Panchakarma Treatment Therapies

What is Panchakarma

Five major procedures to eliminate the toxins from the nearest orifice are popularly called Panchakarma. The concept of cleansing the body is innate to Ayurveda and has been borrowed by allied sciences like Yoga. No other medical system in the world has the science of body-mind detoxification.

The body contains millions of cells and they have their own metabolism. Every metabolism will produce something good and leave behind something bad (toxins). That’s the concept of Ayurveda. Body is like an automobile. When there is combustion and the vehicle runs, a lot of energy is created to propel the vehicle forward. Along with that lot of carbon and waste are also left behind. This is removed from regular service otherwise the performance of the vehicle is affected. Likewise the body also needs regular cleansing to keep it healthy.

All the above three are equally important. But in Kerala Panchakarma therapy, equal importance is given to the first and third step also. We believe that if proper accumulation of toxins are not done, the elimination procedure becomes namesake. Likewise, if importance is not given to after care, immunity of the person is affected. Panchakarma is undergone both as a preventive and curative mechanism. Annual cleansing is the tradition followed in Kerala.

Phase 1 – Poorva Karma

Firstly, all the toxins are dislodged from where ever it is and brought to the gut by administering fats (oil or ghee) externally and/or internally followed by applying heat.

Phase 2 – Pradhana Karma

Secondly, these are expelled out of the body by 5 procedures (Panchakarma)

  1. Vamana (Emesis)
  2. Virechana (Purgation)
  3. Vasti (Medicated Enema)
  4. Nasya (Nasal Medication)
  5. Raktamoksha (Blood Letting)

Phase 3 – Pashchath Karma

Thirdly, the body has to be brought back to normal condition and rejuvenated starting with restricted diet and mild activity and gradually increasing it. All the above three are equally important. But in Kerala Panchakarma therapy, equal importance is given to the first and third step also. We believe that if proper accumulation of toxins are not done, the elimination procedure becomes namesake. Likewise, if importance is not given to after care, immunity of the person is affected. Panchakarma is undergone both as preventive and curative mechanism. Annual cleansing is the tradition followed in Kerala.

Panchakarma Treatments

Panchakarma, the comprehensive Ayurvedic therapy for ultimate mind-body cleansing, involves five types of Ayurvedic therapeutic measures to detoxify the body and successfully eliminate disease causing toxic elements.It is often undertaken for the purification of the body, as Ayurveda highly recommends body purification and detoxification before starting a therapy or a treatment. Apart from Ayurvedic detoxification, Panchakarma is also recommended to strengthen the immune system of the body in order to restore the overall balance and well-being. According to Ayurveda, good health is one of essentialities to boost the metabolic activities of our body. Lacks the strength and stamina to complete the digestion process makes our body vulnerable to the accumulation of toxins, as they easily get ultimately deposed in our bodily tissues and thus creating an imbalance that would ultimately lead to diseases. Panchakarma can help to prevent this with traditional Ayurvedic cleansing processes that completely flush out the toxins, and successfully restore the innate health and healing ability.

Nagarjuna’s Panchakarma Therapy involves a fivefold cure, depending on patient’s Ayurvedic constitutional type, imbalances of doshas, age, digestive strength, the level of immunity, individual needs, and many other factors.

This 5 fold treatment therapies include special Ayurvedic diets for body cleansing, several consecutive days of deep relaxation and rejuvenation therapies, traditional Ayurvedic cleansing treatments like hot oil massages, steam baths, and mild herbal enemas.

