Panchakarma therapy can be likened to a surgical operation in which the pre-operative and post-operative procedures are of critical importance. Without the preparatory procedures of snehana and swedana, internal cleansing is superficial and does not remove the basis of disease. Once the toxins and waste products are eliminated from the gastrointestinal tract by nasya, vamana, virechana and nirooha bastis, both the digestive agni and the dhatus must have the opportunity to rebuild themselves.
Along with a graduated diet, the post-procedures of Panchakarma prescribe gradations in lifestyle. In other words, the patient is strongly urged to move back into activity gradually, so that the delicate state of the nervous system is not over-taxed. The resources of the body must keep pace with the ability of the metabolic processes to supply it with energy, otherwise it begins-to run at a deficit. In addition, the dhatus need time to rebuild themselves.
As we mentioned earlier, rasayana karma does not technically belong to Panchakarma therapy, but forms its own system within Ayurvedic science. However, the rasayana therapy increases the effectiveness of Panchakarma’s rejuvenating processes. Rasayana actually means “that which increases the essence of each dhatu, starting with rasa.”
Expectations Surrounding Panchakarma
It is important to address the issue of what one can expect from this therapy. While Panchakarma alleviates symptoms of disease, its real objective is to eliminate their cause. In itself, the absence of symptoms does not always indicate a complete cure. Symptoms can often be quickly eliminated, but cure usually takes more time.
The practice of Ayurvedic medicine requires training and licensing procedures similar to those required of medical doctors in the United States. After the applicant meets certain prerequisites, he attends Ayurvedic medical college for five-and-a-half years and then takes an internship and vigorous licensing examinations. New Ayurvedic physicians then have the option to continue their training and consider Panchakarma as a specialty. This entails another three years of education and research and is equivalent to a Ph.D.
For a sore or inflamed throat, mix a little powdered turmeric and uncooked honey together in a paste and take one-half teaspoon of this preparation three times a day. This should reduce the inflammation.
To counteract symptoms associated with excess pitta, Ayurveda advises refraining from food and drink with pungent, sour and salty tastes, such as fermented, deep-fried or hot, spicy foods. It also strongly recommends that you avoid stressful and aggravating situations.
For symptoms related to excess vata, Ayurveda recommends following a vata-pacifying diet and lifestyle. In particular, avoid cold, windy conditions, too much stress, exercise and travel, and foods that are hard, rough, dry and cold.