Learn About Panchakarma
Panchakarma – Balance from the Inside Out
“Restore your body, mind and spirit to a natural state of balance.”
Ayurveda is India’s 5000 year old system of health and longevity. Ayurveda is the Science of Life. Panchakarma is the traditional Ayurvedic cleansing, rejuvinating and balancing program for your mind, body and spirit. Panchakarma means “five actions”. According to the Vedic texts, the formula for optimal well being is good digestion efficient elimination, harmony between your mind, senses and conciousness, and a natural balance of the elemental energies of your being. The elemental energies are called Doshas. Ayurveda expains that your natural state of balance and well being can be challenged by rhythms that occur in nature, like seasonal changes. Progressive changes related to your time of life also contribute to imbalance. Imbalance is provoked by common and uncommom stressors unexpressed emotions, emotional loss, excessive living, incorrect diet, ect. Imbalance weakens your Agni, your digestive fire, and weakened agni, leads to the accumulation of Ama or toxins. After a time unchecked stressors will dominate one’s life and ama may become deeply embedded in body tissues clogging your Srotas. Srotas are your bodys’ channels of cirrculation and evacuation. Excess ama will aggravate your body tissues or Dhatus. This is how illness overcomes a body: by eventually impeding the flow of Prana, the vital life energy. Ayurveda’s practice of Panchkarma systematically facilitates the removal of ama from your dhatus and redirects ama to the appropriate organs for elimination. Panchakarma utilizes Ayurvedic principles and methods to reduce Doshic excess by correcting ingrained physical, mental and emotional imbalances. The rejuvinating of Panchakarma nourish your dhatus and pacify the Doshas, restoring your natural state of well being. Classical Panchkarma is comprised of cleansing, elimination and reducing methods and rejuvinating, pacifying and strengthening methods. The cleansing methods are called Shodhanas and the rejuvinating phase is called Rasyana.
The process of Panchakarma helps to unveil your natural wisdom, a universal understanding that reaches beyond the mind, while providing a practical understanding of postitive options and healthful behavior that can be applied in your daily life.
Three Stages of Panchakarma
Classical Panchakarma is divided into three phases that each contribute to the balance of the individual: Purvakarma is the preliminary action. Pradhanakarma is the principle action. Pashchatkarma is the final action.
Purvakarma consists of preparatory methods to soften, release, and mobolize impaired Doshas and ama from peripheral tissues of your body. Purvakarma begins while you are still at home. You will modify your diet and and daily activities to ready your body and mind for your Panchakarma program. Purvakarma includes the procedures of Snehana which is the internal and external application of oil, and Svedhana, which is sweating through heat or steam. These processes are used to prepare your body for the detoxifying actions that occur during the primary stages of Panchakarma. Snehana is the deliberate process of saturating the dhatus or tissues with oils and Ghee (clarified butter). The oils and ghee are specially prepared for you with doshic specific herbs. The unctuous substances used in shehana soften and nourish the dhatus. Snehana includes the ingestion of ghee, the internal administration of oil and the external administration of oil through massage. Following snehana is the process of svedhana which uses friction or the direct application of heat or steam to produce sweating. The purpose of svedhana is to continue softening the dhatus (tissues) while dialating the srotas or channels of circulation. This increases the movement of toxins into the gastrointestinal tract. A common method of recieving svedhana is by sweating in a cabinet filled with steam infused with essential oils.
The next step of Panchakarma is called Pradhanakarma. Pradhanakarma is a primary cleansing system stage of Panchakarma. It is important for your digestive system to rest while it is being cleansed, so during this phase you are served a simple mono-diet, pure, organic, Dosha specific easily digestible foods. In Pradhanakarma any or all of the five principal actions can be used to facilitate the movement and evacuation of your bodies ecumulated excesses These traditional procedures include:
Basti which is an herbal enema that uses a mixture of herbal teas and oils to flush your intestianal tract of loosened ama or toxins and excess Doshas.
Nasya, or nasal cleansing, uses herbal oils or powders to move accumulations in the nose, throat and sinuses, out through your nasal passages.
Virechana is the cleansing of the gastrointestinal tract using herbal laxatives.
Vamana is the ingesting of specially prepared herbal mixtures that prevoke therapeutic excess mucous and Doshas from your lungs and stomach.
Raktomoksha is herbal blood cleansing that can include “bloodletting” in the form of blood donation. In Raktomoksha, you take herbal preparations to clear your blood of ama and excess Doshas that have been absorbed into the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal tract.
Though all five procedures have their rational, not all five procedures are required in each Panchakarma program. Panchakarma is designed on an individual basis with consideration of the specific purpose and benefit of each Ayurvedic action.
After your body is effectively clear of impurities, you begin to restore the natural balance of your Doshas through Pashchatkarma. Pashchatkarma is a nourishing and strengthening process that rebuilds your bodies newly cleansed dhatus/tissues. It is now that you establish strong digestive enzymes or agni, your immune system or Ojas is fortified, and your prana, your body’s vital energy is strengthened. This course begins by gradually returning to a more nutritive diet. Pashchatkarma uses rejuvenating treatments and herbal products to establish your balanced state. You recieve instructions on how to live well on a daily basis to support the transforming process of Panchkarma, this is called Dincharya. The rebuilding measures of Pashchatkarma continue in the weeks that follow your Panchakarma experience as you continue the healthful and balanced lifestyle of Ayurveda.
Ancient and Modern Panchakarma
We understand, through the ancient Vedic texts, that the holy sages of India percieved methods for purification and rejuvination to remove the origins of suffering. The practice of Panchakarma was developed originally for royalty to promote their optimal health and long life. Based on this tradition, Ayurveda recommend that one recieves Panchakarma between the transition between seasons, so that one can be cleansed and balanced of the prior seasons excesses before the start of the next season. Everyone, especially those who suffer from seasonal allergies, could certainly benefit from this established timetable, however recieving Panchakarma anually, or even every couple of years is a very positive step to ensure balance throughout your lifetime. No longer reserved for royalty, we offer Panchakarma with practical consideration for modern schedules and daily demands. Panchakarma at Balance & Bliss can be designed for 21 days, 14 days, or 7 days. We recommend that you elect in-residence Panchakarma to get the best results. In the Panchakarma programs designed for duration of less that 21 days, part of the process will begin at home under the supervision of your Ayurvedic Practitioner. When you are finished with your stay at Balance & Bliss you will be given a supervised follow up plan to complete at home.
The ancient principles and methods of Panchakarma are even more relevant today as contemporary society has introduced as a host of new stressors that challenge the delicate balance of the Doshas or elemental energies. Honor your essential Doshic balance by participating in the necessary luxury of Panchakarma to support your overall well being and longevity.