The stage of purvakarma involves some procedures that are performed before panchakarma; it prepares the body for the easy removal of toxins. The process is as follows:
The treatment helps loosen the ama and move it out of the deep tissues. The procedure consists of pachana (digestion), snehan (oleation) and swedan (fomentation).
Ama pachana relies on the use of drugs like hingwashtak, soonth or trikatu which digest any ama that is present in the stomach.
Snehana consists of administration of large amounts of ghee, oil over a period of days. Internal oleation helps loosen ama and move it out from deeper tissues into the GI tract where the panchkarma therapies eliminate it. External oleation consists of vigorous massage over the whole body with medicated oils.
Swedana is the therapeutic application of heat to the body. Its main purpose is to dilate the body’s channels so that the removal of ama from the tissues is easily achieved. This is done for a 3 to 7 day period. The process applies steam evenly to the whole body (with the exception of the head) with the use of a sweatbox. It is usually followed by herbal plasters called lepa, to help draw toxins out of the pores of the skin.
Following this the panchakarma therapy is administered depending on the place of toxin accumulation.
- John Vorstermans. “Panchakarma – a conceptual analysis” 2006, Pg 1 to 12
- Sharadini Dahanukar & Urmila Thatte – “Ayurveda Unravelled”2005, Pg 127 to 129