The toxins that accumulate in our body due to our lifestyle, stress and above all, unhealthy eating habits, need to be purified periodically as they will otherwise cause disease. This involves a treatment called Panchakarma, a purification technique prescribed by Ayurveda for the treatment of diseases, and rejuvenation. A cleansing regimen, this unique therapeutic science keeps the body young and agile. Panchakarma involves a short-term treatment of dietary prescription, massage, herbal medicine, and may include medicated enemas, sweat baths, nasal cleansing and purgatives to purify the body. It comprises of five main procedures of detoxification - Vamanam; removal of excess kapha toxins accumulated in the respiratory tract, through medicated emesis Virechanam; removal of Pitta toxins in the liver and gallbladder, through medicated purgation, Nasyam; cleansing kapha toxins from the head and neck region, by administering medicated oil through the nose, Sneha Vasthi, Matra Vasthi; cleansing of accumulated toxins of all the three doshas through colonic irrigation, and Kashaya Vasthi; an enema of medicated herbal extracts.
Among the many other rejuvenation treatments are:
Abhyangam – A therapeutic massage used for conditioning the body and is designed around each person’s disease and condition. This is followed by a steam bath and a hot shower. It brings about complete relaxation.
Sirodhara – A unique treatment where lukewarm medicated oils are used to bathe the head in a regular stream for a certain period of time. Sirodhara relieves stress and slows the ageing process.
Kativashthi – Specially prepared warm medicated oil is held over the lower back area with the help of an enclosure made of herbal paste.
Ksheeradhoomam – A treatment for facial paralysis, speech disorders and other disorders of the face, it involves fomentation with medicated cow milk.
Udwarthanam – This is a deep and dry massage using herbal powders to stimulate hair follicles and subcutaneous fat tissues. It helps reduce fat, improves blood circulation and eases joint pains.
Kizhi – A treatment where cloth bags of heated herbs and medicinal oils are placed on the affected area, followed by a massage by the fingers, heel of the hand or palm.
Choornaswedan – This treatment begins with a massage of Dosha-specific oil to the entire body, then the body is induced into sweating profusely after a thorough massage pf herbal powders. This therapy is beneficial for neurological disorders, rheumatism and arthritis.
Snehapanam – Medicated ghee is taken internally with increasing quantity.
Anjanam – Herbal paste applied in the eyes after thorough cleansing.
Sirovasthi – To cure brain-related diseases, this therapy involves the retention of medicated ghee, milk or oils for a certain period of time on the head with the help of a specially designed cap.
Njavarakizhi – An application of medicated oil on the body followed by a massage with small linen bags of cooked Njavara rice.
Pizhichil – This is a slow and light massage of a combination of two ayurvedic treatments. This massage helps protect the body from illnesses and builds up immunity.
Takradahara – Medicated buttermilk is poured on the forehead to relieve insomnia, depression and other stress related problems.
Thalam – Herbal powder mixed with medicated oil applied on the head.
Tarpana – A treatment for improving eye related problems, it involves retention of medicated ghee in a reservoir made over the eyes made with black gram powder.
Gandusa – It involves holding of medicated oil or decoction in the mouth for several minutes to reduce lines and wrinkles on the face, tone the skin and cleanse the ear, nose and throat passages.
Kaval – A treatment for ear, nose and throat disorders, it involves gargling with medicated oils or decoction.
Vamana – Related to kapha disorders such as asthma, cough, psoriasis and skin disorders, this involves a therapeutic inducement of vomiting through herbal decoctions.
Virechana – A treatment to tackle pitta disorders such as dermatitis, chronic fever, heartburn and jaundice, this treatment involves administering purgative medicine.
Sneh Vasti – This is an oil enema to treat Vata-related disorders such as constipation, neurological ailments, paralysis, flatulence, backache, gout and rheumatism.
Kashaya Vasti – Normally done after a course of Sneh Vasti, this is a cleansing enema of honey, oil and a herbal decoction. It removes accumulated toxins from the colon and strengthens immunity.
Nasyam – This is a massage administered on the face, shoulders and chest with a herbal oil to induce perspiration, a medicine poured into the nostrils, then the nose, chest, palm and foot area are massaged vigorously. It is effective for headaches, sinusitis, migraine and rhinitis.
Yoni Prakshalanam – Herbal oils and decoctions are douched in the vagina.
Raktamokshana - cleansing of the blood, advised only in rare conditions.