Panchakarma programs basically involve the following major therapies apart from some minor methods:

  • Abhyanga (Poorva Karma) – This is a massage using warm herbal oil, often done by experienced Panchakarma and massage therapists. The herbal oil used in Abhyanga is selected based on our body constitution. Abhyanga can help dilute the excess amount of doshas in our body, and eliminate them in a very healthy way.
  • Nasya (Pradhana Karma) – Nasal therapy in Ayurveda
  • Virechana (Pradhana Karma)
  • Vasthi (Pradhana Karma) – It’s a gentle Ayurvedic medicated enema
  • Vamanam (Pradhana Karma) Vamanam is one of the five therapies in Ayurveda. It is indicated for diseases caused due to vitiated Kapha or in combination with kapha predominance. It is done for chronic diseases like sinusitis, diabetes, skin diseases, tonsillitis, thyroid, diseases of head and neck, gastritis, obesity, etc.
  • Raktamokshana (Pradhana Karma) Raktamokshana is the important and prime process of blood detoxification. It is derived from two words ie; ‘rakt’ which means blood & ‘mokshana’ which means leave. So the meaning of raktamokshana is to let the blood out.
  • Swedana (Poorva Karma) – Ayruvedic and herbal sweat therapy can help open the pores and get rid of the impurities in our body, through the sweat glands
  • Udvartanam (Poorva Karma) – Ayurvedic massage using herbal powders
  • Pizhichil (Poorva Karma) – Relaxing oil bath massage.
  • Kati Vasthi (Poorva Karma) – Ayurvedic treatment for lower back
  • UroVasthi (Poorva Karma) – Ayurvedic warming procedure for the chest area and the heart

Some of the benefits of Panchakarma treatments are as follows :

  • Removes the root cause vulnerability to diseases.
  • Balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
  • Boosts your immune system.
  • Body’s vital systems.
  • Remove disease causing toxins.
  • Increases physical and mental efficiency.
  • Improves skin complexion.
  • Helping in shedding extra weight
  • Help alleviate insomnia, anxiety and mental problem.
  • Increases vigour and stamina
  • Increases the flexibility of joints

Back and Neck Pain

  • Spine related issues definitely cripple a person. The Spine is the main foundation on which the whole body stands. What we mostly come across are spine issues due to a sedentary lifestyle.
  • We have muscles inserted between each vertebra. These muscles when toned act as shock absorbers. They keep the spine in place and thereby help the spine stay erect. Good or bad, man is the only erect animal in this world and we have to take the advantages and disadvantages of it. We haven’t heard of any other animal suffering from disc prolapse or hernia. Gravity pulls everything down and obviously, the spine is also pulled down. But strong and toned soft tissues keep it in place and prevent it from prolapsing. Any injury or jerk will lead to the prolapse of the spine. An extended abdomen will also bend the spine forwards.
  • Disc prolapse at different levels, cervical or lumbar (most common) can also be handled by surgery if it is due to some injury. But otherwise the prolapse would have happened due to poor lifestyle. Surgery is not an option. If strengthening of the soft tissues is not done, the next joint will prolapse.
  • Our treatment focuses on strengthening and toning the muscles and soft tissues. Proper follow-up and mild to moderate life style changes is definitely the right way of handling spine issues.
  • The degeneration of the spine behind the neck is cervical spondylosis. It can start only due to some mild injury or strain. This could be a direct hit or fall injury or a continuous strain like injury due to wrong position. Very rarely due to deficiencies. The main symptoms are stiffness, numbness and local pain. These are due to pressure on the underlying nerves and the symptoms subside by rest. In progressed conditions the symptoms don’t subside by rest and the pain may radiate to the arms. An MRI will show the degeneration and the extent of damage.
  • Our main approach is to strengthen the muscles inserted between the vertebrae. Along with this, the soft tissues are also toned which will help keep the spine in position. This relieves the pressure on the nerve. Proper follow-up and moderate change in lifestyle accompanied with regular exercises will help one recover faster. This could take a minimum of 14 days to 28 days depending upon the response to the treatment.

Rheumatic Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of the joint. The main symptoms are pain and/or stiffness. Usually arthritis is a condition experienced as one grows old. Most common is 50+. Arthritis is general can be classified as 2, degenerative and infective. Both are conditions which are not very easy to handle.

Degeneration is the law of nature. But it can be definitely slowed down if it is happening due to lifestyle issues. One major factor leading to degenerative arthritis is sedentary life and constant trauma on the joints due to excess weight. Weight bearing joints like knees, hip and ankles get affected faster due to obesity and they degenerate faster. Injury and improper handling of the joint can also lead to arthritis.

