Basics of Ayurvedic Healing Therapies

One of the most popular therapies in Ayurveda is panchakarma, which is based on two mandalas i.e. categories. The categories include shodhana and shamana. The shodhana refers to panchakarma’s 5 chief cleansing and eliminating therapies, while shamana includes the supporting procedures those are the preparation and post karmas. Both the types of procedures have included as healing mandala therapy as both fuse and form impeccable bio-synergic potent revitalization and rebirth (1).

Present in the body of ever living being, the five elements assemble in a particular pattern and are named as doshas, the bodily humors. The doshas are vata, pitta and kapha that are referred to as the air, fire and water according to modern Ayurvedic scholars. Since the human body keeps its state of homeostasis, the process of the elimination of doshas and ailments is systematic act. This act is nothing but tempering, cajoling, nurturing and shocking the bodily reactions. The Lord Dhanvantari (2) says that doshas those have gone out of control are to be tackled in a particular way and forceful expelling of the doshas should not happen.

The classical practice of Ayurveda the doshas are elevated further up to certain extent in the extremities (shakhashrit) and then they are brought to the stomach and intestines (koshthagat). The simple theory for this is bring down the elevated doshas into the stomach and gut and then from there, expel them through medicine induced vomiting and/or loose motions. Nevertheless, in today’s contemporary panchakarma practice, three distinct phases –preparation, main course and post karmas is sustained to have maximum benefits and effects of the panchakarma. The benefits of Panchakarma includes detoxification and rejuvenation(3).

The shodhana is the central and chief action in the procedure of main Ayurvedic healing therapy. It is administered with a special sequence namely;

  1. Medically induced emesis (vamana)
  2. Medically induced loose motions or purgation (virechana)
  3. Unctuous enema (optional as it depends upon the condition, endurance of the disease and diseased. Also, some find it filthy)
  4. Medicated decoction enema (vasthi), and
  5. Nasal insufflations (nasya)

The tenure of performing the panchakarma depends upon the stages and conditions of health ailment and the capacity to digest the drug of the sufferer. For any panchakarma, it is important to perform two pre-procedure therapies (purvakarmas) namely; snehana and swedana. The snehana refers to oiling though massaging (abhyanga) and intake of the medicated oil and ghee. The procedure is then followed by the sudation (swedana) through the naadi (the tube) or the kuti (the chamber). For general swedana, the steam chamber is preferred whereas for the people who cannot tolerate such heat, the local swedana (through the tube) is done.

Once the phase of snehana and swedana is completed, the person is then taken to main course of panchakarma. The duration of panchakarma is again carried out looking at person’s prakriti and endurance. The procedure of panchakarma is then followed by the post-karmas wherein the patient is asked to take the diet that is healthier so as to gain the vitality lost during the procedure.


1. Sharma, A. K. (2003). “Panchkarma Therapy in Ayurvedic Medicine”. In Mishra, Lakshmi Chandra. Scientific Basis for Ayurvedic Therapies. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press

2. Dhanvantari. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 04, 2010

3. Charaka Samhita on Panchakarma

Author: Dr Maulik Vyas

I am a holistic Doctor with 10 yr of experience in medical/health and wellness industry. Also, I am a professional content writer with 1000s of articles published across the web. I'm available for content writing, natural treatment consultancy, business ideas about healthcare/wellness industry. I am the proprietor of company named Mouls Incorporation.

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