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Panchakarma:Classification and brief description

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imagesPanchakarma is a procedure which can be undertaken by any healthy individual to maintain one’s health and also to prevent body from different ailments.

In his treatise on Panchakarma , Acharya Charaka mentions about the following processes –

Vamana Karma (Medicated emesis)
Virechana Karma (Medicated purgation)
Asthapana Vast (Medicated enema in the form of decoction)
Anuvasana Vasti (Medicated enema in the form of oil)
Nasya Karma (Medicines administered through nasal route)
Acharya Vagbhatta considers Panchakarma as a biological cleaning process where he mentions about Raktamokshna (blood letting ) along with Asthapana and Anuvasana Vasti as Vasti Karma . It comprises-

Panchakarma as a scientific process is defined through the word’s suffix ‘Karma’ and classified in three parts.

Poorva Karma (Pre-operative management procedures)
Pradhana Karma (Main operative management procedures)
Paschat Karma (Post-operative management procedures)
Poorva Karma (Pre-operative management procedures)
is further classified in to three stages- Pachana, Snehana , and Swedana.

Pachana: In this procedure, the patient ongoing to Panchakarma process is given natural Ayurvedic medicines e.g. Trikatu powder for three days to ignite one’s digestive fire (agni).
Only after maintaining the patient’s digestive fire the next procedure i.e. Snehana is undertaken.

Snehana: Snehana is also known as medicated oleation process. It is defined as a process which maintains Snigdhata (unctuousness), mriduta (softness), dravata (liquidness) as well as Picchilta (slimeyness) physiological atmosphere of the body.
Swedana: Swedana is also known as medicated sudation process. It is defined as the process by which perspiration is produced which removes the feeling of stiffness and heaviness from the body and a helps bring a natural calming effect on the person.

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