Meaning of Panchakarma
‘Pancha’ meaning five and ‘Karma’ meaning activities, together form the word Panchakarma i.e. five therapeutic activities. The five treatments are designed in a way that they serve the purpose of both detoxification and maintenance of health.
Names of the Pancha (five)-Karmas (therapies)
The five therapeutic treatments included in Panchakarma are as follows:
Internal and external lubrication of the body. Internally, fats are given to lubricate the channels and externally, it is done by means of abhyanga (body massage).
Fomentation helps in opening up of the channels and easy flow of toxins out of the system.
This is the method of inducing vomiting. This helps in clearing of the upper gastro-intestinal tract. A healthy individual can undergo vamana during vasant ritu (March-May).
This method induces purgation which clears the lower gastro-intestinal tract. A healthy person can take virechana during sharad ritu (September-November).
Commonly known as enema, this is the method of introducing medicated decoctions and oils via rectal route (mostly). It is advisable during varsha ritu (July-August).
These five therapies can be undertaken by the healthy and the diseased. Depending on the condition, the medicinal ingredients of the therapies are changed.