The word Panch means five and karma means action.
Five actions done on the body to cleanse the toxins and rejuvenate the body to its optimum level, this is the simplest way to explain a complicated part of Ayurveda called Panchakarma.
Medicated emesis (Vamana)
Medicated Purgation (Virechana)
Nasal Medication (Nasya)
Medicated herbal enemas (Basti)
For example, if we wanted to thoroughly clean a bundle of fibre or iron pipelines, which have been blocked by various toxic substances for years, we would have to first make sure that the pipelines have been oiled/greased thoroughly or a substance is pushed inside the blocked parts which can loosen the blockages so that minimum damage is caused to the pipe whilst flushing the toxins from the pipes.
In the same way the human body has various channels which include veins, arteries, minute capillaries, nerves, lymphatic drainage system, excretory channels for stools and urination which are the large intestine, kidneys, urinary bladder etc. Sweat glands, sebaceous glands, complete gastrointestinal system- including various organs and their specific secretions, synovial fluid in our joints etc. These can be compared to the pipelines of the body.
There is continuous micro and macroscopic waste production and excretion in the body, which if not excreted properly creates blockages in these above mentioned pipelines of our body. Once these blockages are formed, the natural flow inside the body vessels stop flowing freely and divert from their natural path pushing itself in various other channels where it should not be. Here you can actually experience body symptoms of discomfort, pain, heaviness, unsatisfactory bowel movements, bloating of the stomach, constipation, heartburn, disturbed sleep, anxiety, lethargy, fatigue, pre-menstrual tension, headaches, skin issues- itching etc, vaginal discharges, hair fall, dandruff, breathlessness, swelling over the body or joints etc.
If these blockages are not cleared it may lead to even more severe symptoms and to a full blown disorder or disease. This is how Ayurveda explains how all the chronic diseases in the body start at the microscopic level and then start showing up as full blown disorders on a macroscopic body and mind level. You can read this in more details on ‘Six Stages of Disease according to Ayurveda.’
When our experienced Ayurvedic Physician prescribes you Panchakarma treatment or a Detoxification , we have actually analysed the above pathology, where the blockages are situated , and then suggest you the best possible outlet for the toxins to be excreted to break free the blockages these toxins have caused. So if the toxins are there in the upper part of the body normally they are thrown out by the oral pathway called as Medicated Emesis (called Vamana in Sanskrit)
If the blockages are situated in the lower end of the body or in the lower abdomen then Medicated Purgation (Virechana) or Medicated herbal enemas (Basti) is prescribed. The blockages in the head, neck, and face region are expelled through Nasal medication (Nasya) and Medicated emesis.
And so on the impurities and blockages in the blood and plasma tissues is removed by Blood letting (Raktamokshan).