Healing Through Ayurveda
Shamana (Dosha Pacifying) and Shodhana (Purifying/Panchakarma) Chikitsa
Central to Ayurvedic philosophy is the notion that optimal health consists of physical, mental, and spiritual harmony. The pathway to harmony depends on the individual’s predominant ‘dosha’, or constitution. Ayurvedic practitioners interview new patients in great detail about their personal as well as medical history. Health promotion, beauty management and healing in Ayurveda rely on freeing the body of ama (toxins), restoring cellular nutrition, facilitating complete elimination and re-establishing the balance of the doshas.
Ama (toxic materials inside our body) robs a person’s beauty and wellbeing resulting in the manifestation of the disease. Shodhana/Panchakarma (Purification) is the best therapeutic intervention to eliminate body toxins. It is a highly complex and sophisticated science of purification of the body and mind.
The four pillars of Ayurvedic Practice for maintenance of health and wellbeing are:
(1) Cleansing and detoxification,
(3) Rejuvenation, and
(4) Mental and Spiritual wellbeing.
Diet is an important concern in Ayurveda, but specific dietary recommendations depend on the individual’s primary constitution and vary according to the season. Treatment essentially includes dietary modification, herbal preparations, massage, yoga, meditation, and ‘pranayama’, or breathing exercises.
In Sanskrit, words Ayus means ‘longevity’, and Veda, means ‘related to knowledge’ or ‘science’. Hence, the Science of Life – Ayurveda is concerned with the overall wellbeing of an individual, mental as well as physical. In Ayurveda, primary importance is given to the preservation of health and prevention of diseased state (swasthasyaswasthyarakshanam) and secondary, comes curative therapy (aaturasyavikaraprashamanam). These treatment principles form the basis of Ayurveda.
Plasma (Rasa dhātu), blood (Raktadhātu), flesh (Māṃsadhātu), fat (Medadhātu), bone (Asthidhātu), marrow (Majjadhātu), and semen or female reproductive tissue (Sukradhātu) are the seven primary constituent elements (Saptadhātu) of the body. Ancient Ayurvedic texts deal elaborately with measures of healthful living during the entire span of a person’s life and its various phases; effectively addressing the health and proper functioning of the Saptadhātu. Each human possesses a unique combination of Doṣhas that define that person’s temperament and characteristics.
The ayurvedic theory asserts that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion and proper excretion leads to vitality. Health and beauty go hand-in-hand; Ayurveda focuses on anti-aging and rejuvenation treatment modalities to prevent disease process and to maintain the inner and outer beauty of a person, along with an optimum healthy state of the body. It comprises of Shamana (Pacifying) and Shodhana (Purifying) Procedures, which are prescribed as per Prakruti, Dosha, Dushyaand Kala. These procedures consist of different Panchakarma and other special Ayurvedic Procedures based on the person’s health and body constitution.
The practice of Panchakarma is a therapeutic regime of oleation, sudation, massage and elimination of doshas through various natural channels/orifices for eliminating toxic elements from the body.
Panchakarma therapy is performed in 3 stages:
- Purvakarma – Preparatory procedures that help the body discard the toxins present in the stomach and tissues and help facilitate the toxins to move to the alimentary canal.
- Pradhanakarma – Main treatment, which is designed as per each individual’s needs.
- Paschatkarma – Post-treatment care, which includes the diet regimen and the other Dos and Don’ts.
‘Pancha’ means ‘five’ and ‘karma’ means ‘action.’ This five-fold purification therapy aims at correcting the imbalance of the doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha in order to maintain their inherent equilibrium.
During each season of the year, one or more of the doshas accumulate which causes an imbalance and makes the body prone to illness.
This 5-fold treatment during Panchakarma is not only intended for the elimination of disease-causing toxins but also to replenish the tissues with nourishment. This is why it is often termed as ‘Rejuvenation Therapy’.
This therapy also combats dermatological problems and ailments, like paralysis, arthritis, rheumatism. In Ayurveda, every treatment programme is designed on the Vata, Pita and Kapha principles to impart health bring out your external beauty and to give a feeling of general wellbeing. These treatments use only natural ingredients and are formulated with a thorough understanding of the therapeutic effects of the Ayurvedic herbs.
Hastha & PadhaPariraksha – Traditional Ayurvedic hand and feet care ritual.
TwakPariraksha (Skin toning and skin care ritual) – The cleansing, toning, scrubs and face massages make use of a delicate combination of exotic Ayurvedic herbs and the natural goodness of fresh fruits and vegetables. It gently cleans, exfoliates and nourishes your skin and makes it supple.
Lekhaneyam – In this procedure, a special Ayurvedic herbal paste is massaged vigorously onto the skin for about 40 minutes. This is good for exfoliating dry skin, strengthening the tissues and removing dead cells, cellulites and excess fat from the body.
MukhaPariraksha – Face Care includes the processes of cleansing, toning/rejuvenating, hydrating, application of nutritious masks or facial packs made of natural herbal ingredients; this face care ritual imparts a natural glow to the facial skin.
Wellness is essentially being in tune with and aligning ourselves with the inherent wisdom of nature and ourselves – using the healing and nourishing power of the plants for health and beauty.
The first step in connecting your body with nature for health and wellbeing – is realizing that you are nature, an integral part of it – not separate from it. As Ayurveda professes our body is made up of all the same elements, minerals and energy that make up the universe. Hence, nature and everything in the outer universe is a reflection of our consciousness and our body.