Five modes of cleansing: Panchakarma literally means five methods of body purification. These methods employed in the healthy to prevent diseases and to improve the community as also in the sick to treat a number of diseases. These methods are also employed as a part of the Rasyana therapy (Rejuvenation) that has gained a tremendous relevance over the years. There are certain preparatory methods to done before actual Panchakarma’s are performed. They are called as purvakarma in Ayurveda and involve internal administration of medical oils/ghee (Sneham), external application of oils and fomentation (Swedam).
These panchakarmas are
1. Vamana (Emesis therapy)
2. Virechana (Purgation Therapy)
3. Basti (Enema therapy)
4. Nasya (Medication through nostrils)
5. Rakthamoksha (Blood letting therapy)
Vamana (Emesis therapy)
This can be termed as medically induce emesis. After proper external and internal oleation of the body and fomentation specially prepared decoction are given to the patient to drink and emesis is induced. The procedure is to be done with utmost care and under medical supervision. This procedure is indicated in the healthy in the vasant ritu (Spring season) to prevent diseases due to kapha dosha. Vamana is highly beneficial to treat diseases of the respiratory system like asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and other diseases like Hyperacidity and skin diseases like psoriasis, eczemas and pemphigus.
Virechana (Purgation Therapy)
This involves the purgation by Ayurvedic method. The preparatory procedures are same as Vamana, in healthy individuals the procedure is done in Sharth ritu (Autumn season) to prevent the diseases, arising due to pitha dosha. Virechana is indicated in various diseases of the abdomen and a number of skin diseases.
Basti (Enema therapy)
Here the medicines are in form of decoction (Niruha Basti) or oil/ghee (Anuvasana) are administered through the anal route. These are called the medicated enemas. These enemas have high medical value and are used primarily in treating diseases like arthritis, backache, sciatica, osteoporosis and diseases of bowel like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and a number of other diseases. Basti has got a prime importance in the Ayurvedic method of treatment and referred as the half medicine in Ayurveda.
Nasya (Blowing an Illness)
This means instillation of medicines through nasal route. The medicines may be in the form of powders or in the form of medicated ghee/oils. There are various types of Nasya and they are to be performed according to the need of the patient. The Nasya therapy is primarily used in treating disease like sinusitis, rhinitis, hair fall, epilepsy, facial paralysis, and paralysis and various other psychological and neurological disorders. Nasya is also known for improving the intellect of the individual.
Rakthamoksha (Blood letting therapy)
These refers to blood-letting by various methods like sira vedha jalouka avacharana (Leech application) etc. the process is basically meant for the purification of the blood and to treat the blood related disorders, skin diseases, high blood pressure and other diseases. The use of leech in the treatment of many skin diseases is now well known and accepted all over the world. Leech therapy is used in treating disease like eczema vitiligo, non-healing ulcers varicose veins, pigment disorders, haematomas etc. This is mainly carried out through two commonly adopted methods Jalaukavacharana (Leech application) Siravyadha (Vein puncture).