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Overview The Types of Panchakarma(Ayurvedic Healing)

1. Virechana and Vasti

If you are not near a centre where panchakarma is available under the supervision of a trained Ayurvedic physician, you can do an effective purification program at home. Begin your home detoxification program with internal oleation. Take four tablespoonfuls of ghee. The ghee provides an internal oleation. After three days of internal oleation, then perform the external oleation. If you are Vata use sesame oil, if you are pitta use coconut oil and if you are Kapha use olive oil. Use the oil for fifteen to twenty minutes. After this take a hot bath or shower. Use lavender, sandalwood soap if your body type is pitta. Use neem, menthol soap if your body type is Vata or Kapha.

During your home purification, every night at least one hour after supper take half to one teaspoon or two capsules of Triphala. Add about half a cup of boiling water to the Triphala powder, and let it steep ten minutes or until it has cooled down, then drink it. Triphala is a super antioxidant, rich source of vitamin C and good colon cleanser. It is thus effective in the reduction of all three doshas. It will provide the benefits of a more potent Virechana or purgative treatment, but more gently and over a longer span of time. Triphala is safe and can be effectively used for months at a time. To complete your home panchakarma treatment, on the last three days performing an Ayurvedic medicated enema, or Vasti, after your hot bath or shower.

Use Dashamoola tea or Olive oil for the enema. Boil one tablespoon of the herbal compound Dashamoola in one pint of water for five minutes to make a tea. Cool it, strain it, and use the liquid as an enema. For those using olive oil use 120 ml of olive oil, heat it slightly then use this for the enema. Retain the liquid as long as you comfortably can. And don’t worry if little or no liquid comes out. For certain individuals, particularly Vata types, the colon may be so dry and dehydrated that the liquid may all be absorbed. This is not harmful in any way.

This Snehana (oleation both internal and external with ghee and oil), Swedana (sweating using a hot shower or hot bath), and Virechana (purgation) using Triphala, followed by Vasti using Dashamoola tea or olive oil, constitute an effective panchakarma that you can easily do on your own at home.

During this entire time, it is important to get plenty of rest and to observe a light diet. From day four to day eight, eat only Kitchari (equal amounts of rice and moong dal cooked with cumin, mustard seed, and coriander, with about two teaspoons of ghee added to it). Kitchari is a wholesome, nourishing, balanced food that is an excellent protein combination. It is easy to digest and good for all three doshas, and it is also cleansing. Be your own healer. Do this simple home purification, preferably at the junction between seasons. Take responsibility for your own healing.

2. Bamana (emesis therapy)/ Dhauti

Vamana can be practiced around twice a month (every fifteen days). Vamana does not require any preparatory procedure as you won’t do the medicated Vamana. It is rather a light procedure. First of all boil two liters of drinking water, make it tepid warm and add one tablespoon full of salt to it. Try to drink this water in one swoop.

The salt water immediately initiates vomiting (or Vamana). Then induce vomiting using your fingers to empty the stomach of salt water. Never do more than three to four bouts of emesis. This clears up your stomach and gets rids of bad pitta and Kapha that gets accumulated over time.

The washing is the panchakarma detoxification program, and the dyeing is the rejuvenation and revitalization. Ayurvedic rejuvenation (Rasayana) bring renewal and longevity to the cells, and when the cells live longer, the person lives longer. Rasayanas give strength, vitality, and longevity, strengthen tone, increase energy, and build immunity.

The body’s various Agnis become more robust, so health becomes more robust. For a Vata individual, an excellent rejuvenative tonic is the herb Ashwagandha. Take one teaspoon of ashwagandha in a cup of hot milk twice a day, morning and evening. An excellent rejuvenative herb for pittas is Shatavari. Take one teaspoon twice a day in a cup of warm milk. Kaphas can use Punarnava, one teaspoon twice a day, but in a cup of warm water.

You can also use various herbal mixtures designed to tone the system, such as the traditional recipe Chyavanprash.