INTRODUCTION TO PANCHA KARMA
Dr. Smitha.C.Yavagal

We have all heard many forms of treatment like chemotherapy, surgical therapy, radiation therapy, laser therapy and more forms of treatment. But very few people are probably aware of a therapy called “Pancha Karma”. Among many forms of “Chikitsas” told in Ayurveda, “Pancha Karma” is one of the best and popularly used therapies.

What is Pancha Karma? In sanskrit, “Pancha” means five and “Karma” means deeds or procedures. Hence, we have five types of procedures on which the entire treatment aspect of Ayurveda depends upon. These are the most fundamental and the most essential part of ayurvedic treatment for any type of disease and without which the treatment is said to be incomplete.

According to Ayurveda, Chikitsa is mainly of two types—“Shamana Chikitsa” and “Shodhana Chikitsa”. In “Shamana Chikitsa”, the vitiated doshas (defects) are mainly suppressed inside the body itself and relief is given to the patient. But when these doshas gets favorable environment and favorable causative factors, the disease reoccurs again due to vitiation of doshas. But the reoccurrence of disease does not take place if “Shodhana Chikitsa” is adopted. And “Pancha Karma” comes under this category of treatment, where reoccurrence does not take place.

Now, what exactly is “Shodhana”? “Shodhana” means purification i.e. getting rid of all the toxins or vitiated doshas from the body. By doing so, the disease is eliminated from its roots and does not reoccur. This is the reason why most of the diseases is ayurvedically treated by Pancha Karma therapy, which follows the principles of “Shodhana Chikitsa”.

The following “Pancha Karmas” are utilized in treatment:

“VAMANA”--- Inducing emesis or vomiting.

“VIRECHANA”--- Giving purgation.

“BASTI”--- Medicated enemas or administration of medicines through anal route.

“NASYA”--- Giving medicines through nasal route.

“RAKTA-MOKSHANA”--- Blood letting.
 

It is not necessary for a single patient to undergo all these procedures together. Any Karma or procedure can be done depending upon the “doshas” (defect) , “prakruthi” (nature), “roga” (disease) etc.

For example, in the disease caused by “Kapha Dosha” such as “Peenasa” {Rhinitis} “Kusta” {Skin disease} “Rajayakshma” {Tuberculosis} etc. Vamana is the treatment of choice. Like wise in Pittaja disorders such as “Arshas”{Piles} “Kushta”{Skin diseases} “Pandu”{Anaemia} etc. Virechana is done.

In Vataja disorders such as “Pakshaghata” {Paralysis}, “Katishoola” {lumbago}, “Sandhishoola” {Osteo arthritis} etc. Basti is done. “Nasya” is done in “Urdhva jathrugatha vikaras” i.e. the disease afflicting the ear, nose, throat and eyes and “Rakta Mokshana” is mainly done in “Rakta dhushita-vikaras” like “Kusta”{Skin disease} and many more surgical diseases.

This part of Ayurveda is very vast and cannot be explained in few lines written above. But I have tried the best way to explain what is there in these therapies and in which all these diseases it can be used. I want the people to consult their doctors to know more about this part of Ayurveda and undergo the therapy to get them cured completely without the fear of reoccurrence of the disease because the “Chikitsa” is said to be incomplete, if the disease reoccurs, as it is rightly said :

           “Dosha kadaachit kupyanti jitaa langhana pachanii
             Yeh tu samshodhanaii shuddhaaha Na tesham puneruddbhaqva”

[REF: Charaka Samhita- Sutrastana 16 Th Chapter 20 Th Shloka]
 
 

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