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Ayurvedic Cleansing

The word "Ayurveda" comes from two Sanskrit words meaning "life" and "science." In practice, it is a system of medicine with roots in ancient Indian science and philosophy. The modern therapies used in Ayurvedic medicine are designed to treat the patient holistically, bringing his or her basic energies, or doshas (Kapha, Pitta, and Vata) into balance. Specific treatments include plant-based medicines and oils, dietary changes, massage, and panchakarma treatments.

Patients who are new to Ayurvedic medicine may wonder what is panchakarma. It is a detoxification or cleansing process intended to purify the body and rid the system of undigested food. The word itself means "five therapies," referring to Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti, and Raktamoskshana.

Allen Baler


Vamana is a method of emesis, or controlled vomiting, to get rid of excess Kapha dosha in the body. When this energy permeates the body, vomiting can expel it forcefully, curing the body of diseases caused by the excess dosha, like coughs and colds, depression, digestive problems, and fatigue, to name a few. Experts also say that this panchakarma treatment strengthens the organs, clears the mind, and even slows the aging process.


Virechana is a method of purgation from the bowels, and it involves the use of laxatives to rid the body of excess Pitta dosha. An excess of Pitta energy is associated with liver disease, gastritis, skin disorders, constipation, and diabetes. Depending on the individual patient's health and needs, one or more of several types of laxatives will be prescribed for 10 to 30 days, on average. After completing this treatment, patients report skin clarity, better-regulated digestion, and a feeling of lightness.


Nasya cleansing treatments are administered through the nasal passages, considered the doorway to consciousness. By applying drops of herb-infused oil, herbal juices, or medicated milk into the nose, Ayurvedic doctors treat both psychological or emotional imbalances along with conditions that affect the head and neck, such as headaches, eye diseases, and epilepsy. Oil should be warmed to body temperature before a treatment, and usually 1 to 5 drops are used in each nostril.


A Basti treatment is a therapeutic purging of the bowels with liquid, and it is used primarily to treat excess Vata dosha. Because the medicine is absorbed into the body through the colon, this treatment can be an effective delivery method when the digestive system is not working properly. An Ayurvedic doctor will prescribe one of several types of Basti treatments, depending on the patient's needs.


A Raktamoskshana treatment is designed to release excess Pitta energy from the body through controlled blood-letting. This is most often done through venepuncture or incision, but may also be performed using leeches. This therapy is often indicated when patients have skin conditions, such as eczema, allergies, swelling, abscesses, and inflammation. It is also considered a preventive therapy that promotes overall good health. 
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