Ayurveda is a system of traditional Hindu medicine native to the Indian subcontinent, abound in Kerala. It is not just about good physical health. It is a therapy that promises holistic wellness.
The primary function of this curing remedy is elimination of toxic elements from the body. Ayurveda follows the concept of Dinacharya, which says that natural cycles (waking, sleeping, working, meditation etc.) are important for health.
Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means “five actions” or “five treatments”. And according to Ayurveda, the technique of panchakarma eliminates toxic elements from the body. It is preceded by Poorvakarma as a preparatory step, and is followed by Paschatkarma and Peyadikarma. It includes Vamana, Virechana, Basti, Nasya and Raktamokshana. The treatment is highly individualized based on the needs of the individual, depending on the Ayurvedic constitutional type. According to ayurveda, good health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all aspects of life, assimilating that which nourishes and eliminating the rest. When we can’t completely digest our food, experiences, and emotions, toxins accumulate in our bodily tissues, creating imbalance and – ultimately – disease. This can be effectively treated by Panchakarma that releases stored toxins and restores the body’s innate healing ability. It uses a combination of massage, herbal saunas, special foods and nutritional directives, mild fasting and colon therapies to rid the body of accumulated toxins.
The 5 Phases of Panchakarma :
- Purvakarma- The pre-purification preparation
Before the actual detoxification begins, there is a need to prepare the body in prescribed methods to encourage it to release toxins. Two procedures are used for this : Snehana and Swedana.
Snehana is a full-body massage with medicated herbal oils. The oil is massaged into the body in a particular manner in order to move the toxins towards the gastro-intestinal tract.
Swedana is sudation or sweating. It is given every day immediately following Snehana. It liquefies the toxins and facilitates their movement towards the gastro-intestinal tract.
(Then comes Pradhanakarma-The main Purification process)
- Vamana- Vomiting Therapy
When there is congestion in the lungs causing repeated bronchitis attacks, colds, cough or asthma, the Ayurvedic treatment is therapeutic vomiting. This therapy eliminates the Kapha causing the excess mucus.
- Virechana -Purgation Therapy
Used when excess bile (Pitta) is secreted and accumulated in the gall bladder, liver and small intestine, it tends to result in rashes, skin inflammation, acne, chronic fever, vomiting, nausea and jaundice.
- Nasya- Nasal Administration
The nasal administration of medicated drops is recommended for an excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinuses, throat, nose or head areas. They are eliminated through the nearest possible opening – the nose.
- Basti-Enema Therapy
The predominant location for Vata is the colon. Basti therapy involves the introduction of herbal decoctions and medicated oil preparations into the rectum. It relieves constipation, digestive problems, chronic fever, colds, sexual disorders, kidney stones, heart pains, backache, sciatica and various joint pains. Many other Vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches can also be treated with Basti.
This is the general Panchakarma therapy for a normal healthy person.
In Kerala, the rainy season is the ideal time for Ayurvedic treatments because the atmosphere remains cool, moist, and dust free. This opens up the body’s pores, making it receptive to herbal oils and therapy. Hence if you’re particularly visiting the state for an ayurvedic treatment, plan your trip anytime around June to September.