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Panchakarma

Of the many ways Ayurveda treats and heals, Panchakarma is a widely used facility that rejuvenates the body and the mind. 

Ayurveda employs the approach that ailments are caused owing to accumulation of toxins in the body, and functions to eliminate the toxins and tackle the ailment at the root of it. Panchakarma is a part of the approach, which can be used as a precautionary measure or as a post-ailment healing means. 

Panchakarma utilizes a customized five-step approach designed specifically for the individual undergoing the treatment. Here are a few steps used in Panchakarma and the benefits of them.

Abhyanga, one of the first steps in Panchakarma treatment is a massage therapy completed using essential oils. The massage is done such that the skin deeply absorbs the oil contents and the internal parts respond through improved blood circulation. The stimulation also helps the essential nutrients to reach the body cells, thus eliminating impurities from the body.

The oils used for massage are most commonly herbal oils, but are customized according to the requirements of the individual. Abhyanga is a rejuvenating and soothing experience to the body and the mind. 

Another therapy constituting Panchakarma, named Shirodhara, also known as the ‘mind massage’ is a soothing technique that stimulates and synchronizes brain waves. It includes monitored pouring of herbal oils on the forehead in a consistent and pleasant pattern that naturally makes the individual drowsy and calm. The oils or fluids used for Shirodhara can range from essential oils to buttermilk or even plain water, depending on the necessity of the individual. 

Shirodhara is an important aspect of Panchakarma, but is only undertaken for individuals needing the treatment as per consultation. It generally follows the process of full body massage.

One of the methods constituting Panchakarma is a simple yet widely adapted treatment of Garshana. This technique includes a subtle massage targeting the lymphatic system which plays the role of eliminating toxins from the body and keeping them at bay. The massage includes a specific form of silk or woollen gloves which act like a brush, stimulating the glands and enhancing blood circulation. This is necessary because cleansing and stimulation of the system ensures better absorption of subsequent herbal treatments. Garshana can in fact be made at home with the use of right kind of gloves.

The next step in Panchakarma is Swedana, or what we generally recognize as steam bath. However, a couple of differences in practice make Swedana different from steam baths as we commonly know it.

Swedana is a typical ayurvedic practice as it uses therapeutic herbal steam for the bath, the difference being that the head is placed out of the system. The body is provided a stimulating and soothing experience that enables the glands to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate themselves. The head is kept out of the steam setup in order to maintain the calm of the mind.

Swedana is known to be amongst the most fulfilling experiences one can give the body and mind. The experienced say, you can quite literally feel the body healing.  

Udvartana, one of the steps in Panchakarma is a unique form of body massage constituting dry herbs and medicinal powders. This massage aims at stimulating the glands and speeding up metabolism, also providing the skin a subtle glow. 

This form of dry massage is also known to liquefy body fat and eventually eliminate it. Alongside internal physical effects, Udvartana also has external effects such as reduction of fat and fatigue. 

Nasya, one of the techniques constituting Panchakarma is an effective way of cleansing the central nervous system. The technique involves input of herbal or essential oils through the nose. The direct impact of it includes removal of mucus within the nervous system, and resultant impacts are resolving of respiratory problems and associated allergic conditions. It also clears the sinuses. 

Panchakarma is a wellness therapy that is undertaken in a number of Ayurveda facilities around India. The good thing about the treatment is that it is applicable for a wide range of ailments as it focuses on healing of the body as opposed to treatment of symptoms. Individuals seeking no particular kind of treatment and just some pampering can also opt for Panchakarma, as long as they can sustain with the considerably bland food prescribed for the duration! 

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