The complete process of Pancha karma consists of three steps.

• Poorva Karma, which is the preparatory procedure required before the main procedure to enable a person to receive the full benefits of the main treatment. It consists of two main processes – Snehan (oleation) and Swedan (fomentation/sudation) and also improving digestion. These methods help to dislodge the accumulated poisonous substances in the body, thus preparing them for their complete removal.


1. SNEHAN KARMA (Oleation therapy)

On the basis of mode of administration snehana is classified into:

Bahya snehana (external use) and
Abhyantar snehana (internal use)

Bahya snehana includes application of
• Abhyanga (massage),
• Lepa (application of paste),
• Mardana (stroking),
• Urdwatana (upward massage, from below upwards),
• Samvahana (mild massage),
• Murdha Taila (procedures done over the head with oils, like pooling, pouring etc.),
• Gandusha (gargling),
• Karnapooranam (ear drops),
• Akshitapoorana/tarpan (oil pooling over the eyes),
• Parisheka (sprinkling, showering, steam pouring),
• Pichu (padding) etc.

Abhyantara Snehan includes administration of sneha in the form of
• Bhojana (food),
• Pana (drink),
• Nasya (nasal administration) and
• Vasti (enema)

Types of unctuous (oily/greasy) drugs / Dravya

I. According to Origin
• Obtained from Plants. E.g. Til oil or Sesame oil.
• Obtained from Animals E.g. Ghee.

II. According to actions
• Shodhana Sneh
Unctuous (oily/greasy) substances used to purify vitiated doshas.
• Shamana Sneh
Unctuous (oily/greasy) substances used to alleviate diseases.
• Brihana Sneh
Unctuous (oily/greasy) substances used as a nutritive substance to nourish and strengthen the body.

III. Types of Unctuous (oily/greasy) substances
• Ghee / Ghrit
• Oil / Tail
• Vasa (fat)
• Majja (marrow)

Recommended for:

• In whom sweat has been induced
• Suitable for purification
• Vata imbalance
• Who indulge in exercises daily
• Alcoholics
• Who indulge in sexual intercourse daily
• Stressed

2. Swedanam (sudation/ sweat inducing therapy)

Sweat inducing therapy comprises of activities aimed at removing stiffness, coldness, heaviness in the body by inducing sweat. Imbalanced Doshas residing in the minutest body channels are liquefied and eliminated from body through sweat inducing therapy.

Recommended for:

• Chronic cold
• Cough
• Hiccups
• Difficulty in breathing
• Ear ache
• Headache
• Facial paralysis
• Paralysis
• Constipation
• Retention of urine
• Difficulty in passing out of urine
• Pain, stiffness and heaviness

• Pradhan Karma or the main procedure, on completion of the first step, it is decided which of these are to be done depending upon the proximity of the waste. An increased level of upper respiratory tract waste shall call for Vamana (emesis). Similarly, a lower gastro accumulation of waste calls for a Virechanam (purgation), Vasti, Nasya and Raktmokshana.

1. Vamana (Medicated Emesis)

Vaman is one of the five therapies of panchakarma in Ayurveda.
Vaman means therapeutic vomiting which is a medicated emesis. This treatment is done for the aggravated kapha dosha, which dislodges the toxins mainly from the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Vamana treatment is targeted to expel increased Kapha Dosha out of the body.

This therapy is done for preventive & curative purposes. Ayurveda believes that different seasons have a great influence in the aggravation of doshas, ex: Kapha in Hemant (spring season), Pitta in Sharada (winter) season and Vata in Greeshma (summers) season. Hence one can adopt Vaman therapy in spring i.e. Hemant season as a preventive therapy in order to prevent disorders related to kapha.

Recommended for all kapha type disorders

• Good for pitta headache,
• Asthma,
• Dizziness,
• Nausea.
• Releases blocked emotions,
• Releases respiratory congestion,
• Bronchitis,
• Chronic cold,
• Sinus,
• Releases congestion of kaphagenic asthma.

2. Virechan karma (induced purgation)

It is drug induced purgation. It is used predominantly for Pitta disorders. Virechana is the expulsion of the vitiated Doshas through lower digestive tract or anus. Doshas here implies not only bodily doshas viz. Vat, Pitta and Kapha and Doshas of the mind Viz. Raj and Tam but also vitiated tissues of the body (Dushya) and waste matter (Mala).

Recommended for Pitta and Kapha type disorders

• Skin disorders
• Fever
• Fistula
• Abdominal disorders
• Piles or hemorrhoids
• Disorders of spleen
• Goiter or enlargement of thyroid gland
• Tumors
• Retention of urine
• Worm infestation
• Anemia
• Headache
• Pain in chest
• Jaundice
• Gout
• Disorders of the reproductive system
• Indigestion
• Constipation
• Edema or swelling
• Loss of appetite

3. Vasti (Enema)

Vasti means enema therapy, Vasti is one of the treatment among Panchakarma for vata predominating disorders. It is of 2 types:

Sneha vasti: This is medicated oil enema; it is beneficial for constipation, neurological ailments, paralysis, flatulence, lower backache and dryness. The treatment nourishes and rebuilds the body tissues (Dhatus), restores and fortifies the body's immunity. This promotes better nutrition while removing accumulated toxins (Malas) from the colon. Prior to this procedure the individual’s body is prepared by massage and steam bath especially for the stomach and lower back.
Niruha vasti: This treatment is normally done after a course of Sneha vasti. This is a cleansing enema where combinations of honey, salt, oil, herbal paste, and herbal decoction are administered as per the client's requirement and health condition.

Recommended for Vata type disorders

• Arthritis,
• Constipation,
• Neurological ailments,
• Paralysis,
• Flatulence,
• Lower backache,
• Ankylosing spondylitis,
• Gout,
• Rheumatism,
• Sciatica etc.

4. Nasya:

Nasya means administration of medicine through nasal route. Prior to the administration of medicine face, shoulders and chest are massaged with specific herbal oil and steam inhalation is done to open up the channels.
This treatment cleanses and strengthens the nasal passages, allowing fully and easy breathing.

Recommended for treating disorders

• Headache,
• Bronchial asthma,
• Sinusitis,
• Allergies,
• Migraine,
• Facial paralysis,
• Neuralgia,
• Earache,
• Dark circle around the eyes etc.

• Paschaat Karma or the post-therapy dietary regimen to restore the body’s digestive and absorption capacity to its normal state and the Pacification therapy with herbs and life style management.

Find us on Lonely Planet As recommended in Lonely Planet, Nepal 8th edition, 2009 -page 410 – yoga in nepal

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