As a result of the metabolic processes happening inside the body, several toxic bi-products are formed regularly. Even though the body’s excretory system eliminates them naturally, some toxic elements may get deposited in the body. This could affect the normal functioning of the various organs and systems.

Panchakarma (‘Pancha’ means five) is basically carried out to eliminate these toxic materials deposited in the body and to restore equilibrium. It is one of the most important treatment procedures in Ayurveda and is essentially a three step process:

  • Poorva Karma (Poorva=Pre) 
  • Pradhana Karma (Pradhana=Main) 
  • Pashchat Karma (Pashchat=Post)

Poorvakarma- Before the actual Panchakarma procedure, it is necessary to prepare the body for the elimination. For this purpose, two procedures are carried out:

  • Snehana Karma or Oleation Therapy- Oil and ghee preparations are taken externally and internally. Snehana Karma makes use of various procedures such as Snehapanam, Abhyangam, massage, Sirovasthy, Sirodhara , Pizhichil etc.
  • Swedana Karma or Sudation Therapy- This therapy induces sweating as a means of removing the toxic bi-products. The procedures made use of include Njavarakizhi, Pizhichil, Elaikizhi, Choornasweda, Steam Bath, Hot Herbal Bath etc.

Pradhana Karma – The Pradhanakarma or the main part of Panchakarma involves five procedures:

  • Vamana or Emesis therapy- It involves administering medicines orally and inducing vomiting. It reduces Kapha. 
  • Virechana or Purgation Therapy- It is a therapy for Pitha vitiation and involves induced purgation 
  • Nasyam or Nasal Medication- Nasyam involves the application of medicines through the nostrils 
  • Vasthy or Medicated Enema Therapy- Intended to bring balance in the Vatha element, this therapy involves the application of herbal medicines through the anus. 
  • Rakthamoksham or Blood letting therapy- By various means such as needle-pricking, venesection, leeching etc., the impure blood from the body is let out to bring the body functions to the normal tone.

Paschat Karma- This comprises regular follow-up treatment procedures and is the last stage of the Panchakarma treatment. It is intended mainly to bring back the body functioning to the normal level after the detoxification process. There are mainly two categories under this procedure. 

  • Samsarjan Karma- After the Panchakarma process, the patients require a period of recuperation wherein they could return to their daily routine and food habits. For this Ayurveda recommends some strict dietary and lifestyle regimen. 
  • Rasayana Chikilsa- As a follow-up procedure of Panchakarma, Rasayana Chikilsa can bring about excellent results and can revitalize and rejuvenate the body.

The result of a proper Panchakarma treatment is improved metabolism, digestion, vitality and immunity.