An Overview of Panchakarma-Experience of Holistic Healing
Health & Wellness

An Overview of Panchakarma Detox-Experience of Holistic Healing

Panchakarma Therapy
Written by Anima Sur

“Panchakarma” is essentially a part of the ancient Science of Ayurveda. Ayurveda advocates that one should undergo cleansing by Panchakarma techniques thrice every year. This is essential to flush out the accumulated toxins in the body. Continuous accumulation of toxins in body paves the way for inviting various ailments, particularly during season changes. After going through the detoxification process of panchakarma you will surely have an experience of holistic healing. The outcome is a new rejuvenated self ready to face the world with new vitality. Moreover, it is a complete and independent science in its own right.

Literally, it means “panch” five, ”karma” refers to specific processes. One of the oldest texts of Ayurveda –Charak Samhita advocates the following five therapies s as the main part of the treatment. Panchakarma is the focal point in Kayachikitsa (internal medicine). The Panchakarma treatment is based on the six primary treatment modalities in Ayurveda -Langhan (for leanness), Brimhana (growth promoting), Rukshan (drying), Snehana (lubrication/Oleation), Swedana (sweating/fomentation) and Stambhana (stopping or blocking). Through the therapies, the doshas are pacified (shaman) and the root cause of the disease is eliminated (Shodhana). This not only treats the diseases but also finds application in disease prevention. Diseases are created in the body due to the imbalance in the bio-energic forces (Doshas), Seven constitutional elements (Sapta Dhatus) and waste material (mala). Panchakarma rectifies the imbalances.

what are the types of Panchakarma-an overview leading to an experience of holistic healing and Benefits

Benefits of Panchakarma

  • Rekindling of digestive fire
  • Stiffness gets alleviated
  • Allergies are taken care
  • Delayed in the aging process
  • Increase in Vigour, Vitality, and mobility-person feels energized, refreshed and uplift
  • Overall work performance improves as the mind is cheerful and optimistic
  • The functioning of cognitive and motor senses is enhanced
  • There is glow and radiance in the body
  • Due to the balancing of the Doshas, Satpa Datus Person enjoys good health

The basic five techniques of Panchakarma therapy are  mentioned below:

Vamana (induced emesis): In this through vomiting, eliminate doshas through the mouth. Mainly for Kapha disorders. The person drinks a specific herbal decoction which induces emesis and removes increased Kapha and Pitta doshas from the stomach.

Virechana (induced purgation): This is for the Pitta Dosha. Here elimination is through the anus. Beneficial for disorders like skin diseases, hyperacidity, indigestion, etc

Nirooha  Basti (cleansing enema): Excellent for Vata induced disorders eg backaches, body aches, stomach problems, etc.

Anuvasan Basti (soothing enema): Vata derangement is rectified with specific ghee or oils.


Nasya (nasal medication): By pouring a few drops of medicated oil or ghee into the nostrils treatment of ear, nose, throat, eyes and head region care. Beneficial in headache, migraine, mental fatigue, shoulder pain, weak eyesight, etc

Besides these main five procedures, there are some other therapies like Janu Basti, Kati Basti, Shirodhara which will give you somewhere else.

Through Panchakarma therapies, the imbalances of the body are pacified. Thus addressing the root cause of ailments.  The therapies purify the body by removing the accumulated toxins, thus reducing the intensity of the diseases. Then one needs a smaller dose of medication from a complete cure.

Panchakarma is also available as a disease-preventing therapy. Ayurveda says that disease develops due to an imbalance of the three bio-energic forces (doshas), Seven constitutional elements (Sapta Dhatu) and waste matter (mala).  Panchakarma therapies rectify the imbalances.

Another Important technique is Shirodhara

Digital media -Smartphones, computers have made radical changes in our lives. Child, youth, professionals, housewives, pensioners- majority spends a lot of time in front of the screens. This may be due to work or entertainment. Everything has two aspects- this also is not an exception. With the advancement in technology, the major disadvantage of this is the aches and pains in the body. Backache, wrist pain, shoulder pain, tiredness, stress, etc. Shirodhara is an effective remedy for such disorder.

Here medicated oil, milk, buttermilk or Ghee is poured over the forehead region. The liquid is poured as a steady stream of drops and a special device is used for this purpose. The herbs used are based on the type of Dosha derangement and the Prakriti of the individual. Some examples of oils used in the Shirodhara are Kksheerbala oil, Dhanvantari oil, Yasthimadhu oil.


Benefits of Shirodhara

  • Stability in speech and mind
  • Soft, supple skin
  • Cessation of hair loss and whitening
  • Restful sleep, longevity
  • Alleviation of headaches, tiredness and ear disorders
  • Relief from physical and mental stress

What makes Panchakarma Essential?

