Panchakarma in ayurveda

Panchakarma means five types of therapeutic measures of detoxification.These are undertaken for the purification of the body and Ayurveda considers it necessary before the start of any other therapy. The logic being that as a cloth needs to be purified or cleaned of impurities and dust before it can be permeated with a new color, similarly the body needs to be purified before it can be permeated with new colors of youthfulness, health and vigor etc. In fact, most of the time, Panchakarma is an end in itself rather than a prelude to other therapeutic measures.

Ayurveda Activities

Typical day at ANHC
Rejuvenate and Replenish

The Panchakarma therapy of Ayurveda is comprised of five basic types of advanced treatment for the evacuation of vitiated Dosha (toxic materials) from the body. One can consider this as a body de-tox program. There are so many subtypes of this therapy and different types of herbal massages, fomentation’s such as steam, external oil treatments, Basti (medicated enemas), Virechana (purgation through herbs), Vamana (emesis through herbs), Nasya (nasal administration of oils) etc. are also incorporated. These practices are extremely helpful in relieving deep seated diseases as well as being beneficial for maintaining and improving physical and mental health.


Pre-purification Measures for Panchakarma

Before the actual operation of purification begins, there is a need to prepare the body in prescribed methods to encourage the release of toxins. The two procedures are Snehana and Swedana.

Snehana (Abhyangam) is the oil massage. Oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage which helps the toxins to move towards the gastro-intestinal tract. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple, thus helping to remove stress and to nourish the nervous system. Snehana is given daily for three to seven days, as indicated.

Swedana is sudation or sweating and is given every day immediately following the Snehana. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further loosen the toxins from the individual. Swedana liquefies the toxins and increases the movement of toxins into the gastro-intestinal tract.


Main Purification measures of Panchakarma

  • Vamana: Emesis TherapyWhen there is congestion in the lungs causing repeated attacks of bronchitis, colds, cough or asthma, the Ayurvedic treatment is therapeutic vomiting – Vamana, to eliminate the Kapha which is causing the excess mucus.
  • Virechana: Purgation TherapyWhen excess bile, Pitta, is secreted and accumulated in the gall bladder, liver and small intestine, it tends to result in rashes, skin inflammation, acne, chronic attacks of fever, vomiting, nausea and jaundice. Ayurvedic literature suggests in these conditions the administration of therapeutic purgation or a therapeutic laxative.
  • Nasya: Nasal AdministrationThe nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. The nasal administration of medication is called Nasya. An excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated by means of the nearest possible opening, the nose.
  • Basti: Enema TherapyVata’s predominant site is the colon. Ayurvedic Basti involves the introduction into the rectum of herbal concoctions of sesame oil, and certain herbal preparations in a liquid medium. Basti, is the most effective treatment of Vata disorders, although many enemas over a prescribed period of time are usually required. It relieves constipation, distention, chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders, kidney stones, heart pain, backache, sciatica and other pains in the joints. Many other Vata disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscle spasms and headaches may also be treated with Basti. Basti therapy is divided in two main types – Anuvasana Basti – medicated oil enemas and Niruha Basti – medicated enema of decoctions and medicated oils.
  • Raktamokshana: Blood LettingThis is also a very useful treatment in various rakta disorders.
    Uses : acidity, skin diseases, high blood pressure, herpes, mouth ulcers, eye disorders, vertigo, etc.
    Duration : 01 day + 3 days of oleation.

Other miscellaneous therapies of Panchakarma:

    • Shirodhara:It is recommended in anxiety, depression, hypertension, insomnia etc.
    • Kati Basti:Useful in different backaches.
    • Janu Basti:Useful in arthritis of the knee joint.
    • Nadi Sweda:Useful in pain disorders of different sites.
    • Pinda Sweda:Useful in neurological ailments and in the management of different pains.
    • Shashti-Shali Pindasweda:Useful in neurological ailments.
    • Tarpanam:Useful in the ailments of the eyes.
    • Shirobasti:Useful in hair loss and the falling hair and other diseases of skull.
    • Uttara Basti:Useful in genitourinary diseases and infertility of female.
    • Udvartana:It is a medicated Ubtan to be applied over the skin for fair and glowing .

