Pancha in Sanskrit stands for Five and Karma are therapeutic
measures thereby meaning five types of therapeutic measures.
These are undertaken for the purification of the body and
Ayurveda considers it necessary before the start of any other
therapy. The logic being -as a cloth needs to be purified or
cleaned of impurities and dust before it can be imparted a new
color. Similarly the Body needs to be purified before it can be
imparted new colors of youthfulness, health and vigor etc. In
fact, most of the times, Panchakarma is an end in itself rather
than a prelude to other therapeutic measures.
The Panchakarma therapy of Ayurveda comprises of five basic types of advanced treatment for evacuation of vitiated Dosha (toxic materials) from the body. One can consider this as a cleansing program of toxins from the body. There are so many subtypes of this therapy and different types of herbal massages, fomentation's like steam, external oil treatments, Basti (medicated enemas), Virechana (purgation through herbs), Vamana (emesis through herbs), Nasya (nasal administration of oils) etc. are incorporated. These practices are extremely helpful in relieving deep seated diseases as well as it is also beneficial for maintaining and improving physical and mental health.
According to Ayurveda, every human being is a unique phenomenon of cosmic consciousness. The three Dosha (humors) determines every individuals psychosomatic temperament or constitution. Vata (ether plus air), Pitta (fire plus water) and Kapha (water plus earth) are called the Tridosha, meaning the three Dosha. The internal environment is governed by Vata -Pitta -Kapha (V-P-K), which is constantly reacting to the external environment. The wrong diet, habits, lifestyle, incompatible food combinations (e.g. milk and fish, melons and grain, yogurt and meat or cooked honey etc.), seasonal changes, repressed emotions and stress factors can all act either together or separately to change the balance of V-P-K. According to the nature of the cause, Vata, Pitta or Kapha undergo aggravation or derangement that produces Ama (toxins). To stop the further production of Ama Ayurvedic literature suggests putting the person on a proper diet with appropriate lifestyle, habits and exercise, and administering a proper cleansing program such as Panchakarma.
Panchakarma is a very special Ayurvedic operation requiring proper guidance from a highly trained and skillful Ayurvedic practitioner. One should consult with an Ayurvedic physician, not just someone with a modest amount of training prior to deciding for these cleansing procedures. Panchakarma is done individually for each person with their specific constitution and specific disorder or need in mind, thus it requires close observation and supervision.
It is recommended for healthy persons also as a preventive treatment to keep physically and mentally fit and energetic. It is also done to best advantage, although not always, at the junction period between two seasons, thus helping a person to prepare their internal environment for the oncoming season.