Introduction to Panchakarma – The Ayurvedic Art of Healing

Health is a state of physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease says WHO. According to Ayurveda, the state of Swastha(healthy individual) is achieved when there is equilibrium among his Doshas, Agni, Dhatus, Malas and also a pleasant Atma, Indriya and Manas.

The word Panchakarma although used synonymous to the science of Ayurveda, is a branch consisting of treatments and therapies formulated in order to eliminate the accumulated morbid debris out of your body. As the word suggests, it has five procedures namely Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Vasti and Raktamokshana.

Where does the debris come from?

Your body performs a serious of activities 24×7, right from waking up in the morning until going to bed. Your needs have been increasing every year, every month, everyday and your race to achieve all these have made your body a reservoir of diseases. Confused?

The world is changing every minute, forcing man to adopt a sedentary life style which is rather stressful and strenuous. As a part of this competition, diet habits have changed from home made momma’s food to fast food, games and exercises have given way to video games and sports in TV. There is no time for rest or health. All these factors result in increased oxidative stress in our body. There is an increased concentration of free radicals which keep accumulating in our body to such an extent that it reaches even the subtle intracellular levels, pulling our graph down the line.


Just imagine your body to be a water reservoir with its pipelines as your organs, organ systems, tissues or cells. As time progresses, if there are no proper purifactory measures taken at home, impurities begin to accumulate. This accumulation paves way for development of algae, fungi and other parasites. The tank begins to function as a culture medium for parasitic microorganisms which then function as a platform for other bigger organisms. They release toxins which are released into the water we drink. Gradually, the pipelines get narrowed due to waste deposition reducing its lumen to a considerable amount.

Similarly, the waste products after metabolism get collected in between the tissues further get gathered, building up its level in our system. They release more and more free radicals, giving way to abnormal metabolic products getting deposited as plaque in the blood vessels narrowing the pathways of circulation and proper functioning of the individual’s body. The end product being severe cellular oxidative stress results in morbidity with mortality as one of its threats.

Why Panchakarma?

Panchakarma consists of procedures concerned with purification upto the minutest level. Its effect is just not on the superficial aspect of physical well being or treatment of any particular disease entity, but to the mental and spiritual extent, probably why it comes under the heading “Wholistic way of Healing”.

The procedures are usually carried out as 3 steps: Poorvakarma, Pradhana karma and Paschatkarma viz the Preparatory procedure, Main procedure and the Final procedure, all of which are equally important during treatment. During the course, all factors like diet, regimen, behavior, sleep pattern, etc. are of prime importance and are to be carried out exactly as instructed to bring about best results and also prevent adverse effects.

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