Infective arthritis are many, but the most common one is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). This is an auto-immune condition where in all the joints (especially the small) gets inflamed. This if not handled properly can lead to disfiguration of the joints. Steroids are usually prescribed for this condition.

Treatment approach for both is slightly different. In the infective type, we have to handle the inflammation first before doing treatment for the joint directly. In Most of the conditions, the inflammation is throughout the body even though it is exhibited only locally. But ultimately, for both, the treatment is to strengthen the muscles around the joint and tone the soft tissues. Mild to moderate lifestyle changes are also needed to have sustained results.

Osteo Arthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disorder without inflammation. This involves both the bones and cartilage of the particular joint. It can occur in all ages but most prevalent in overweight elderly adults and larger joints like knee, shoulder, hip etc. Pain is the main symptom. In advanced cases, it also creates a crackling sound while the joint moves. Occasionally the joint gets fluid filled. Pain while climbing down the stairs is one of the most significant symptoms.

Since OA is degenerative, the main approach will be to arrest the progress of the condition. Due to degeneration and rubbing of the bones, dryness is experienced. Depending upon the severity and response to our procedures, the treatment may vary from 14 day to 21 days. We along with improving the condition of the joint, also see that the muscles around the affected joint is strengthened. Once this is achieved the joint starts repairing itself. Proper follow up, medicines and moderate lifestyle changes are to be made for management of OA.

Remedies to cure Arthritis :
  • Ayurvedic method – As Ama and Vata are the main causative factors, a long term remedy for arthritis should include some in-depth treatment methods to digest Ama and reduce Vata. The digestion should slowly improve from time to time, thus reducing the production of Ama, so that no further Ama is created in the long run. This is a slow, steady, and gradual method, and involves a series of authentic Ayurvedic treatments.
  • Fasting is highly essential to boost the digestion of Ama. Fasting can either be complete or be partial.
  • Light exercises should complement the daily Ayurvedic treatments. The amount and intensity of exercises can vary from person to person, depending on their limits.
  • Liberal intake of fruit juices that are rich in Vitamin C will help enhance the effectiveness of the Ayurvedic anti-arthritis treatments. Vitamin C is highly essential to reduce skeletal pain.
  • Commiphorawightii, commonly known as Guggal, is a highly effective herb to cure arthritis. Based on its availability, Guggal can be taken in one to three gram doses, twice a day, with warm water, right after meals. But make sure to note that Guggal is not recommended for those with kidney diseases or allergies.
Here are a few anti-inflammatory foods that are beneficial for Arthritis patients :
  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna – Include fishes in your diet, particularly herring, salmon, mackerel, and sardine, as they are rich on omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce the symptoms of arthritis to a huge extent.
  • Arthritis patients should never fail to include ginger in their food, as it can help cure various rheumatic, neurological, and musculoskeletal illnesses. Having around 5 grams of fresh ginger, about three times a day, can help boost digestion, and thus reduce the formation of Ama
  • Turmeric- A primary compound in turmeric, curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory effects that help avoid morning stiffness and joint swellings, along with boosting the walking capacity of arthritis patients. According to experts, about 2 weeks of curcumin supplementation (roughly 1200 mg per day) can guarantee better results when compared to the after-effect of having other conventional medicines for two weeks.
  • Garlic is widely used in several Ayurvedic medicines, particularly in the anti-arthritis medicine that help relieve the symptoms of arthritis markedly. According to experts, garlic is highly effective in reducing arthritis pain, as it can help prostaglandins control the inflammation and subsequent pain.
  • Other anti-arthritis foods:Raw juice of potato or bitter gourd have been proven highly effective in reducing arthritis symptoms. Celery, especially its fluid extract, can help decrease arthritis related illness. Green stalk of rhubarb is another beneficial food with immense arthritis healing power.

