Introduction

‘AYURVEDA’ 5000-year-old medical science of India evolved from the strong cultural and philosophical back ground. In ancient India all Knowledge's available at that time were compiled in 'Vedas'. Vedas are known as the oldest scripts of knowledge.

According to the philosophy of ancient India everything in this universe are made up of five basic elements. This theory is called 'Panchamahabhutha theory'. Ayurveda accepted Panchamahabhutha theory, and the science is built upon the basis of this theory.

  • Prithwi bhutha (Earth element)
  • Ap bhutha (Water element)
  • Agni bhutha (Fire element)
  • Vayu bhutha (Air element)
  • Akasa bhutha (Ether element)

These five basic elements combined in different ratios and combinations to form every thing in the universe. But in the case of living things there is a special ratio of combination to produce three functional elements, they are called as ‘Doshas’ or bioenrgies. These doshas are ‘Vatha’, ‘Pitha’, and ‘Kapha’.

Vatha is formed from the combination of elements air and ether

Pitha is formed from fire and water element 

Kapha is formed water and earth element 

Doshas control all the body activities.

Vatha is the principle governing the movements like heart beat, blinking of eye lids, movements of muscles and tissues, expansion and contraction movements, movements of nerve impulses, etc. It also governs the emotions like fear, anxiety, pain etc. 

Pitha governs digestion, heat, visual perception, hunger, thirst, lustre, complexion, under standing, intelligence, courage and softness of the body. 

Kapha gives body stability, lubrication of joints, immunity, and supporting memory. It also governs emotions like forgiveness, calmness and love. 

When doshas are working properly all body functions takes place properly and equilibrium of the body is maintained. That means balanced state of doshas is the condition of health. If doshas are in a balanced state all the seven basic body tissues are in a balanced condition, digestive fire is in a balanced state and proper transformation of one tissue into another takes place properly. Soul and mind and sense organs are in a pleasant condition. According to Ayurveda this state is called Health. Now a days the concept of health in Ayurveda is accepted world wide. 

By birth each individual attains certain characters related to dosha and according to the predominance of these characters Ayurveda categories individuals into seven ‘Prakrithi’ (constitutional types).They are named in terms of doshas, they are Vatha Prakrithi (Vatha type), Pitha Prakrithi (Pitha type), Kapha Prakrithi (Kapha type), Vaytha-Kapha Prakrithi, Vatha-Pitha Prakrithi, Pitha-Kapha Prakrithi and Tridosha Prakrithi (Vatha-Pitha-Kapha type). 

There are lot of factors including life style and adverse climatic conditions which can produce the imbalance of doshas and leads to diseases. To correct the imbalance and thus to cure diseases Ayurveda suggests certain treatments. 
They are of two types, 

  1. Sodhana Chikitsa (Elimination of toxins from the body)

  2. Samana Chikitsa (Pacifying treatments)

Among these two, Sodhana Chikitsa (elimination of toxins from the body) is the main treatment. Sodhana Chikitsa is otherwise called Panchakarma. These are the five methods of purification : 

1. Nasya  
Administration of herbal preparations through the nostrils. It is the main treatment for the diseases of the head and neck. According to Ayurveda nostril is the easiest and closest opening for conveying the potency of the medicines to the cranial cavity. Nasya treatment is effective in diseases associated with all the five sensory organs and this treatment will improve the functions of these sensory organs, also effective in diseases such as head ache, hemiplegia, facial palsy, discharge from the nose, throat diseases, mumps, epilepsy, skin diseases, blackish discolouration over face and neck, hair falling premature greying.

2. Vamana
It is the process of elimination of toxins through the mouth by induction of vomiting by giving herbal preparations after proper preparatory processes like oleation (snehana) and sweating (sweating). Specifically indicated for Kapha dominated diseases and diseases in which kapha is associated , such as Asthma, cough, hiccough, thyroid problems, ring worm, lymphadenoma, hallitosis, tumours, diabetes, elephantiasis, pruritus, urticarias, pimples, etc. Also useful in situations like conception of poison, bleeding per rectum, bleeding per vagina etc.

3. Virechana 
Herbal preparations having the property to produce purgation are given. Effective method of sodhana treatment for diseases due to vitiation of Pitha, raktha and some cases of Kapha. Diseases such as piles, boils, discolouration of face, liver diseases, ascites, arthritis, conception of poison, splenomegally, cataract, intestinal disorders, lunacy, breast milk disorders, constipation, skin diseases, filaria, asthma, anemia, fistula, haemaptisis, oedema, cough, tubercular glands, heart burn etc ..  

4. Sneha Vasthi 
Specially prepared medicated oil introduced through the rectal route. Diseases caused by Vatha vitiation can be corrected by this treatment. 

5. Kashaya Vasthi 
Mixture of herbal decoction, medicated oil, honey, herbal paste etc are introduced through the rectal route. 

Vasti's are the most important treatments among Panchakarma. Both vasthi's are indicated specially for the treatment of diseases caused by vitiation of Vatha but also good for all other diseases. Especially diseases like abdominal flatulence , spleen diseases, indigestion, acidity, burning sensation, constipation, gyneacological problems, urinary calculi, numbness, rectal pain, various type of arthritic problems, over appetite, dehydration, etc.
 
These are the Panchakarma treatments and each treatment have its own indications. Panchakarma treatments purify the body from the toxins and provide good immune power to the body. So doing these body purification treatments every year keep the body healthy through out the year. 

Before doing Panchakarma there are certain preparation treatments. The desired results of Panchakarma treatments we can attain by the preparation treatments followed by purification.

 



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