Pancha Karma is a synonym for cleansing or purification process called Samshodhana. To treat a patient without first cleansing him is like painting on a dirty cloth or dying on an unclean and dirty canvas picked up from a dustbin.
The Cleansing is done by:
Vasti (Enema –Urethral, Vaginal and Utrine douches and irrigations)
Nasya or Sirovirechana (Nasal Administration of medicine, errhines)
Raktamokshana (Bloodletting by venesection and leeches)
PANCHAKARMA means FIVE KARMAS meaning FIVE TREATMENTS. Depending on the disease the cleansing is done by suitable karmas from these five karmas.
There are certain preliminary measures to be carried out known as “Purva Karma” previous to the Pancha karma treatments proper. They consist of Sneha and Sweda. Sneha is an administration of certain oily and greasy preparations like ghee, oil etc., both internally and externally. This has the property of softening and separating the morbid matters that stick to the tissues. Sweda is a method of producing perspiration by means of dry or moist heat hot baths etc., which bring the waste products to certain parts of the body as stomach, intestines etc., from where they can be removed by emetics, purgatives etc. Sweda also clears out the impurities from the body through perspiration.
After the above Panchakarmas are performed the administration of certain drugs and diets is required to assist nature in restoring the doshas, dhatus etc., to their normal state and keeping them healthy. These constitute ‘Pashchath Karma’.
To follow these entire regimens properly, the patient should be in the hospital as an inpatient. As a general rule, the Pashchath Karma regimen is to be observed for double the time that was required for the conduction of the Panchakarma.