Skin Diseases

Skin conditions can come due to infections or toxic reactions. This has 2 issues. One is the skin issue and another is the cosmetic aspect. Reasons could be microbial infection, food poisoning or exposure to other toxic substances. The biggest, most prevalent challenge is psoriasis and its reasons have not been identified. There are certain studies which prove that industrialization and over exposure to chemicals cause psoriasis. People working in industrial areas are prone to most chronic skin conditions. But one thing is for sure, improper lifestyle and stress aggravates it.

Improper handling of psoriasis leads to psoriatic arthritis, heart conditions and/or other complications. Medical handling by steroids has been never the right way to deal with it. Oral or topical application of steroids will only make conditions worse. It will actually take the condition of the skin to the deeper tissues. All complications follow the same modality of treatment. This treatment gives temporary relief and, to a certain extent, some cosmetic benefit. But, in reality, steroids cannot be continued for long durations as it is harmful to all internal vital organs.

Both internal and external cleansing and detoxification is the only line of treatment for all skin diseases. Depending upon the condition (oozing/dry/scaly/full body etc.) different Panchakarma procedures, either single or in combination, are adopted. This cleanses the complete body and detoxifies it. Proper follow-up and mild to moderate lifestyle changes will help the person manage the condition really well. Strict food restriction has to be followed for a speedy and effective cure. The earlier the person comes to Ayurveda, the better the results.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an auto immune condition which exhibits itself on the skin. But actually it is a condition which affects the whole system. It usually starts in the scalp, below the knees or elbows or in the back of the ears. Usually it is mistaken for dandruff until the specialist confirms it as psoriasis. It presents mostly in three different forms.

  1. Scaly irregular shaped
  2. Reddish coppery with burning sensation and
  3. Thick round patches with itching

Management

Management of Psoriasis is not very easy but not impossible. Modern science quickly takes the resort of steroids. This could worsen the condition as the disease which is on the skin gets into the deeper tissues because it is being suppressed. The major complications are psoriatic arthritis and psoriatic heart. Our primary focus is to see that the condition doesn’t progress and lead to these complications. Thorough cleansing of the body is a must in patients suffering from psoriasis. After this only the rejuvenation happens. A comprehensive and wholesome approach is necessary to handle this condition. Immunity has to be improved for better results and this happens automatically after the detoxification done by our experts.

Since skin diseases localized or all over the body are associated with impure blood, purification of the blood is the main treatment. Psoriasis being an autoimmune disorder will need stricter regimen compared to other skin disorders. Takradhara and Pizhicil helps keep the skin clear from all blemishes.

A non-infectious yet inflammatory skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells, Psoriasis causes visible erythematous plaques on the skin, covered with crusty silver scales. Psoriasis occurs due to excessive cell division in the basal layer of the skin, thus resulting in increased epidermal proliferation. Main symptoms of psoriasis include widespread red patches, severe itching, and severe pain. Although anyone can be affected by psoriasis, it mostly occurs in adults, particularly those with a family history of psoriasis. Environment and immunological factors also play key roles.

Common types of psoriasis are:
  • Psoriasis vulgaris
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Guttate psoriasis
  • Inverse psoriasis
  • Pustular psoriasis
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis
  • Scalp psoriasis
  • Nail psoriasis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Oral psoriasis
  • Eruptive psoriasis
The treatment for psoriasis is decided based on the following factors:
  • The seriousness of the disease
  • The type of psoriasis
  • The size and intensity of psoriasis patches
  • How the affected patients will react to the medicines and treatments
Ayurveda & Skin Diseases

Although the root causes of the disease us yet to be identified, according to traditional Ayurveda, the vitiation of Vata and Kapha causes psoriasis. As per Ayurvedic principles, Vata and Kapha are the two basic energies that uphold the balance of our body equilibrium. Strong genetic predisposition, sun deprivation, and intense streptococcal infection on the upper respiratory tract can badly aggravate psoriasis. As per Ayurveda, these conditions are strong enough to create several visible pathological changes that take place are mainly due to the accumulation of dooshivishas or low potency poisons.

Uneven and unhealthy food habits, consumption of foodstuffs in the wrong combination (Example: dairy products with fish or chicken), too much intake of yogurt, black gram, seafood, sour or salted food stuffs, etc. can trigger the psoriasis inducing pathogenesis. Other catalysts that cause psoriasis includes stress, alcohol, and tobacco consumption.