Benefits of taking ayurveda in Goa

Ayurveda treats the body, mind and soul in a holistic way. A visitor comes to goa for relaxation and unwinding from the day to day hectic activies back at home. A holiday by itself anywhere is Rejuvenating and at a serene and beautifull coast of golden beaches, it surely helps a person more if he or she has an Ayurvedic Holiday. Goa is a land of serene beauty. It is a blend of east and west. It is a land of peace. The long stretches of clean, beautifull, sunny beaches; the dark green forests, the hills, the rivers, the songs of birds, the rhymes of springs, all these charms of nature, you can discover here. Ayurveda is Rejuvenating and Goa is Refreshing. A combination of these two makes your trip more meaningful as ayurveda encourages in preventing and protecting from sickness and diseases.

Goa in India is a pollution free state. Tourism is the main industry of the people of this state. Also Goa is the only state with the highest forest cover. So the air you breath is pure and healthy. Definately a right place to practise Ayurveda and its old age benefits.

Concept of health according to Ayurveda.

We had understood that Ayurveda has pronounced definition of health as not the absence of disease but strong physique, healthy mind and kind heart. The person who leads a life useful to him and to society is a real healthy person. Ayurveda has such a broad compass about concept of health. It is the outcome of the great Indian tradition which stresses on ‘sarve santu niraamayaha/’ (let all be healthy.)

In spite of phenomenal progress in modern medical science and other life sciences in the fields of investigations such as biochemistry, radiology; in the fields of therapeutics such as antibiotics, chemotherapies; techniques such as endoscopies; there is a growing demand for the wisdom of Ayurveda, and the services of ayurvedic doctors all over the world. The reason lies in the unique features of Ayurveda.

Treatment of the patient and not of the disease alone

In addition to the clinical features of disease, there are a lot more to be seen by an Ayurveda physician. It starts with the constitution of the patient (prakruti). It is nothing but the tendency of the physical and mental reactions by the person to external stimulus. It changes from person to person. For example, in the October heart only few and not all of us are prone to mouth ulcers. In the rainy season not everybody complains of body ache. This body ache is without any major illness and just presents in a milder but perceivable form. . Next comes the mental attitude. The severity of the symptoms as described by the patient are often the result of his perception about self and the disease. Similarly to choose the treatment modality we need to assess the satwa of patient. For example, in some cases of skin diseases, the patient has to take medicines for quite a long time and a heena satwa person (weak mental attitude) will need a lot of encouragement by doctor to keep him on track. Otherwise, in despair, he may divert from his course.

Next comes inline the patient’s habits. Whether these habits are wholesome and according to the place where the patient stays or the season or the age of the patient. For example the curds may be wholesome to one where as the other might suffer from its ingestion. Sleeping in afternoon may be without any problem for one and may cause sinusitis in other.

We also need to examine the quality of tissues in the body. It is called as saara pariksha. The medicine for a person of weak muscle tissues as evident by less bulk of mass will differ from the person with bulky muscles, even if he is suffering from some digestive problem.

Along with these are the measurements of the body and tissue elements (pramaana pariksha), age (vayas), and diet of the patient (aahaara), the digestive capacity (anala). All these examinations are required for the correct diagnosis of the patient and the disease. So the examination consists of two phases. Examination of disease and diseased. Thus, two patients having same disease may receive two different treatments. The treatment is individualized and that’s why many a times very difficult to standardize.

Field is more important than the seed.

Ayurveda considers micro-organisms as one of the causes of the disease. Ayurveda describes them as krimi. They are classified into 20 types. Some of them are invisible. Some of them are beneficial to body. Ayurveda also describes some of them as rakshasa.and massive eradication of these rakshasas is recommended. Fumigation of operation theatre by burning some herbs is one of the examples of these eradicative procedures.

But Ayurveda doesn’t give them prime importance. The importance is to the underlying environment beneficial for microbes to grow. Our oral cavity (mouth) contains millions of bacteria. We ingest a lot of bacteria. They come in contact with our body every second via skin, via air, food drink etc. but still we are not always ill. Nor every one of us falls ill even in epidemics. So there is something beyond bacteria. And this is body’s resistance. Our body is made up of three main factors called as Dosha, dhatus and mala. Now out of this Dosha are the basic vitiating factors and if they are stable the person is healthy. When these doshas which are 3 in number (vaata, pitta, kapha) get disturbed they vitiate other two factors. Whenever these vitiated factors are formed in the body them the micro-organism can invade the body and produce disease. Ayurveda considers deha or body as the fields and the bacteria as the seeds and gives importance to field then the seeds. If the field is fertile for the seeds then only the seeds can grow. Similarly if the body is weak then the diseases can crop up. Same is with the mind. Ayurveda, therefore while treating a disease, the importance is given to the promotion of health of doshas and dhatus, and not upon destroying the microbes.

