Description of Panchakarma Therapies

Panchakarma Therapies: A Guide


The following is a description of the different therapies that may be carried out during a Panchakarma program, representing actual treatments carried out in this ancient method of extending life. Many of these panchakarma therapies are performed by Ayurvedic practitioners, working in synchrony. During the course of a day’s treatments, sometimes up to four therapies are linked together.

Abhanga is an herbal-oil massage, prepared specifically for the individual; it’s designed to penetrate the skin deeply, break up impurities, relax the mind and body, and stimulate both lymphatic and arterial circulation.  It encourages the elimination of stagnant waste and allows nutrients to reach starved cells. The result is an increased state of awareness, directing the body’s internal healing system.

Shirodhara is administered by systematically and gently pouring warm herbal oil over the forehead; coordinating and calming the mind, body and spirit, and synchronising brain waves.

Garshana treatments entail a dry lymphatic skin-brushing with either a silk or wool glove.  This cleanses the skin and enhances circulation, preparing the skin and pores for the subsequent herbal and oil treatments.

Swedana is an herb infused steam bath, individually prepared, in which the heart and head are maintained at a cool temperature while the rest of the body is heated.  This allows for the removal of emotional, mental and physical toxins which are deeply lodged within the tissues.  The cool heart and head provide an open and calm sensation, while the therapeutic treatment over the body penetrates and deeply cleanses without the body being stressed and overheated.

Pizichili involves two Ayurvedic therapists pouring a continuous stream of warmed herb infused oil over the body, whilst massaging the body in perfect unison. The synchronicity of the massage and the warmth of the oil provide a cleansing of deep tissues, at the same time supporting the most amazing heightened state of awareness.

Udvartana is a lymphatic massage with a deeply penetrating herbal paste.  It removes stagnant lymphatic toxins from the body; at the same time this powerful exfoliating therapy conditions the skin and restores your natural radiance.

Next: Five Senses Therapy

Previous: What Is Panchakarma?