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Answer to Healthy Living – “Panchakarma”

Last Updated on Feb 15, 2013
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Of late there has been renewed interest in panchakarma, which if translated means “five procedures”. Ayurvedic experts generally ask the patient to undergo this process before they start off with any kind of treatment.

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Essentially Ayurveda uses two main modalities for the treatment of disease or imbalance of doshas namely vata, kapha and pitta. They are:

Shamana therapy - used to relieve, alleviate or manage the symptoms of disease.

Shodhana therapy - used to eliminate toxins (ama) from the body and repair the imbalance of the doshas. It not only removes the symptoms of disease but eliminates the root cause. Panchakarma is the foremost shodhana or purification therapy, which is used to reverse the progress of a disease through the body and remove toxic substances.

According to Ayurveda, sound health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all foods. When we can’t completely digest the food, i.e. when the digestive fire (agni) is weakened, digestion remains incomplete resulting in the accumulation of toxins in bodily tissues, creating imbalances and ultimately disease. When ama accumulates in the body, it blocks the flow of energy and nourishment throughout the system. Ayurveda considers this build-up of toxins as the prime cause of all diseases.

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Panchakarma is a cleansing process that restores the body’s healing ability.

Panchakarma is administered to maintain a strong digestive fire and eliminate toxins from the body. It is a time-proven natural therapy that restores the digestive fire and hence the body's balance and vitality.

The panchakarma process involves bringing back the accumulated toxins to Gastro Intestinal (G.I.) tract and then removing it from the body through the nearest opening.

References:

  1. John Vorstermans. “Panchakarma – a conceptual analysis” 2006, Pg 1 to 12
  2. Sharadini Dahanukar & Urmila Thatte – “Ayurveda Unravelled”2005, Pg 127 to 129

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