Pachkarma in Rishikesh

Before trying to remove the toxins, the various channels in our body where the toxins get accumulated are softened. This makes the toxins loosely attached to the places which can be pulled out in the detoxification process. This is done by increasing the fire element in the body. Herbal medications are also administered internally for this procedure. This is known as heating (deepana) and digesting (pachana) in Ayurvedic term. The process may take 3 to 5 days depending on the diagnosis. After this process the whole body is oiled externally and internally with medicated Ghrita (Ghee/Clarified Butter) or oil. The process of oleation of the body is known as "Snehana".

The therapy first follows internal oleation. How much to intake and for how long is determined by the Ayurvedic therapist after determining the body type as per Doshas. Generally medicated Ghrita (Ghee/Clarified Butter) is used for internal oleation. The person under the treatment is advised to eat light food a day prior to the first day of internal oleation. After consuming the Ghrita (Ghee/Clarified Butter) warm water intake at regular intervals is recommended. After the Ghrita (Ghee/Clarified Butter) is digested completely, light food intake is advised. The process of external oleation takes 1 or 2 days depending on the body constitution.

External oiling follows internal oleation. The whole body or a apart of the body is massaged. The oil or ghee used is mixed with specific herbal medicines. Many types of external oleation methods are described in Ayurvedic texts. Some of them are:

  1. Smearing (Lepa) – Spreading the medicated oil or Ghrita over the whole body or a part of the body.

  2. Whole body Massage (Abhyanga) – The oil is spread over the whole body. Then proper massage is done until the body absorbs the oil. It lubricates the body parts and brings the Vata Dosha in balance.

  3. Kneading (Mardana) - This is a much intense process of massage when the whole body or a part is kneaded using fists and fingers. This removes all the pain in the body.

  4. Trampling (Padaghata) – The whole is trampled upon by foot after applying a bit of medicated fatty substances. This makes the muscles and joints supple.

  5. Oil Pulling (Gandusha) – The mouth is filled completely with oil, without swallowing and retained for up to 30 minutes.

  6. Oil pouring between the brows (Shirodhara) – In this oil is poured continuously from a pot in between the brows for an hour. The stream of the oil is kept constant. This is especially for head region and people suffering from insomnia.

  7. Oil pouring over the whole body (Pizhichil) – Lukewarm medicated oil is continuously poured all over the body and gentle massage is done at specific points. This relives the muscular pain.

After the external oleation the body is heated with the help of steam bath. This leads to profuse sweating and expelling of toxins through sweat. The procedure is popularly known as Swedana. The oleation and Steam bath helps to soften up the toxin accumulated points and makes it easy to remove them in the main process.