Agnikarma – The Pain Specialist in Ayurveda

Efficient pain management is very essential for a pain-free life. Here, Dr Karthik K Nandan tells us how ‘Agnikarma’ in Ayurveda helps to manage pain effectively.

In today’s fast paced lifestyle everybody requires an instant result for all kinds of pain. But this is not always possible.

Pain may be the result of several pathologies. It maybe acute or chronic. It may originate from a muscle, tendon, ligament, joint, bones etc. Some of them are a result of osteoarthritis degenerative joint disorder, spondylolysis and also wound with hard raised granulation, in cysts, piles, tumours, inguinal hernia,disease of the joints, cutting of blood vessels, sinus and in excessive haemorrhage. Persons of Pitta prakruti, emaciated, children, old aged, sensitive, pregnant, multiple ulcers in the  body, anaemic, indigestion, alcoholic, poison affected, low immunity etc are not recommended for this therapy.

Ayurveda considers Agnikarma as a thermal, minimally invasive para-surgical procedure. Here, Agni is applied directly or indirectly with the help of different materials to relieve the patient from the pain. According to classical scholars, Agnikarma is classified as Agni Krita-Karma or the Karma or action carried out by Agni. Acharya Sushruta describes Agnikarma as more effective than any other types of treatment since this assures no relapse of the disease. This procedure is useful in diseases, which are incurable by drugs, surgery and Kshara Chikitsa.


According to Dravya According to Akriti According to Dhatus
Snigdha(Madhu, Ghrita,Taila) Valaya(Circular shape) Twakadagdha(Pippali, Ajasakrida, Godanta )
Ruksha (Pippali, Shalaka, Ajasakrida) Bindu(Dot like shape) Sira and Snayudagdha (Madhu, Jaggery and Sneha)
Vilekha (Making of different shapes by heated shalaka) Mamsadagdha (JambhavstaShalakla)
Pratisarana(Rubbing) AsthiSandhidagdha (Madhu, Jaggery and Sneha)

Benefits of Agnikarma

  • According to Sushruta, Agnikarmais considered as the supreme in all the para-surgical procedures.
  • The procedure is simple and safe.
  • It is applicable to all kinds of musculoskeletal pain
  • It is cost-effective treatment sans medicines
  • Op based procedure without side effects if performed skilfully and technically
  • Effective results in 2-4 weeks

Procedure of Agnikarma

Materials & Methods: Panchalohashalaka made of five lohas{(gold (Au), silver (Ag), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe)}, alo vera, ghee, cotton, gauze.

Suitable Season for Agnikarma: Agnikarma can be done in all seasons except Grishma and Sharada. Even in these seasons, during an emergency, cautery can be done. This method is applicable after taking appropriate counter measures.

The detailed description of the procedure of Agnikarma is available in Astanga Samgraha Agnikarma

Methodology includes three steps

PurvaKarma (Pre-procedure):  In all diseases and during all seasons, the Agnikarma can be done after feeding the patient with pichhila diet, and on an empty stomach in case of Mal-presentation of foetus, calculus diseases, fistula in ano, abdominal diseases, Piles and diseases of oral cavity.

Pre Agnikarma-Assessment: This is done before undergoing to any surgical or para-surgical procedure. Complete assessment should be carried out on all factors. Here, the patient should undergo a thorough examination before going through an Agnikarma procedure. The examination includes,shape of lesion, related vital part of the body, the disease and the season etc.

PradhanaKarma (Principal procedure):The principle procedure in Agnikarma, includes swasthik vachanin which the patient is kept in a suitable position by keeping head in the East direction and held by expert assistants to avoid movement. After this, the surgeon should make the different shapes of Agnikarma viz.: -Valaya, Ardhchandra, Swastika, etc. as per the need by heated Shalaka in a smoke free fire of Khadira or Badara with the help a blower or a fan. During this period if the patient feels uncomfortable then he should be given assurance through consolations and by giving them water.Thus, the procedure of Agnikarma should be done till the process of complete cauterisation.

Paschyat Karma (Post Management): After completion of Agnikarma, Madhu and Ghrita/kumara should be applied on the area of the karma using Ropana or Dagdha Varna.


Agnikarma (ushnaguna)

Utkleshnam to dhathu

Activates dhatwagni

Digest Ama and achieve nirama vastha

Pacifies Vata & Kapha

 Effects of Agnikarma: Its increases metabolism, blood circulation, decreases pain, stimulates nerves, relax muscles, decrease infections, decrease joint stiffness and inflammations.

Thus, Agnikarma is a pain management procedure described in Ayurveda from the ancient period.However, this procedure is performed in different places with different names. Nowadays modern science uses cautery like instruments which is nothing but a modified Agnikarma. This is considered a superior treatment in comparison to all other ayurvedic procedures. After treatment, using this procedure the chances of reoccurrence of disease is very low.

Dr Karthik K NandanBAMS MS, MSc Yoga||+919961419947, +919400111989

Assistant Professor

Dhanvantari Ayurveda Medical College


Healthcare Consultant

Sarathy Ayurveda Hospital


Chief Consultant

Ortho Healing Clinic

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