Psoriasis can be effectively treated through Panchakarma therapies, which include Ayurvedic treatment methods for the complete detoxification of the body, and successful elimination of harmful toxins from the body fluids.

Our patient Speaks

“Thank you for the response. Prior to reading the body of my email, I ask that you take a look at the attached pictures of my back. One was taken before the visit and the other a few days after I left Nagarjuna – the response to these pics from family and friends has been one of amazement and if it was not from my own experience difficult for me to believe.

The feedback from people (including my wife and brother) about their experience of Nagarjuna leaves little doubt that you have created an oasis of tranquillity and the definite benefit one would get would be relaxation and a feeling of WELLBEING.

For me, Nagarjuna was relaxing, rejuvenating, educational and MEDICALLY BENEFICIAL. For the past 2 years I have suffered from PSORIAIS which has gotten progressively worse. I have attended clinics in the UK and been given various creams but to no effect. I was to return to the UK where a course of UV treatment awaits – but – one that I now consider I will not need.”

A few health tips for Psoriasis :
  • Maintain safer distance from the possible variables that cause or aggravate skin diseases
  • Practice yoga regularly. Yoga can lessen the intensity of this condition.
  • Avoid pricking, peeling or scratching your skin.
  • Make sure to pat your skin dry after washing, and avoid rubbing vigorously with towel or any rough cloth.
  • Avoid artificial cleansers and use gram flour (besan flour) instead.
  • Use cotton clothes
  • Avoid cold water bath or immediate cleaning up right after heavy work-out, long walks, or travel.
  • Avoid food stuffs that can cause indigestion.
  • Avoid excessive salty and acidic food stuffs, radish, urad dal, sesame, jaggery (gur), curds, fish and other sour food stuffs that can trigger psoriasis.

Paralysis

  • Paralysis is a condition where a part or the complete body loses its function. Part of the body is termed as hemiplegia and complete is paraplegia.
  • There are multiple reasons for this condition. The most common 2 reasons are uncontrolled high blood pressure or head injury. Rarely tumours can also cause paralysis. If the causative factor is high BP, then the major reason behind it is erratic lifestyle. Hectic lifestyle coupled with sedentary life adds to it. Improper sleep patterns and obesity can also be some factors. Always under mentally stressful environment is another major reason for high BP. Once the person is diagnosed hypertensive, he should never neglect his medication and regular check-ups are a must.
  • Usually brain injury leads to this condition. Injury to the spinal cord can also happen. This leads to the sudden weakening of one side of the body. Usually when the left side of the brain is affected, the right side paralyses and vice versa. Immediate attention is required to keep the condition from worsening. Ayurveda manages such cases with lots of promise. Most importantly, as mentioned before, the BP is brought under control. Clubbed with physiotherapy, our external and internal treatments are extremely effective in handling such conditions. The earliest exposure to Ayurveda is the key to speedy recovery.
  • The most common cause for this condition is cerebral haemorrhage. Usually cerebral haemorrhage is caused either by an injury or increase in blood pressure leading to a stroke. According to Ayurveda indulgence is excess of Vata increasing activities like sleeplessness, over exertion and food which are dry and under nourishing are the main reasons. Due to this Vata aggravates and affects the nerves on one side of the body.
  • Management once the clinical parameters like blood pressure and sugar are under control then the best option is to undergo the Panchkarma therapy for paralytic condition. Internal administration and external application of oil is the best line of treatment. The focus is mostly to restore the movement and flexibility of the affected part. Every treatment Is focused on decreasing the Vata

