Panchakarma – Ayurveda’s Complete Detoxification and Cleansing
Panchakarma is Ayurveda's primary purification and detoxification treatment. Panchakarma means "five therapies". These 5 therapeutic treatments eliminate toxins from the body, they are : Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti and Raktamoskshana. The series of these five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions).
Panchakarma is effective only if special detoxification diet is consumed along with the treatments. We at Ayurveda Retreat are very aware of this and every individual undergoing Panchakarma receives special diet which is monitored every day by the doctor. Additional treatments may be recommended by the doctor and provided at no extra charge.
Vamana is a medicated emesis therapy which removes Kapha toxins collected in the body and the respiratory tract. This is given to people with high Kapha imbalance. Daily treatment involves loosening and mobilizing the toxins in an effort to finally eliminate them.
Benefits of Vamana: Bronchial Asthma, Chronic Allergies, Hay Fever, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Hyperacidity, Chronic Indigestion Nasal Congestion, Edema, Obesity, Psychological disorders, Skin disorders.
Virechana is medicated purgation therapy which removes Pitta toxins from the body that are accumulated in the liver and gallbladder. It completely cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. It is a safe procedure without side effects. Benefits of Virechana help root out Chronic Fever, Diabetes, Asthma, Skin disorders such as Herpes, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia Joint disorders, Digestive disorders, Constipation, Hyperacidity, Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Headaches, Elephantiasis and Gynecological disorders.
Basti (Enema or Colonic Irrigation)
Basti (Enema) is considered as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments. It cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the 3 doshas : Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Basti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction is given as enema to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone. This treatment is provided for several days, based on the medical condition of a person.
Benefits: For Hemiplegia, Paraplegia, Colitis, Convalescence, Cervical Spondylosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, Digestive disorders, Backache & Sciatica, Hepatomegaly & Splenomegaly, Obesity, Piles, Sexual Debility & Infertility.
Nasya (Nose Cleaning)
Nasya involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region. Based on the medical condition of a person, it can be given up to 30 days. Nasya benefits include Trigeminal Neuralgia, Bel's Palsy, improves memory & eye sight, insomnia, elimination of excess mucus, hyper pigmentation in the face, pre-mature graying of hair, clarity of voice, headaches of various origins, Hemiplegia, loss of smell and taste, frozen shoulder, migraine, stiffness of the neck, nasal allergies, nasal polyp, neurological dysfunctions, Paraplegiar and sinusitis.
Raktamokshana is a procedure to cleanse the blood and is advised only in extremely rare conditions. It is NOT advised during general Panchakarma. Most Ayurveda Centers including ours do not offer Raktamokshana due to the high risk of infection involved in blood cleansing.
Ayurvedic purification procedures
It has been scientifically proven that natural purification treatments can successfully eliminate environmentally toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB's) and pesticides from our body, without damaging it or causing side effects.
A study at the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa in collaboration with a special laboratory at Colorado University demonstrated that classical Panchakarma Treatment eliminated up to 50% of the detectable toxins in the blood.
Chemicals injure health
The world's largest facility for substance identification, the Chemical Abstracts Service in Columbus, Ohio, USA currently has more than 13 million artificial substances registered. At least 100,000 of these industrial commodities combine into a chemical “soup” which we constantly absorb through food, air and skin. Experts calculate that in Germany 30% of the population suffer from environmentally induced diseases.
Most of the today's environmental toxins are lipophils that accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body. These fat-soluble toxins are associated with a range of diseases such as hormone disruption, immune system suppression, allergies, diseases of the liver and skin, various types of cancer, neurological illness, reproductive disorders and deformities.
The study consisted of two parts: a cross-sectional comparison and a longitudinal pre and post treatment. It was designed to examine the level of contamination by toxins in the population and the effectiveness of Panchakarma treatment in eliminating these poisons.
Several modalities in the Ayurveda detoxification procedure use non-toxic, lipophilic materials, such as clarified butter in the oleation phase and herbalized sesame oil in the massage and enema treatments. These traditional methods are believed to sequentially loosen and remove lipid soluble toxicants from their deposited sites and stimulate their elimination.
Part I - The cross-sectional study
88 subjects, age 45 years and older, participated in the cross-sectional study. 48 had previously undergone the detoxification procedure an average of 18 times and 40 had not. Blood samples from both groups were sent to the Analytical Laboratory in the Department of Environmental Health at Colorado State University that was blind to the treatment status of the subjects.
PCBs and Pesticides Found in Blood Samples: Blood samples from both cross-sectional groups were assayed for 17 lipophilic toxicants, including 9 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and 8 pesticides and metabolites, such as DDE, a by-product of DDT. The specific PCBs and pesticides that were studied had either been previously linked to major health problems or had been of high concern for their potential toxicity.
The results showed that PCBs and several other pesticides in the significantly lower in the blood levels of the detoxification group than that of the control group.
Part II - The longitudinal study
In the longitudinal study, blood samples from 15 subjects who participated in the Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH) Ayurvedic detoxification procedure were assayed, pre and post treatment, by Colombia State University Analytical Laboratory.
The results of the two-month longitudinal study showed that PCBs and Beta-HCH levels were reduced by 46 percent and 58 percent respectively in the MVAH detoxification group. Without this intervention, the expected drop in PCBs and Beta-HCH over two months would be only a fraction of one percent. Previously, no method had been scientifically verified to reduce levels of these lipid-soluble toxicants in the human body without causing negative side effects.
The study made two conclusions:
1) An alarming finding of the study was that PCB and DDE levels appear to be unexpectedly high in the general population, and may actually be increasing. This is surprising since these toxicants were banned decades ago in many countries. However they have not disappeared from the environment since they have half-lives of several years. Also they are still entering the food chain through imports.
2) Within days Panchakarma treatment eliminated a large proportion of these fat-soluble toxins from the body. Without this intervention, the expected drop would be only a fraction of one percent.
Study Shows Banned PCBs and Agrochemicals in Blood Reduced 50 Percent By Centuries-Old Detoxification Procedure.
Reference: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, (Sept./Oct. 2002), Vol. 8, No. 5: pp. 93-103.