of oleation where warm oil is squeezed from the pieces of cloth over the body. The procedure is valuable in Vata disorders including orthopedic and neurological manifestations. The utmost echelon of oleation can be achieved in this procedure.
This is a variety of fomentation done with the help of rice grains cooked in medicinal herbs. The rice filled in cotton bags is dipped in hot medicinal liquid and massaged all over the body. It is useful in muscular & musculo-skeletal disorders and various other painful conditions like joint pain in arthritis, gout etc.
This is a kind of Thermal Cautery done in painful conditions like corn. Agnikarma can relieve severe pain observed in joint disorders.
Lukewarm oil / medicine in liquid form is allowed to rest over the chest region to benefit in cardiac disorders. It helps in Angina, septal defects (perforation in the wall of the heart), palpitations, blocks in cardiac vessels etc.
Lukewarm oil / medicine in liquid form is allowed to rest over the lumbar region to impart the unctuousness and alleviate Vata in Vata disorders like arthritis, spondylitis and other degenerative manifestations.
Here Oil or ghee is used to nourish the eyes. It is allowed to rest over the affected eye with the help of a ring and sealing agent. It is recommended in various ophthalmic disorders.
To summarize, Panchakarma is the mode of treatment that helps to maintain the health and treat the pathological conditions by altering the complete equation of the diseased condition.
Dr. Mahesh Sabade – MD (Ayurvedaa)