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October 28, 2007

Panch Karma

Panch means five and karma means actions. Panch Karma is an ancient, subtle and very complex series of treatments for cleansing and rejuvenating the body. It is known to have cured things that baffle modern science including arthritis, cancer and Parkinsons disease.

Panch Karma's main emphasis is on cures, not palliative care. Symptoms may not be instantly relieved in the way that an asprin cures a headache. But the root cause of the illness is ascertained and eliminated from the body, so the symptoms will not return.

Extensive pre procedures draw the ama (toxins) from deep within the tissues into the digestive system. This is also palliative and strengthening to prepare the body for the elimination. Panch Karma will then employ one or more of the five actions to eliminate the ama from the body via the nearest exit.

When Charaka wrote the oldest book on Ayurveda he wrote of the five actions as:
  1. Vomiting (eliminates Kapha)
  2. Purgation (eliminates Pitta)
  3. Nasal cleansing (eliminates Kapha)
  4. Cleansing enemas (eliminates Vata)
  5. Rejuvenating enemas (eliminates Vata)
But when Sushruta came along he expanded on Ayurvedic understanding by developing more invasive treatments for critical illness. Sushruta spent a lot of time examining the blood and made the following change to Charaka's five actions:
  1. Vomiting
  2. Purgation
  3. Nasal Cleansing
  4. Enemas
  5. Blood letting (pitta)
After the Panch Karma post procedures and rasayana rekindle the digestion, rebuild the tissues, and strengthen the body.

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