Kayachikitsa is the foremost of the 8 disciplines in Ayurveda (Ashtanga-Ayurveda). It caters to diseases encompassing both, the body and the mind.
‘Kaya’ refers to the body and its metabolism and since Ayurveda considers most diseases an offshoot of errant metabolism, it’s
easy to conclude that Kayachikitsa is the backbone of the science of Ayurveda. It is used not just to cure or manage a disease, but equally to prevent diseases and promote health.
An integral component in the treatment of most diseases and in ensuring wellness is Panchakarma.
PANCHAKARMA MAY TAKE TWO FORMS
Ayurveda is synonymous with the word Panchakarma. These elements combine to form the tridoshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When one or more dosha becomes imbalanced, the disease is manifested. We constantly react to our environment. Wrong food habits, lack of exercise, repressed emotions, stress factors can either react individually or together to upset the health.
These procedures overarch all the sub-specialities in Ayurveda and are administered differentially based on many factors. They may be in the form of external physical treatments to the body – entire/ part/local or medications administered to the body via oral/nasal/anal routes. Panchakarma is believed to cleanse the system, thereby addressing the root cause of the illness and also helping better absorption and assimilation of nutrients and medicaments.
The term Panchakarma is composed of ‘Pancha’ meaning ‘Five’ and ‘Karma’ meaning ‘Action/Therapy”. The five core procedures that constitute Panchakarma include
1. Vamana (therapeutic emesis)
2. Virechana (therapeutic purgation)
3. Basti (medicated enema)
4. Nasya (nasal instillation of medicine) and
5. Raktamokshana (blood-letting)
Panchakarma procedures are taxing to the human system, thereby warranting preparatory procedure (Purva Karma) to acclimatize the body to the therapy and also post-treatment care (Paschat Karma) to allow the body to recuperate from the therapy. The therapies are usually administered over a course of a few days to a few weeks depending on the disease/health condition being addressed.
Periodic administration of Panchakarma therapies provides prophylaxis against seasonal diseases like asthma and allergic rhinitis, lifestyle disease like obesity, early diabetes etc. Some of these procedures are also used in isolation in select conditions.
PARTIAL OR COMPLETE EXTERNAL TREATMENTS
MEDICATIONS ADMINISTERED TO THE BODY VIA ORAL/ NASAL/ ANAL ROUTES
- Respiratory allergies and infection
- Gastro-intestinal problems like acidity, irritable bowels, hepatitis etc.
- Bone and joint problems like arthritis, spondylitis, disc prolapse etc.
- Neurological illnesses like Migraine, Paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, Ataxias etc.
- Ano-rectal conditions like piles, fistula, fissure etc.
Panchakarma cleanses the system, thereby helping the body absorb and assimilate nutrients and medicaments better