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Panč means five & karma means procedures, which translates to five key procedures of Shodhan Čikitsā (elimination of vitiated doshas). These include Vaman, Virečan, Basti, Nasya, & Raktamokshan.

This is indicated as preventive procedures for establishing homeostatic control with changing environmental factors through the year to avoid diseases as well in therapeutic regimens for treating vitiated doshas.


Āyurvedic physiology defines three doshas (Vāta, Pitt, & Kafa), seven dhathus (Rasa, Rakta, Māmsa, Meda, Asthi, Majjā, & Śukra), and the mal (Purish, Mutra, Sveda, with the dhatu's mala) as the entities constituting the human physiology. A sound health is a homeostatic balance among all these elements, especially the three doshas (Vāta, Pitt, & Kafa).

The doshas are subjected to three phases, čaya (accumulation), prakopa (aggravation), prashamana (pacification), with the various changes in the environment along with other factors like the person's diet & lifestyle. Of note, all these phenomena occur at the cellular and tissue level.

Check the image on the right to see how the environmental factors influence the three doshas throughout the year, causing them to create a potential diseased status, which combined with trigger factors give rise to that dosha-caused diseases.

Hence most of the pain syndromes, the spinal discomforts & pain, and other musculoskeletal issues resurface during the months of July & Aug due to the Prakopa phase of Vāta and likewise the occurrence of digestive disorders seen during mid-October, the prakopa stage of Pitta during that time. 



An Essential Tool in Preventive Medicine


Now that the doshas get aggravated and can vitiate causing illnesses, the times that they aggravate are the best times for them to be expelled from the body despite normalcy for preventing illnesses. Primarily, Vāta is expelled via Basti (therapeutic medicated enema), Pitta through Virečan (therapeutic purgation), and Kafa through Vaman (therapeutic vomiting). Along with these three procedures, Nasya (nasal medication) and Raktamokshan (blood letting) form the five primary procedures together termed as Pančakarma.

With the current competitive lifestyle and cross-geographical eating & sleeping pattern, which disturbs your gut microbiome and results in formation of Ām, also referred to as toxins. This Ām is the basic pathogenesis for disturbed health. Pančakarma forms an essential yearly routine for removal of this Ām (metabolic detoxification) and maintaining normalcy of the dosha, dhatu, and mala, ensuring optimal physical & mental immunity and its strengthening with adequate following of Dinačarya & Rutučarya.

People suffering from certain types of illnesses like hypersensitivity/allergy-producing asthma, and other diseases like hyperacidity, hypertension, and mental illnesses like seasonal affective disorder, along with metabolic issues like diabetes, diseases related to hormonal disturbances can ensure they do not get any symptoms with yearly Pančakarma.


metabolic detox

Pančakarma is the only complete metabolic detoxification process that works at the cell & tissue level

Clears microtubular channels & rectifies ionic pumps at cellular level for improved cellular homeostasis

Interventional Medicine

There are two protocols Āyurveda prescribes for diseased states depending on the dosha, the dushya (the dhatu or mala affected due to the vitiated dosha), They are Shaman (pacification) & Shodhan (extraction/expulsion). Pančakarma is an integral element of Shodhan Čikitsa.

During Shodhan Čikitsa design, the acute nature/chronicity of illness, Prakrti, dosha-dushya (the element getting affected by dosha) samprapti (pathogenesis), sadhya-asadhyatva (prognostic value), override the rutu-prescribed Pančakarma design & schedule, such that the excessive dosha(s) are addressed on priority. 

Pre-Procedural Process


For the dosha to be expelled from the body, it needs to be first dislodged from the sanshrayit sthāna (other body elements than its own home) and through srotas (microtubular channels) brought into the annavaha srotas (digestive channel). This activity is done by Purvakarma. It includes Snehan (internal oleation by means of ingesting ghrita/oil & external oleation by means of application of medicated oil to the skin) and Svedan (sudation - steaming).

Snehan usually involves oils and ghritas, while svedan is achieved through plain steam or steam treated with Āyurvedic medications/decoctions.

These procedures are done before commencing the Pradhān Karma (the Pančakarma) for 4 to 5 days, depending on the illness & the Prakrti of the patient.




1. Toxins removed - tissues cleansed

2. Cellular metabolism corrected

3. Chronic diseases treated


Improved Immunity

1. Improved homeostasis

2. Better production of immunity cells

3. Enhanced cellular feedback mechanism



1. Healthy tissue growth

2. Weight loss & improved appetite

3. Improved sleep & relaxation

In this video Dr. Cyril Kadam explains how metabolic detoxification is achieved through Pančakarma

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