Promotion of immunity.

When microbes are more powerful than the body cells, they attack and cause disease. Antibiotics are powerful than the microbes and can cause death of the microbes. But unfortunately, they destroy body cells also. They cause further disharmony in the cells of the body and some other disease comes up.ayurveda believes in strengthening of the immunity. This immunity is described of two types. First one is the strength to fight against the disease. (Vyadhi-bala-virodhitwa) And the other one is the strength to prevent the starting or fabrication of the disease. (Vyadhi-utpada-pratibandhatwa). Both of these are called as vyadhi kshamatwa. When this immunity is built not only the present disease is eradicated, but recurrence also is prevented. Thus ayurvedic medicines do have certain side benefits and not the toxic side effects.

Treatments in Ayurveda

Takradhars contents like oil,buttermilk, musta, amalaki, etc. on the forehead of a patient. The patient lies in a supine position.
Use: headache, ojakshaya (debilities), urinary disorders, heart diseases, eye disorders, convulsions etc.
Duration: 45-90 minutes

PICHU: This is a treatment where a medicated piece of cotton or gauze is placed on the BRAHMARANDHRA of a patient . This cotton is filled with a medicated oil or ghee, which is changed from time to time to keep it warm.
Use: hair loss, graying of hairs, wounds, bleeding from the nose, epilepsy etc.
Duration: 30 minutes.

SHIROBASTI: This is nothing but another method of retaining medicated oil on the head, the patient is kept in sitting position. The oil is changed every now and then to maintain a warm temperature.
Use: parasthesia, facial palsy, atrophic rhinitis, headaches, psychological disorders, etc.
Duration: 30-60 minutes.

NETRABASTI (TARPANAM): This is a treatment for eye disorders. The herbal medicines are poured and retained around eyeball with the help of special flour to help decrease the eye disorders.
Use: Eye disorders, glaucoma, red eye, squint, etc.
Duration: 30 seconds – 10 minutes.

NASATARPANAM: This is instilling drops of medicated oil or ghee in the nose.
Use: allergy, headaches, as a preventive treatment for nasal diseases, migraines,
Duration: 15- 30 minutes.

KARNAPURANAM: Filling of ears with medicated oil is called as karnapuranam.
Use: dental pain, earache, pain in neck, mandible pain.
Duration: 5- 10 minutes.

MAASTISHKYA (PODICHCHILA): This treatment is application of medicated oil or ghee with other medicines on the head.
Uses: diseases of head by vata, pitta. Numbness of head,
Duration: 60-90 minutes.

SNEHAVAGAHANA (TAILADRONI): In this treatment the person sits in the droni (tub) full of medicated oil or ghee. This is very useful for various vata diseases like paralysis, parasthesia, myopathies, muscular disorders, gives strength to body.
Duration: 45-60 minutes.

ABHYANTAR SNEHAPANAM: In this the medicated ghee or oil is given to a patient to drink. The dose is decided on prakriti, kostha of the patient.
Use: heart diseases, peptic ulcers, vata disorders, pitta disorders, i.b.s. anemia, skin diseases, digestive abnormalities due to vata.
Duration: depends on the diseases.

NAVARIKIZHI (SHASTIKSHALI PINDASWEDA): This is a very useful sudation. The rice is boiled with decoction of specific medicines. This is macerated to make paste. This is tied in small piece of cloth. Then these bags are rubbed very scientifically on the body of the patient. They are kept warm so that the medicines enters the body of the patient.
Uses: asthma, paralysis, frozen joints, emaciation, etc.
Duration: 60-90 minutes

VALUKASWEDA (VALUKA POTTALI): The medicated sand is used to give sudation. The sand is heated and wrapped in a piece of cloth. It is placed on affected part or moved into circular movements on the body. In some diseases other dried up medicines are used.
Uses: rheumatism, spondylisis, altered sensations, glands, etc.
Duration: 15-30 minutes.

NADISWEDANA: The medicated steam is sprayed on the affected parts of body. This is done with the help of a particular instrument similar to pressure cooker.
Uses: sprain, arthritis, sciatica, etc.
Duration: 30-60 minutes.

