What is Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means "five actions" or "five treatments." This is a process used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition. Ayurveda says that imbalanced doshas create waste matter. This waste matter is called Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul-smelling, sticky, noxious substance that needs to be evacuated from the body as thoroughly as possible.
Panchakarma will stick out the excess doshas (or imbalances in the dosha) along with the sticky Ama out of your system by means of the body waste evacuation channels such as sweat glands, urinary tract, intestines, etc. Panchakarma is, thus, a balancing operation. It involves daily massages and oil baths and is extremely pleasant experience. Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal treatment for toning your mind body system. Panchakarma is a five-fold therapy; it is highly personalized based on the needs of the individual depending on the body type, dosha imbalances etc. Usually, only parts of the five therapies are needed.
Steps of Panchakarma.
The first step in Panchakarma is the process of oleation, which initiates the purification process by loosening ama, in the tissues. Oleation is accomplished by special massages using herbalized oils or by taking certain oils internally.
The second step is to heat the body using specific steam and warm oil therapies. This is known as Swedana in Ayurveda. Using therapeutic heat allows the loosened toxins to flow more easily from the tissues to the GI tract.
The third step in the Panchakarma process is to eliminate the toxins that have accumulated. This is accomplished by the use of gentle herbal enemas, known as bastis, and gentle cleansing of the upper respiratory tract and sinuses, known as nasya.
The ‘panchakarma’ treatments are administered over a period of several consecutive days (up to 3-7 days), and creates a profound and deeply purifying experience.