Updated: Apr 19, 2018
Before the actual operation of purification begins, there is a need to prepare the body with prescribed methods to encourage it to let go of the toxins. These two procedures are snehan and svedana. Snehan is the oil massage. Oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage that helps the toxins to move towards the gastrointestinal tract. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple, thus helping to remove stress and nourish the nervous system. Snehan is given daily for three to seven days, as indicated. Svedana is sudation or sweating and is given every day immediately following the snehan. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further loosen the toxins from the individual. Svedana liquefies the toxins and increases the movement of toxins into the gastrointestinal tract. After three to seven days of snehan and svedana, the doshas become well “ripened.” A particular panchakarma method is then given according to the individual’s constitution and disorder, prakruti and vikruti, respectively.
The Five Basic Shodanas (Cleansing Methods) of Panchakarma are:
Vamana: therapeutic vomiting or emesis
Nasya: elimination of toxins through the nose
Rakta Mokshan: detoxification of the blood