Stressful time and diets that introduce multiple toxins, Panchakarma is designed to address all these issues. Niraamaya Retreats offers a 14-night Panchakarma package under the expert guidance of expert Ayurveda doctors at Niraamaya Retreats. 

The reasons why Ayurveda is the answer to your deep-seated health issues

There is little doubt that the wonders of Ayurveda are multi-pronged, improving the lives of the practitioners in multiple ways. Ayurveda — which is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit, holistically approaches the physical well-being of an individual. 

It defines health as a state of being where the body is clear of toxins, the human organs are functioning as they should and the mind is calm. However, given the pattern of human lives, especially in our present stressful, on-the-run times, this perfect state of being is not always easily achieved. The reverse is largely true for most busy professionals. This fast-paced life has led to marked corrosion in the functioning of the body and the mind, and the emergence of a variety of maladies to damage an individual’s health.

Panchakarma’s holistic healing ways

In the Ayurvedic system, Panchakarma, designed to address all these issues, is the ultimate detoxification of the body and mind. Translated, Panchakarma in Sanskrit means ‘five actions’ or ‘five treatments’ that include the process of cleansing the body of toxins and rejuvenation at a very deep level. Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal treatment for elimination of factors causing diseases and maintaining the equilibrium of biological energies – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha explains Dr. Arun, the resident doctor at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Kovalam, the flagship of the group.

The Panchakarma therapy is a highly complex and sophisticated science of purification of the body-mind channel systems. The body usually has the innate capability to efficiently process and remove toxins, or address doshas that are out of balance. However, a multitude of factors, such as poor diet, lack of adequate exercise, irregular lifestyle, or even genetic predisposition, the digestive enzymes, and hormones which regulate the body’s internal constant internal temperature, get messed up. This can lead to the accumulation and spread of toxins, which impact certain parts of an individual’s physiology such as Agni or gastric fire, resulting in illness. In Ayurveda, these toxins, or waste elements are referred to as ama, a foul-smelling, harmful matter that needs to be removed from humans. Ama slowly affects prana (vital life energy), Ojas (immunity), and Tejas (cellular metabolic energy), leading to illnesses. Ama is said to be the basic cause of all human diseases, caused by aggravated doshas.

To stop the growth of ama, Ayurveda suggests putting the individual on a regulated diet with appropriate lifestyle, including exercise, alongside a period of Panchakarma. In Ayurveda, Panchakarma is only one of a group of therapies belonging to a class of cleansing procedures called Shodana. For those whose bodies are not equipped for Shodana, there are also milder techniques called Shamana.

The Three Stages

In Panchakarma, the detoxification process involves three main stages: a modified diet and lifestyle have to be followed throughout these three stages.

Purva Karma

Before the process of purification or Panchakarma therapy can begin, there is a need to prepare the body with certain methods to free it of resident toxins. The therapy is preceded by the Purva Karma in which the body is prepared for removal of toxins through dietary adjustments (Deepana and Paachana), pre-oleation and Abhyanga (oil massage), Abhyantara Snehan (internal oleation with oral intake of medicated or non-medicated ghee or oil), Bahya Snehan (external oleation through massages) and Sarvanga Swedana (therapeutic sweating through steam bath). 

This stage helps soften and oleate the channels so that toxins can be eliminated more easily, thus increasing bodily metabolic fire or ‘Agni’.

Pradhan Karma or Panchakarma

This stage consists of the five main detoxifying actions in Panchakarma therapy. 

Vamana (therapeutic emesis)

In Ayurveda, the congestion in the lungs that leads to repeated attacks of bronchitis, cough or asthma, is addressed by therapeutic vomiting or Vamana, to eliminate the Kapha causing the excess mucus. Vamana, properly addressed, should make the person breathe more freely, remove heaviness in the chest, and help to improve the appetite.

Virechana (therapeutic purgation)

Ayurveda’s solution to skin inflammation, rashes, biliary vomiting, nausea, chronic bouts of fever, and jaundice is therapeutic purgation or a therapeutic laxative by which excess bile, pitta, accumulated in the gall bladder, liver and small intestine, is secreted. Purgatives can completely cure the problem of excess pitta during the treatment, the patient should avoid foods that will exacerbate the predominant dosha or cause the three doshas to become out of balance.

Vasthi (medicated enema)

Vata is an active principle in the manifestation of diseases. Vata, however, can be checked through the use of Vasthi. Vata is located in the large intestine, though bone tissues or Astha dhatu also have Vata.

Nasya (nasal administration of medication)

An excess of bodily doshas in the sinus, throat, nose or head is eliminated using the nearest possible opening, the nose. The nasal administration of medication is called Nasya. Prana or life force as nerve energy enters the body through the breath, taken in through the nose. Prana maintains sensory and motor functions as well as governs mental activities, memory and intellect. Damaged prana leads to defective their functioning and produces headaches, loss of memory, reduced the sensory perception and related issues. Nasya is suggested for prana disorders, sinus, migraines, convulsions and certain problems of the eyes and ears.

Rakthamoksha (bloodletting therapy)

For skin disorders such as rashes, herpes, eczema, acne, leukoderma, chronic itching or hives, hypertension and certain circulatory conditions, enlarged liver, spleen, and gout, Ayurveda recommends — along with internal medication — elimination of the toxins and purification of the blood via bloodletting. Pitta is produced from the disintegrated red blood cells in the liver. Increase in pitta could be present in the blood, which leads to increased toxicity, further leading to pitta disorders. Extracting a small amount of blood from a vein relieves the tension created by these toxins.

The doctors at our retreats will analyse and prescribe one or more of the five Panchakarma cleansing, procedures depending on the current state of the ‘doshas’ and psychological preparedness of the individual.

Paschat Karma

Paschat Karma involves ‘aftercare’ procedures to avail the full benefit of Panchakarma. It may include certain rejuvenating treatments known as Rasayana Therapy, which encompasses lifestyle management, diet management and intake of herbal supplements. Rasayana means restorative and rejuvenating measures that follow Panchakarma. During the phase, the digestive power is brought back to normalcy and medicines are administered to rejuvenate the body or to treat the disease.

The Do’s and don’ts

It is generally recommended that Panchkarma be a done seasonally, or when an individual feels out of balance or is unwell. During the Panchakarma therapy, Ayurveda recommends certain lifestyle and diet guidelines. Avoid certain foods — cold food, cold drinks, caffeine, dairy products, white sugar, alcohol, and recreational drugs. Khichdi (kedgeree) with ghee is highly recommended as the diet during the treatment.

Plenty of rest is advisable as is an avoidance of strenuous activities, sexual activity, even loud music, and other such stimulating experiences. It is important to keep away from the wind and keep warm. 

Also, it is quite important to undergo Panchakarma treatment under the guidance of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner. Despite theoretical similarities, the treatment for each person is individually prescribed, with their specific constitution and ailments in mind, and its administration requires regular observation and supervision.

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