In modern Society Tension and Stress has become inevitable and is the root cause of ailments. Along with these wrong food habits, addictions, lack of adequate sleep leads to an imbalance in the basic bio energic forces, accumulation of toxins in the body. One requires removing these built up toxins from time to time. Detoxification rejuvenates and freshens up the body, mind, and soul. Usually medicines temporarily suppress the symptoms of the diseases, so the possibility of recurrence is high. If one is suffering from symptoms like

Pain in neck, shoulder, and back,

Frequent headaches, lack of concentration,

Lethargy and Disturbed Sleep. then surely the individual is suffering from stress. Procedures of Panchakarma like Nasya, Netra tarpan, Shirodhara can be beneficial.

Preparing Before The Therapies

According to the foundation principle of Ayurveda, diseases occur when the doshas spread into the body parts like plasma, lymph, blood vessels, fat, etc. As a prerequisite of Panchakarma therapy, it is necessary to bring the deranged doshas spread all over the body to the intestine. Bringing the disseminated toxins back to the intestines and expelling them from the nearest exit (mouth, anus or skin). This is the main treatment principle in the Panchakarma.

Oleation is the first process of Panchakarma. It softens and dissolves the toxins. The 2nd step is Swedana, wherein the heat of steam digests the toxins. Then using hot fomentation, the released toxins move away through dilated skin pores. All these processes help the toxins move back to the gut. From there it is subsequently thrown outside body either by emesis or by purgation.

Governing Procedures For Panchakarma Treatment

Proper diet is mandatory

The treatment will not be fruitful if a mind is restless or skeptical

don’t apply treatment to individuals forcefully.

Persons having excessive desires, anger, greed, sorrow do not get benefit from this therapy

Suitable Time Period for Panchakarma:

Pre-Monsoon (June, July)

Autumn (Sept, October)

Spring (February, March)

But if the doshas are high, then panchakarma therapy can be done at any time. Usually, the doshas aggravate in particular seasons. If one takes proper care to pacify them in those seasons then one can surely avoid the seasonal ailments. Panchakarma therapies in accordance with the seasons:

  • Summer: Vata accumulation time-recommended therapy is Snehapana. In this medicated clarified butter (ghee) is taken orally for a certain period.
  • Monsoon: Vata aggravates. Perform Basti, Vamana  during this time for pacifying the dosha
  • Autumn: Pitta aggravates. Bloodletting and treatment with medicated ghee are advisable during this time.
  • Winter: Kapha accumulation is dominant. Swedana, Virechana is for this time.
  • Spring: Kapha aggravates. One should try Vamana, Nasya, Anuvasan to get rid of the dosha.
Duration of Panchakarma Therapy

Usually, Panchakarma therapies are for a period of 7, 14, or 21 days. It is seen that  7 days of therapy is enough for a healthy person. Those who are victims of certain ailments require treatmentof14 days or 21 days. Once you are free from the imbalanced dosha you enjoy the benefits throughout the year.

For Spiritual aspirants: A healthy body is a must to carry out techniques like Yogasana, dhyana, Pranayama. They are to follow a regular discipline. They have to get up early in the morning, eating easily digestible food. Besides, they undergo periodic detoxification the body through the panchakarma techn

Where are the Panchakarma centers located in India:

There are many. Every state has one or more ayurvedic centers.

  1. In Bengal: J.B.Roy State Ayurvedic Medical College & Hospital

2. In Amritsar: Deevya Ayurveda


What are other therapies in Panchakarma?

Other  therapies of Panchakarma includes

1.Pinda Sweda – useful in joint pains & as well as in neurological disorders.

2.Shasti-Shau Pindasweda – useful in neurological problems.

3.Nadisweda – Particularly helpful in joint pains

4. Kati-Vasti – useful in backache, slip disc, Prolapse or herniation of vertebras.

5. Janu vasti – Beneficial in OsteoArthritis knee joint pain.

6. Shirovasti – useful in problems related to brain malfunctions.

7. Uttara Basti – Finds application in Gynae problems infertility, genitourinary problems.

8. Udwartanam – Good for glowing skin and weight loss.

                    In this Therapy, the body is massaged with specialized herbal oil. This allows to greater blood circulation thereby reducing the cellulite as well as imparting a natural glow to the skin.

9. Pihichil (Sarvang Dhara)– useful in paralysis and other neurological problems, joint pains.

10. Vashpaswedanam-(herbal-medicated steam bath)
In this therapy, special herbs are boiled with water and the resulting steam is given in a special cabinet.  This treatment helps to open the Pores, Purifies the body by eliminating various toxins out of the pores. This method helps in reducing the body’s extra fat as well as helps to get a natural glow as impurities are removed from the body and skin.


About the author

Anima Sur

A health Blogger. "Take care of the whole, and the part will take care of itself". This is the essence of Yogic Wellness- keeping the whole being healthy.