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Panchakarma Therapy – A preventive modality

Modern society is shifting back to the holistic methods of healing that has been existent since the beginning of human civilization. The new age movement not only traces its roots back to natural methods of healing but also to lifestyle.

Ayurveda is a system of medicine. There are few treatment modalities in the world that be claimed as a “system”, having its own physiological, anatomical, psychological, medicinal and surgical methods. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and aims at bringing about and maintaining harmony among bodily, mental and conscious planes of the body. According to Ayurveda, health is not only a state of not having a disease but it is the state of the normalcy of Dosha, Dhatu, Agni, and Malakriya (proper evacuation of bodily wastes). Whenever individuals indulge in food and lifestyles that increase the doshas, there is increased odds of disease or pre-disease condition.

Panchakarma Level of Prevention:

Panchakarma can be adopted for both types of prevention viz. primary and secondary.

Primary prevention of Panchakarma Therapy:

These strategies intend to avoid the development of diseases. Panchakarma therapy when done as a part of daily regimen – Massage, Oleation, Sudation, Scrubs, Nasya, etc. helps to maintain the equilibrium of dosha and helps in the prevention of disease. Panchakarma therapy plays a vital role in the management of complications arising due to suppression of natural urges and helps to prevent further complication. Panchakarma as a part of the seasonal regimen helps to bring the vitiated Dosha in equilibrium, thus preventing diseases. Panchakarma therapy is done before Rasayana (Rejuvenation techniques) and Vajikarana (Aphrodisiacs) helps in enhancing the effectiveness of these procedures.

There is a suggestion in the texts of Ayurveda about specific panchakarma procedures that should be followed according to specific seasons. This helps in the prevention of ‘seasonal diseases’ like allergies, hay fever, cold, dehydration, etc.

Panchakarma Procedures Prescribed in the season ofEliminatesPrevents
VamanaSpringKaphaSeasonal allergies
VirechanaAutumnPittaAcidity, Skin Problems
VastiMonsoonVataInfectious conditions, Excessive dryness of skin, Provides strength

Secondary Prevention:

Secondary prevention is the strategic attempt to diagnose and treat an existing disease in its early stages before it results in significant morbidity. The Dosha first have to be misbalanced from their natural state, to produce a pre-disease state, this is where primary prevention has its role. The role of secondary prevention lies in the reduction of morbidity by reducing the duration of disease. Curative management helps in eradicating the disease by cleaning the diseased channels, while rehabilitative healthcare aims to suppress a disease process and to rehabilitate the patient back to the state of Prakriti.

Judicious use of Panchakarma can be beneficial in many ways in the present scenario. Judicious use of Panchakarma periodically can prevent onset and complications of diseases like autoimmune disorders, insomnia, digestive disturbances, psychiatric disease, neurological disease, the metabolic disease like diabetes, obesity, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and diseases arising due to the unwanted effect of environmental changes. But the improper administration has its own hazards and may lead to grave complications.