Body Purification(Shodhana Chikilsa)
Disposal of metabolized products happens in each living being. The human body is an intricate kind of machine, which has got many capacities: the majority of them are voluntarily controlled and few works involuntarily. Aggregation of few toxins is the natural process of the body as a consequence of different metabolic exercises, which the body performs automatically. Certain poisons still stay in the body creating numerous illnesses, when their amount increases past a certain level. Unless these wastes are removed from the body they tend to stick into minute channels called as srotas and begin creating disease. Consequently, to remain healthy, it is important to dispose of wastes from these channels.
Shodhana Chikitsa removes toxins from the body and restores the equilibrium of the Dosha. Shodhana Chikitsa consists of a three-stage purification process as follows:
‣ Purva Karma – preparatory purification prior to the main purification
‣ Pradhana Karma – the main five purification methods (known as Panchakarma treatment)
‣ Paschath Karma – post rejuvenation therapy.
Shodhan includes five methods of elimination processes. They are:
Vaman – Ayurvedic practitioners use Vaman therapy (therapeutic vomiting) to eliminate the kapha (excess mucus) present in the body. This helps from recurrent attacks of colds, cough, bronchitis or asthma which is due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Virechan – The virechana therapy (purgation therapy) is done to remove the excess pitta or when the body secretes bile in large amount due to some imbalances, and the deposits in the liver, gallbladder, liver and small intestine. This leads to persistent attacks of fever, nauseated feeling, and jaundice. The Virechana therapy helps in stabilizing body activity in such condition.
Basti – In Basti therapy (enema therapy), herbal preparations like sesame oil and the like are administered into the body through the rectum. This helps relieve the body from chronic fever, constipation, cold, sexual disorders, backache, sciatica, kidney stones, and other joint paints. Basti is also a cure for headaches and muscle spasm.
Nasya – Administration of medication through nasal passage is called nasya. The body doshas in the sinus, nose, throat or head areas are cured by Nasya.
Rakt Mokshan – Toxins entering the blood produce skin disorders. In such cases, internal medication alone is insufficient and purification of blood is necessary. In Rakt Mokshan (also known as blood-letting) leech is applied on the affected part. It helps in conditions like enlarged liver, spleen and gout.
Shaman Therapy (also known as palliation or suppression) is a milder treatment method aimed at restoring balance in the body through medication. It is used when the patient is not fit for shodan (the harsher body purification methods). Other reasons for using this therapy are lack of time or apprehension of the patient towards deep cleansing methods. Unlike in Shodhan, the Shaman method requires efforts from part of the patient to retain the positive results of Shaman. Some methods employed in administering Shaman Therapy to the patient are:
Deepan – Deepan means illumination. It implies empowering Agni (digestive fire) to create the appetite. In this process, medicated ghee and the spicy and fat-rich food is administered to subside the aggravated dosha to achieve a balanced state.
Paachan – This is a method of digesting toxic wastes or ama. Various herbal combinations administered help in digesting these undigested toxins.
Kshudha Nigrah – This is a fasting technique, which literally means killing of appetite. Total or selective fasting is employed until the doshas are balanced in the body. Sometimes to balance a particular dosha, certain food or lifestyle activities that promote the dosha are to be given up. This practice aims to restore tridosha balance and is particularly beneficial for diseases associated with digestive tract.
Vyayaam – This means physical exercise. Certain specific exercises are suggested in curing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, digestive problems etc. For optimum results, it is combined with medication for optimum results.
Aatap Seva – This method is also known as Atap Seva. It includes sunbathing for skin diseases, rheumatism, or arthritis-related conditions. This treatment also pacifies Vata dosha.
Marut Seva – This method is also known as Wind Service and is the therapy which includes administration of fresh air, mostly to treat asthma, tuberculosis-related conditions. According to Ayurveda, breathing air is ‘prana’ or life. It is a method of pumping life into the body system.
Duration of Therapy
The 15-day package process include Body massage, Snehapanam, Nasyam, Virachanam(Medicated purgative), Snehavasthi, Dhara, Pizhichil, Njavarakizhi, Karnapooranam, Tharpanam, Sirovasthi, Steam Bath, and internal herbal medicines.