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Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means “Five actions” or “Five treatments”. This is a process used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition. Ayurveda says that imbalanced doshas create waste matter. This waste matter is called Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul smelling, sticky, noxious, substance that needs to be evacuated from the body as thoroughly as possible. Panchakarma permanently eliminates these toxins from the body, allowing healing and restoration of the tissues, channels, digestion and mental functions. It involves daily massages and oil baths and is extremely pleasant experience. Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal treatment for toning mind and body system.

Prior to starting Panchakarma, oiling and heating of the patient is done to bring the excess doshas from the limbs to their proper reservoirs in the digestive tract, from which they can be expelled. The doshas are then excited by a procedure called utkleshana, a therapy that makes the excess dosha anxious to leave the body. One to three nights prior to the start of Vamana, the patient is asked to drink one cup of oil two to three times a day until the stool becomes oily, or he feels nauseated (This treatment is called oleation or sneehana). Kaphagenic diet is given to aggravate kapha. On the morning of the Panchakarma, Kapha aggravating foods such as basmati rice and yogurt with salt is given to further aggravate the kapha. Oil massage and fomentation are administered on the night before the day Vamana. The application of the heat to the chest and back will liquefy kapha.


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