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Panchakarma is the ancient system of Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapies designed to facilitate the removal of deep-rooted stresses and toxins in the physiology. Ayurveda recommends these cleansing therapies up to three times a year--at the change of seasons--in order to maintain well-being in healthy individuals or to restore balance in those experiencing illness. The purpose of panchakarma is to extend the lifespan. By undergoing panchakarma on a regular basis muscle tissue, bone, immune function, digestive function, nervous tissue as well as teeth and hair (upadhatus or "secondary tissues") can be maintained, essentially adding years to ones life. Today, even modern science estimates that longevity is determined 30% by one's genetics and 70% by lifestyle choices.

Many diseases of modern times are caused by these deep-seated toxins which lead to improper digestion, stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, loss of concentration, premature aging, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, neurological disorders, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, sexual disorders, allergies, and unhappiness. Panchakarma utilizes a set of therapeutic procedures which are given in a specific order to promote the elimination of toxic substances out of the body via the nearest possible route of elimination. The resulting purification results in the intrinsic up-regulation of the body’s capacity to cure itself from many conditions and diseases. But Panchakarma has value not only as a detoxification procedure (shodhana) in the treatment of disease, it is also effective as a preparatory measure to strengthen a patient (brihmana) prior to surgery, as a means to promote weight loss (langhana), to increase the effect of rejuvenatory medicines (rasayana), prior to libido-improving procedures (vajikarana), and before the administration of certain special medicines (kshetrikarana). In all of these uses, panchakarma accomplishes the removal of toxic accumulations and the return of the doshas (psychosomatic energies) to normalcy and balance.

Panchakarma is comprised of five (“panch”) actions (“karma”) or, less literally, five therapies. Panchakarma is a medical treatment which when properly administered has profound effects on the detoxification mechanisms and metabolism of the human physiology. The following are the five classical karmas:

  • Vamana – the use of emetics to produce therapeutic vomiting
  • Virechana – purgative therapy
  • Basti – Herbalized enema
  • Nasya – Nasal administration of herbal preparations
  • Rakta Mokshana – Removal of toxins from the blood through bloodletting


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