Tourist Guide to Traditional Ayurvedic Treatments in India
By: Tiasha Chatterjee
Ayurveda is an age-old treatment that has been in use in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. It is extremely helpful to get rid of ailments that may be hindering the proper functioning of your body. In this article, we tried to get a look into a few aspects of the Ayurveda treatments.
Ayurvedic list of treatments and their benefits are endless. So, if you want to experience the endless benefits of the traditional Ayurveda treatments yourself, grab your visa and head over to India, you are in for a soulful ride.
A millennia-old tradition that aims to bring man back to his roots with nature, Ayurveda is a field that is ancient, profound, and effective. It is based on a deep understanding of the countless treasures of nature that can heal us from innumerable ailments, while at the same time helping us to achieve our best selves - physically, mentally, as well as spiritually.
It is a sad reality that standing in today’s time, man has lost his touch with nature - but the ancient practice of Ayurveda is a wise reminder to bring a little shift in our lifestyle and incorporate this age-old knowledge to heal ourselves with nature. If you are interested to know a little bit more about the ancient Ayurvedic treatments, keep reading our article.
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What is Ayurveda?
A medical practice that has its roots deep inside nature, Ayurveda first originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. The term “Ayurveda” has been derived from the Sanskrit terms “ayur” (which means life), and “veda” (which means science and knowledge). Summing it up, Ayurveda can loosely be translated to the “knowledge of life”.
Ayurveda, as a medical treatment, believes that diseases are caused due to an imbalance or stress that has been caused in a person's consciousness. Thus, Ayurveda prescribes a certain way of lifestyle improvement through intervention, in the form of natural therapies, that will help the person to regain a balance between their body, mind, spirit, and regain harmony with the natural environment.
The natural practice of Ayurveda begins with an internal purification process, which is followed by a special diet, certain herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation. The primary basis of the Ayurvedic treatment is the concept of universal interconnectedness with the human body’s constitution or “Prakriti”, and life forces, also known as “doshas.”
Ayurveda treatment aims to heal the ailing person by eliminating his or her internal impurities, reducing all symptoms (physical or spiritual), increasing their resistance to the disease, getting rid of all signs of worry, and as a result, elevating the person’s harmony of life. Various oils, common spices, and plants, including herbs, are extensively used in traditional ayurvedic treatments.
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A Broad Overview of Ayurvedic Treatments
Shodhana Chikitsa - Panchakarma
Panchakarma can be literally translated to “Five actions” (Pancha meaning five, and karma meaning actions). Shodhana Chikitsa or Panchakarma falls among one of the key foundations of the traditional Ayurveda treatments.
An all-natural and holistic technique, it is a way to rejuvenate and purify a person’s body and mind. It features a series of five major therapies, with each therapy focusing on a core function of the body. It cleans the whole system and gets rid of all toxins and waste materials that gradually get deposited over time, in all the narrow and minute areas of our body, also known as “srotas”.
How Long Does The Shodhana Chikitsa - Panchakarma Take?
The Shodhana Chikitsa or Panchakarma therapy usually takes around 21 days to a month, varying according to the person’s condition and requirements. However, it is usually recommended to go through at least 21 to 28 days of treatment, to truly feel the benefits of it from within. Panchkarma is also known as “Shodhana Chikitsa”, which can literally be translated to “purifying treatment”. It makes use of an assortment of medical herbs, oils, and spices to leave a long-lasting impact on the overall well-being of the individual.
The Benefits of Panchakarma
A unique rejuvenating treatment that relaxes the mind, body, and soul of the individual, the Panchkarma treatment cleanses the body of all its impurities and toxins. There are several therapies that fall under the Panchakarma treatment, all of which help to elevate your metabolism, enhance the body’s blood circulation and lymphatic system (which removes the toxins from your body), and give a boost to the overall immune system.
With the different focused therapies that aim at specific parts of the body, the benefits of the Panchakarma treatment are various and profound -
- Rejuvenates the skin and tissues
- Boosts Immunity
- Helps to relax and soothe
- Gets rid of the aggregated toxins of the body
- Gets rid of all the stress and anxiety that might be plaguing your mind
- Restores the natural balance of the body
- Regulates the metabolism
- Cleanses and enhances the digestive system
- Opens up all the blocked channels in the body
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Purvakarma (Preparation for the Panchakarma Therapies)
Before an individual starts the Panchakarma therapies, they need to prepare their bodies and minds in a way that the therapy will be the most beneficial for them. In ayurvedic treatments, this is done through the Panchakarma therapies, which is literally translated to “before actions”. The techniques performed are:
- Snehan (Internal and External oleation) - It is the technique by which your body will be prepared either by intaking some herbally medicated ghee or oil, or you will have to undergo a light massage with herbally infused oils. This process of introducing your body to oils, whether internally or externally, is known as oleation. It helps to lubricate all the organs of your body, thus enhancing its blood circulation and making it more receptive to the benefits of the Panchakarma therapies.
- Swedan (Sweating through steam) - It is a technique by which the individual is made to sweat, mostly by introducing them to water or milk steam. This technique is meant to activate the pores and sweat glands of the body, collecting the toxins of the body by binding them with various medicated oils and pastes used in the Panchakarma therapies, and finally removing them from the body.
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The Ayurvedic Treatments and Their Powerful Effects
Now that the body of the individual has been prepared, they can move on to receive the ayurvedic treatments. It includes the following:
- Vamanan (Medically induced vomiting) -
It focuses on the Respiratory system and upper gastrointestinal tract. It is the most beneficial for those who are suffering from respiratory and sinus problems. In the Vamanam treatment, the person is made to vomit, using natural products and herbs, in order to get rid of all toxins that are present in their respiratory system and sinuses. Vamananam controls the “kapha dosha”, thus bringing back balance in your body. It also helps with all kapha diseases, Skin diseases like leucoderma, Asthma, and related respiratory conditions, and Kapha dominant mental diseases.
- Virechanam (Medically induced purgation) -
It is focused on the Digestive system, Spleen, Liver, and Spleen. Our digestive system is one of the most important and active parts of our body, digesting, processing, and expelling all the food and drinks that we have every day.
It is no surprise that over time, toxins tend to build up and get deposited in the digestive system, thus messing with the body’s ability to efficiently absorb all the nutrients that we intake. Even bodily secretions such as bile and pancreatic juices, which are meant to help process the nutrients in our body, oftentimes are not expelled properly from our body. Thus it is very important to reset our digestive tract every once in a while in order to clean it deeply, as well as give them time to rejuvenate themselves.
The Virechanam Treatment is an excellent way to get rid of all toxins from the digestive system, through the help of medically induced purgation or fecal expulsion, and it has been specifically designed to purify the digestive tract, pancreas, and liver. Focuses on the ‘Pitha’ dosha, and it is beneficial for all kinds of digestive disorders, digestion-induced skin disorders and diseases, mental disorders, and chronic rheumatism.
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- Snehavasthy (Enema) -
It is focused on the overall digestive system of the individual. The small, as well as the large intestine, have many tasks that require processing the food that we have had and eventually preparing it to be released from the body through defecation.
However, due to the constant wear and tear and stress that the organs have to go through, waste is accumulated which results in ineffective functioning of the intestines. The Snehavasthy is an enema treatment where medicated oil is used to clean the intestine, get rid of waste and toxins, and help the intestines keep functioning well. It is the most beneficial for Vata-related diseases, Disorders of the reproductive tract, and Spinal disorders.
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