Lifestyle Diseases

  • • The style in which one lives in one’s Lifestyle. We often say that our ancestors had a very good lifestyle and in those days these common diseases like BP, Diabetes, Obesity etc. were not very prevalent. One truth is probably they didn’t have too many avenues to distract them or rather lure them to lead a bad life style.
  • • Major lifestyle issues are obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal imbalance and so on. Major reason for all these conditions is detour from tradition and dependence on modern fast paced life. We get swayed by statements which so called modern researchers publish every other day. They dumped coconut oil to move on to sunflower oil to rice bran oil to mixed vegetable oil to olive oil and back to coconut oil. They now say coconut oil is the best oil. That is also not right. It all depends upon what oil one is traditionally used to.
  • Stressful home and office environment has led to all above mentioned lifestyle issues. Office timings are bad, centralised A/C, pampering by providing junk food, aerated drinks, irregular sleeping habits, very little leisure, too many gadgets and over indulging in social networking apps have taken its toll on health in general. This results in systemic toxins. These toxins get accumulated over a period of time.
  • Regular cleansing of the body is the best way to tackle toxins. Accumulation is a continuous process and we have to make detoxification also a habit. No other medical science apart from Ayurveda has the concept of body mind cleansing.
  • High Cholesterol
  • High cholesterol or hyperlipidaemia is a condition where excess of water insoluble lipids or fat is present in the blood. There are mainly two causes. One is excess fat consumption coupled with reduced exercise and the second one is genetic. Major threat with increased cholesterol is heart disease and sometimes acute pancreatitis. Increased level of LDL (Low density lipoprotein) is bad while HDL(High density lipoprotein) is advised.
  • Symptoms
  • Symptoms are not very common. Usually discovered accidently during other screenings. Diabetes and cholesterol go hand in hand. So generally screening for either of these will divulge the other.
  • Management
  • Thorough cleansing of the body is extremely necessary in such conditions. Persons with extreme excess of cholesterol are given with lots of fat and then detoxified. Fat removes fat. Proper follow-up with medicines and lifestyle is extremely important for maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. Alcohol is another contributor to triglycerides. So moderation in fat increasing food is also recommended.
  • Diabetes
  • Diabetes or commonly called as sugar disease is a systemic condition of excess glucose in the body tissues especially the blood. It is due to 2 reasons. The pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the cells are not responding to the insulin produced by the pancreas. It is mainly characterised by excess glucose level in the blood. Mainly 3 types. Type 1 where pancreas fails to produce insulin. Type 2 where cells fail to respond to pancreatic insulin and the third is gestational diabetes which comes during pregnancy.
  • Symptoms
  • Classic symptom of untreated diabetes is loss of weight. Excessive urination, hunger and thirst are the main 3 symptoms. Complications are many and anything. Affects all internal organs mainly kidneys, heart and eyes. Diabetic ulcer is also a main complication.
  • Management
  • Early diagnosis and management is the key. Chronic cases are difficult to manage. Associated with obesity is also difficult. Type 2 diabetes responds better than type 1. Detoxification and cleansing of the body plays a key role in management. Sudden improvement in the metabolism will help all the cells respond to the insulin produced by pancreas. Proper follow-up and moderate lifestyle changes will have to be done along with medication. Couple of treatment sessions will be required for long lasting results.
  • Obesity
  • A disorder involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems is obesity. A BMI of 30 and above is normally termed as obesity. Obesity or excessive body weight can lead to many diseases or conditions. Most common are diabetes, heart diseases, certain kinds of cancers, osteo arthritis etc.
  • The main reason for obesity is excessive consumption of food. Reduced physical activity is another cause. Usually these are together. Excessive calorie input and reduced calorie output. One other reason is genetic.
  • Symptoms
  • The main symptom is excessive fat and inability to be brisk. Palpitation and breathlessness even during mild activity. Knee pain due to long duration obesity ultimately leading to Osteo Arthritis. Bad body odour. Hormonal imbalance, high BP, cardiac issues and loss of libido are also quite common.
  • Management
  • Getting the metabolism right is the main line of approach. Cutting down on calories and increasing physical activity has to be adopted. Apart from this proper cleansing of the body by intense Panchakarma therapy will help the body get relieved of the toxins. Another treatment procedure is called Udvarthanam. Here massage is done with powders. This mobilises the accumulated fat and helps in removing it from the system. Proper food, medicines and lifestyle are to be maintained for long term results.