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Well..It’s time to detox!

Ayurveda, the holistic healing science, is not limited to disease cure and can contribute significantly to a person’s healthy lifestyle and over-all wellness. The Malayalam month ‘Karkkidakam’ (monsoon season) is ideal for Ayurvedic remedies. It’s the time when monsoon rains keep the atmosphere cool. All pores in human body will open and the therapies prove most effective during this period.

Dr K Murali, son of Vaidyabhooshanam Raghavan Thirumulpad and the former Superintendent of Government Ayurveda College, Tripunithura, Kerala, sheds light on the importance of Monsoon treatment (Karkkidaka Chikitsa) and the common remedies prescribed to free the body of accumulated toxins. He also explains when one has to undergo the popular ‘Panchakarma’ treatment in an interview to The Ayurveda & Health Tourism Magazine.

 Q: Why this season is so important for Ayurvedic therapies?

Ans: In olden days, households relied on Ayurvedic treatments during Monsoon, when rapid climate change and downpour resulted in deadly diseases and epidemics. While the rich opted for ‘Pizhichil’or dhara (medicated oil massaging therapy for rejuvenating the body), the poor used to take in commonly available herbal supplements and apply oil on their bodies.

Time has changed a lot, but the practice is still followed vehemently. Ayurvedic experts too fully agree Karkkidaka is the ideal period for rejuvenation treatments and therapies to purify the body and the mind. After all, people are too busy with their work for most part of the year, and taking a little time off their hectic schedule for some self-care with focus on the body will only do them a world of good.

But for any Ayurvedic treatment to have the desired effect, it’s important to strictly adhere to a healthy diet, daily regimen and seasonal regimen. The same applies to Karkkidaka chikitsa  too.

Q) What are the usual wellness treatments prescribed during this period?

Ans: The common procedures revolve around two methods – Shamanam (pacification) and Shodhanam (detoxification). The former involves cost effective treatments but the desired results could be obtained only over a period of time. For example, Abhyanga (oil massage).

Shodhana chikitsa is resorted to when the illness is serious, cannot be treated with usual methods and recurring in nature. Therapeutic procedures like Panchakarma  should be administered/ monitored only by Ayurvedic experts after understanding the specific nature of individuals. The procedures are costly, complicated and aimed at cleaning the body of toxic materials.

Q) Pachakarma is often availed during this season? How is it helping in mind-body detoxification?

Ans: Panchakarma is only one of the procedures of the seasonal treatments. It’s highly individualized based on factors like Ayurvedic constitutional type, doshic imbalance, digestive strength, immune status and the like. Hence it should be done only on the advice of a qualified Ayurvedic physician. ‘Pancha’ means five and ‘karma’ refers to actions or treatments. It includes:-

a)      Vamana (therapeutic emesis):- Under the samshodana method (bio-cleaning method), the doshas are brought to Amashaya from all over the body by the specific procedures and then eliminated out by inducing emesis.

b)      Virechana (therapeutic purgation):- Purgation is induced by drugs and it specifically aims at the elimination of excessive Pitta Dosha from the body.

c)      Basti (enema): It is advocated in the diseases of Vata. The type of Basti where decoction is the major part is called Kashaya basti and that which uses oil or other sneha (oleaginous substance) is called snehavasti.

d)      Nasyam: Administration of medicinal drugs through nasal cavity.

e)      Rakta Moksha: entails the refinement of blood by eliminating toxins through the gastrointestinal tract.

However, there are certain poorvakarma (preparatory measures) procedures like Snehana (administration of medicated ghee or oil in large quantities) and Svedana (Sweating therapy) before starting the main treatment.

son of Vaidyabhooshanam Raghavan Thirumulpad and the former Superintendent of Government Ayurveda College, Tripunithura, Kerala

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