PIZHICHIL (SNEHADHARA): This is also called as parisheka. A medicated oil is poured on the body of the patent, the oil is constantly made warm and poured on the body with the help of a clean and medicated cloth. The cloth is filled with oil and then by pressing the oil is slowly spread on the patient body.
Uses: to maintain health, to increase the strength of body, to increase strength of the senses, to prevent aging, increases digestive power, arthritis.
Duration: 60-90 minutes

EKANGADHARA: This is similar to pizhichil but only difference is that this therapy is performed on a single part of the body.
Duration: 30 minutes.
Uses: increase blood circulation, to decrease the pain and swelling.

UPANAHA SWEDA (SALWANA SWEDA): This is nothing but application of hot paste of medicines on the painful part of the body, the medicated paste is applied on the part and then covered with a piece of medicated cloth.
Use: contractures, stiffness of parts, pain.
Duration: 30 minutes.

KIZHI/ MUTTAKIZHI/ ELAKIZHI: These are different preparations of the medicines along with lemon, eggs, flesh, mustard, and sesame. The bags from these medicines are made and with help of medicated oil are applied on body with specific movements.
Uses: this is used in different vata disorders, to alleviate the pain Spondylosis.
Duration: 60 to 90 minutes.

VRANAKARMAM (wound healing): There are a lot of sufferers from non-healing wounds. This procedure is specifically done to treat these ulcers. With the help of various bandages, and herbal medicines the healing capacity of the body is increased.
Uses: diabetic ulcers, venous, arterial ulcers, other nonhealing ulcers.
Duration: 15-30 minutes.

KATIBASTI/ GREEVABASTI/HRIDBASTI: these treatments consist of massages and oil treatments for the diseases of heart , low backache, neck pains.
Duration: 30-45 minutes.

KSHEERADHUMAM: the milk is processed with medicines and the steam is given to the patient of the milk.
Uses: to increased the lusture, strength, of the body; facial paralysis, tongue defects.
Duration: 25-30 minutes.

SHIROVIREKA: This is nothing but administration of nasal medication in the form of powders.
Uses: migraine, sinusitis, coma, psychological disorders, frozen shoulder.
Duration: 20-30 minutes.

DHOOMAPANA: This is inhalation of medicated cigarrete. This treatment is used in diseases of upper respiratory tract. It is preceded by snehana swedana i.e. massage.
Duration: 20 minutes.

NASYA: It is installation of the nasal drops which are herbal oils. It is preceded by herbal massage and herbal steam bath, only in the region of head and neck.
Uses: sinusitis, respiratory tract infection, hair loss, etc.
Duration: 30 minutes.

VAMANA: This is one of the classical panchakarma. It is the induced vomiting by virtue of which the kaphadosha in the body is eliminated . This is one of the detoxifying procedures.
Uses: asthma, skin diseases, recurrent cold, hyperacidity, respiratory infections, epilepsy, ear discharge.
Duration: approximately 4 to 7 days for internal and external oleation. 01 day for vamana.

VIRECHANAM: This is also a detoxification procedure. The toxins in the body are eliminated by purgation. This removes all the pittadosha.
Uses: skin diseases, piles, haemorrhages, goiter, hepatitis, swellings, burning sensations in the body.
Duration: same as vamana plus 3 rest days.

BASTI: (MEDICATED ENEMA): This is very important therapy in ayurveda .By using different drugs it can be used in almost half of the different disorders. It is of following varieties, nirooha, anuvasana, yapana, vrishya, doshahara, madhutailika, yohgabasti,etc.
Uses: arthritis, vata diseases, paralysis, infertility, headaches, stones, pain in abdomen, constipation, uterine fibroids ,etc.

RAKTAMOKSHANA: This is also a very useful treatment in various rakta disorders. Uses: acidity, skin diseases, high blood pressure, herpes, mouth ulcers, eye disorders, vertigo, etc.
Duration: 01 day + 3 days of oleation.

AGNIKARMA: This is an application of heat to a diseased part with the help of a metal rod .The spots are selected according to the ayurvedic accupuncture points or viddha chikitsa.
Uses: sprains, heel pain, headaches, sciatica, arthritis, etc
Duration: 3 minutes.

Ayurveda in Goa

Goa is a magical state. It has a kind of multi faceted personality. On one side it is known for its fun and frolic and on the other hand it is also a land of temples and churches. On one side it’s known for its sussegado ( meaning relaxed and peaceful ) attitude and on the other it’s known as one of the high per capita income state. No doubt it is the land of profound beauty, deep forests, blue skies and serene beaches but also it is the land of intellectuals, scientists, indologists and ayurvedic doctors.

