The term pradhankarma encapsulates and embodies a generalized and broad concept of panchakarma. The term pradhankarma is organized up from two words “Pradhan” meaning key and karma meaning “methods of treatments”. The therapeutics or treatment, however, varies on which sect of the Ayurvedic tradition you follow. So, the sect of Charak denoted the Pradhankarma as 1) Vamana (medicated emesis), 2) Virechana (medicated purgation), 3)Anuvasana Vasti (Oil based enema), 4) Niruha vast (Decoction based enema) and 5) Sirovirechana (Nasya) (Errhines). However, if one considers oneself to be under the sect of Susruta, the surgeon, the therapies prescribed are 1) Vamana, 2) Virechana, 3) Vasti, 4)Nasya and 5) Rasktamokshana (Bloodletting).
Vamana means therapeutic vomiting. It is designated for the purification of the thoracic region of the body. In Vamana, the exaggerated Doshas are eliminated from the oral route. Vamana is induced in individuals by the use of emetic drugs. Vamana is specified in disorders of Kapha, however, Vamana can also be given in spring season – non-therapeutically – and it helps in releasing the excess Kapha that gets accrued during that season.
Virechana is the procedure by which vitiated Doshas are eliminated from the abdominal region through the anal route. The purgatives are used for this purpose. The natural puragtives cause mild purgation but also guarantees a full cleansing of pitta from your body. Virechana is indicated mainly for the disorders of Pitta, as like Vamana it can be given in- therapeutically in the season of autumn, where it releases the excess of accumulated pitta.
Vasti is a purificatory procedure indicated for disorders of Vata. In vasti we introduce oils (called Anuvasana vasti) or decoction (called Asthapana vasti) through various routes including rectum, vagina or urethra. The term Vasti is reserved for the introduction of oil or decoction through anal route. Uttara vasti is used when the fluids are introduced through the vaginal or urethral track. The process is made easier using catheters and syringes. It is expected that the introduced oil/decoction when expelled out through the anal route eliminates vitiated doshas. Vasti can be done during summers and monsoon as Vata accumulates in the body during this time.
Nasya and Raktamokshana
Nasya is a term reserved for specific purificatory measure where the medicaments are introduced through the nostrils as liquid or powder or vapor. Nasya karma is indicated in diseases of the head and neck. Nasya also enhances your prana as the nose is the gateway to your brain. Raktamokshana is the procedure of bloodletting for healing purposes. Through the procedure, morbid Doshas and blood are removed from the body. It is prescribed for blood-borne, pitta dominant or surgical diseases. The Raktamokshan also augments your skin vivacity.
- No. Organs involved Specific karma indicated
- Ear, Nose, Throat and Head problems Nasya 2. Diseases of chest / thorax Vamana, Virechana (occasionally) 3. Abdominal disorders Virechana, Vasti 4. Pelvic disorders of urinary bladder, vagina, uterus, etc.
The Panchakarma therapy is a holistic approach to preventing diseases, rejuvenating your body but also is curative in the sense it has been used for thousands of years to treat a specific diseased condition of the body. The Panchakarma therapy provides an all-around approach for eliminating the toxins from the body, but since it is through by the use of herbal medicaments it syncs your body to nature and brings about a balance to the body system. However, panchakarma is not just a noble and time-tested effort for ridding the body of toxins but also is a lifestyle approach and an Ayurvedic take on approaches to health and disease.
As the form of caution goes, these procedures should be tried on the guided supervision of a well- informed and all Seeing Eye of a doctor. Subtle signs should be considered for further evaluation. Panchakarma despite promoting a natural state of the body is not without some unforeseen events. Such events can be prevented and monitored for under the advice of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner.