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What you need to know..

1. What is Panchakarma?
Ans. Panchakarma is a bio-cleansing regimen which facilitates the body system for better bioavailability of the pharmacological therapies, besides achieving homeostasis of humours (doshas). These therapies help in the elimination of disease-causing factors and maintain the equilibrium of body tissues (dhatus) and humours (doshas).

2. What are the Keraliya Panchakarma procedures?
Ans. Keraliya Panchkarma procedures are modified Snehana (oleation), Swedana (Fomentation) procedures practiced for the management of various diseased conditions. These are different from the classical Panchkarma procedures.

3. How are the Panchakarma procedures different from other therapies?
Ans. Panchkarma procedures are biocleansing (shodhana) procedures which help to expel accumulated toxic metabolites from the body. Whereas, other therapies are palliative in nature. Diseases managed by Panchakarma therapies may never recur.

4. What are the Panchakarma procedures?
Ans. The following five procedures come under Panchakarma procedures:

  1. Vamana karma (Therapeutic emesis)
  2. Virechana karma (Therapeutic purgation)
  3. Anuvasana vasti (Oil/ unctuous enema)
  4. Asthapana vasti (Decoction based enema)
  5. Nasya karma (Nasal administration of medicaments).

Before performing Panchakarma, preparatory procedures viz, Pachana (Digestion of toxic metabolites), Deepana (Increasing the digestive fire), snehana (oleation), swedana (fomentation) are essential. After performing Panchakarma, specific procedures, dietary regimen and lifestyles are required to be followed.

5. What dietary and lifestyle regime should be followed before during and after Panchakarma procedures?
Ans. Based on the doshic predominance and type of Panchakarma procedure carried out, specific dietary regimen for a specific period is prescribed after Panchakarma procedures. However, usage of warm water, maintaining celibacy and avoidance of the following activities are similar for all the procedures viz. sitting/ standing/ walking for prolonged period, strenuous traveling, riding on animals, daytime sleep, loud speaking, suppression of natural urges e.g. passing of flatus, stools, urine, etc., exposure to breeze/intake of cold food items, over exposure to sun light. Smoke, dust, etc., intake of food at unusual times, intake of incompatible food, exercise, etc.

6. What diseases can be treated with Panchakarma procedures?
Ans. Panchakarma is beneficial in the management of various systemic diseases e.g. Joint disorders (Rheumatoid arthritis), Musculoskeletal (Low backache), Dermatological (Psoriasis), Neurological (Paralysis, Migraine), Respiratory disorders (Bronchial asthma), Gynecological disorders (Leucorrhea), Psychiatric, Geriatric, etc. It is also widely prescribed in chronically incurable diseases and for improving the quality of life.

7. What are the precautions to be taken while undergoing Panchakarma procedures?
Ans. Indications and contraindications, specific guidelines on dietary regimen and life style are to be strictly followed.

8. Does massage therapy come under Panchakarma?
Ans. Massage therapy does not come under the five procedures of Panchakarma. It is a type of Shehana (oleation) process performed as a preoperative procedure for Panchakarma. Massages are also indicated in various musculoskeletal and neurological disorders.

9. Are Panchakarma procedures indicated only in patients or can they be indicated for healthy persons?
Ans. Panchakarma therapy is also indicated for healthy persons for the purpose of prevention of diseases and promoting good health. It is also indicated to expel doshas accumulated and for aggravated conditions due to seasonal variations.

10. What is the time period required to perform all the Panchakarma procedures?
Ans. The duration for each procedure of Panchakarma therapy varies according to the choice of the attending physician. However the general duration for individual procedures is as given below:

Vamana:

  1. Preparatory- Snehana – 3-7 days, Swedana – 3 days
  2. Main – Vamana – 1 day
  3. Post therapeutic – Samsarjana Krama – 3-7 days

Virechana:

  1. Preparatory -Snehana – 3-7 days, Swedana – 3 days
  2. Main – Vamana – 1 day
  3. Post therapeutic – Samsarjana Krama – 3-7 days

Vasti Karma:

  • Bahya Sneha (External Application) – On the same day
  • Vasti Karma – Time duration ranges from 8 to 30 days depending upon the different kinds of Vasti Karma.
  • Nasya Karma: Bahya Sneha (External Application) – On the same day Sweda – Local – On the same day ,
  • Nasya Karma – 3-7 days

11. What are the benefits of Panchakarma therapies?
Ans. Panchakarma is beneficial for the:

  • Prevention of disease, and for promoting good health
  • Management of various systemic diseases
  • The regimen is also widely prescribed in chronic, incurable diseases for improving the quality of life.

12. Are Panchakarma procedures free from side effects?
Ans. The safety aspects of Panchakarma are very comprehensively mentioned in the classics in regard to indications, contraindications, precautions, etc. When employed skillfully and appropriately, these Panchakarma procedures are safe and free from side effects.

13. Are all the Panchakarma procedures needed for each patient?
Ans. All Panchakarma procedures are indicated for healthy individuals for the Prevention of diseases and Promotion of good health. In diseased conditions, depending on the doshic predominance and disease state, one or more (out of five) Panchakarma procedures can be employed.