Very few know that the only place where an ayurvedic doctor’s statue is erected in the centrum is Goa. Goa is endowed with innumerable varieties of medicinal plants ,thanks to western ghats. And hence the medicines needed for ayurvedic treatments are easily available and taken directly from nature without any adulteration. The weather also is warm enough to perform ayurvedic therapies. Goa is refreshing and Ayurveda is rejuvenating. The combination makes your holiday truely healthy and happy.

About Ayurveda

As the name suggests, this is the ancient Indian medical science, which is the knowledge of life. Life is not just living but the healthy living. Our life has four basic components: Body, mind, Soul & Senses. Ayurveda believes that healthy life can be achieved only after foremost existence of each of these contents & perfect co-ordination amongst these four components. An example of un-co-ordination amongst these is an obese person who wishes to eat lot of foods but he cannot digest it resulting into increased weight…..So, it was Ayurveda, the first medical science on earth to define the status of perfect health. Health is the basic need or want of each & every individual & this need is definitely of immense & primary value as the perfect health is the basis of enough & more then enough amounts of money, satisfaction & a social status.

According to the Indian philosophy, life on earth has started from fish or Aquarians. From Aquarians during the courses of time, the amphibians developed, and then the quadruplets, two legged beasts & then the human beings were struggling for their life on the earth. But due to their peace of mind & non-accumulative attitude, there were very few diseases. Later on, as the man started thinking that instead of every hard work, if he could accumulate some wealth i.e. food, home etc for tomorrow his tomorrow would be lazy. As soon as this greed cropped up the diseases entered in his body.

So there were many people suffering from a variety of diseases at a point of existence. At that time, a few scientists & noted wise men came together & started working together in search of cure of diseases. & They again went to mother nature, which has given them a lot of peace before. They started observing different animals, how they tried to cure themselves, which was the plant they used to eat when they suffered from diseases, & they found astonishing truths. They worked on them; they made some of these truths as the ‘Basic Principles’. They also started working similar plants & did animal experiments. At the same time they started studying the human body. They dissected human body, noted vital points, and relations between different parts. But they found that this was not enough, because the living human body as it contains mind, soul & senses also, reacts differently to external stimulus. This reaction is the most important mode to decide health or diseases. So they observed human body. They studied evolution of man, observed different changes in body according to time, place, status of mind, purity of soul & excellence of senses. They thought over these changes & found that there are some basic forces that decide the various changes in physical constituents and as a product of these changes; there are some other constituents, which after certain time are relieved out of body.They studied these various factors in health as well as in diseases. The diet, the environment, the habits, the seasons were given a status of factors deciding health & diseases in the body as they noted various effects of these factors on the body constituents & bodily reactions.After studying all these factors & body in detail & after observing different diseases and pathologies, they decided the permutation & combination of doshas, dhatus, & malas in pathogenesis of each disease.


  1. Massages and all the other therapies should be done at Registered Ayurvedic centres only. Only rubbing oil on body is not ayurvedic massage. There is a philosophy behind it.
  2. Check the credentials of the therapy center. For example-
    1. the centre should have Qualified Ayurvedic Doctor.
    2. The therapists should be trained and certified for ayurvedic panchakarma. Etc.
  3. check the cleanliness of massage tables, linen and room in general.
  4. avoid falling in the trap of sexual provocations.
  5. understand that only massage is not panchakarma.
  6. try to relax when you are undergoing procedure.
  7. One should sleep only during nights . avoid sleep during day time.
  8. Usage of warm water is indicated for all purposes of bathing and washing during the period.
  9. have light food which is not too sweet, not too spicy nor saline.


  1. don’t take massages from the people roaming on beach. They may have contagious diseases. They might disturb your energy flow and you wil fall in trouble.
  2. nobody can perform all panchakarmas in 10 or 15 days. It needs at least 120 days for a full course. So don’t fall in the trap of false claims such as five days -five panchakarmas and you are de toxified.
  3. One should not suppress the natural urges for urine, sneezing thirst, hunger etc.
  4. don’t do any dynamic exercises.
  5. Smoking and alcohol or any other abusive substance is prohibited.
  6. One should not indulge in worry, anger ,tension and depression.
  7. One should not expose to extremes of cold and hot weather and very cool breeze and dust.
  8. Avoid curds,banana,and incompatible foods.
  9. don’t get involved in sexual indulgence.
  10. Don’t use cakes, pastries, bread, sauces.
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