Ayurvedic treatments largely depend on your unique body constitution, your primary dosha and balance between all three of them. The main goal of these treatments is to cleanse your body of undigested food which is the cause of toxin accumulation, in turn leading to various ailments.
Ayurvedic Treatments are classified broadly into two main categories – ‘Shodhan Therapy’ and ‘Shaman Therapy’.
‘Shodhan Therapy’ is one of the basic Ayurvedic treatment methods adopted for treatment of various diseases. It is one of the main treatment methods in Ayurveda. The Shodhan Therapy includes various procedures that are applied to clean the body of toxins.
In Ayurveda, Shodhan Therapy is a procedure adopted to eradicate diseases from normal body system. This therapy is an excellent method to reduce body toxins and restore the imbalanced doshas to their balanced state. Shodhan Therapy is also known as Panchakarma, wherein the root cause of the disease is also eradicated. Hence, Shodhana Therapy is considered as being superior to Shaman Therapy, as it not only treats diseases, but removes its root cause too. Shodhana is a harsher treatment method in comparison to Shaman Therapy, but more effective than Shaman. Shodhana is strictly an elimination process.
Shodhan includes into five methods of elimination processes. They are:
- Vaman – Ayurvedic practitioners use Vaman therapy (therapeutic vomiting) to eliminate the kapha (excess mucus) present in the body. This helps from recurrent attacks of colds, cough, bronchitis or asthma which is due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
- Virechan – The virechana therapy (purgation therapy) is done to remove the excess pitta or when the body secretes bile in large amount due to some imbalances, and the deposits in liver, gall bladder, liver and small intestine. This leads to persistent attacks of fever, nauseated feeling and jaundice. The Virechana therapy helps in stabilizing body activity in such condition.
- Basti – In Basti therapy (enema therapy), herbal preparations like sesame oil and the like are administered into the body through the rectum. This helps relieve the body from chronic fever, constipation, cold, sexual disorders, backache, sciatica, kidney stones, and other joint paints. Basti is also a cure for headaches and muscle spasm.
- Nasya – Administration of medication through nasal passage is called nasya. The body doshas in the sinus, nose, throat or head areas are cured by Nasya.
- Rakt Mokshan – Toxins entering the blood produce skin disorders. In such cases, internal medication alone is insufficient and purification of blood is necessary. In Rakt Mokshan (also known as blood-letting) leech is applied on the affected part. It helps in conditions like enlarged liver, spleen and gout.
Shaman Therapy (also known as palliation or suppression) is a milder treatment method aimed at restoring balance in the body through medication. It is used when the patient is not fit for shodhan (the harsher body purification methods). Other reasons for using this therapy are lack of time, or apprehension of the patient towards deep cleansing methods. Unlike in Shodhan, the Shaman method requires efforts from part of patient to retain the positive results of Shaman. Some methods employed in administering Shaman Therapy to the patient are:
- Deepan – Deepan means ‘illumination’. It implies empowering agni (digestive fire) to create appetite. In this process, medicated ghee and spicy and fat-rich food is administered to subside the aggravated dosha to achieve a balanced state.
- Paachan – This is a method of digesting toxic wastes or ama. Various herbal combinations administered help in digesting these undigested toxins.
- Kshudha Nigrah – This is a fasting technique, which literally means killing of appetite. Total or selective fasting is employed until the doshas are balanced in the body. Sometimes to balance a particular dosha, certain food or lifestyle activities that promote the dosha are to be given up. This practice aims to restore tridosha balance, and is particularly beneficial for diseases associated with digestive tract.
- Vyayaam – This means ‘physical exercise’. Certain specific exercises are suggested in curing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, digestive problems etc. For optimum results, it is combined with medication for optimum results.
- Aatap Seva – This method is also known as Atap Seva. It includes sunbathing for skin diseases, rheumatism, or arthritis related conditions. This treatment also pacifies vata dosha.
- Marut Seva – This method is also known as Wind Service and is the therapy which includes administration of fresh air, mostly to treat asthma, tuberculosis-related conditions. According to Ayurveda, breathing air is ‘prana’ or life. It is a method of pumping life into the body system.