Purva Karma is the cleansing or purification measure that
is undertaken prior to the panchakarma therapy.
When the actual cleansing process of the human body starts,
body needs to be made accustomed to some approved and set
system or methods so that the body prepares itself to eliminate
the contaminated material.
In simple terms, purva karma can be defined as a therapy
which prepares a patient for eradicating or removing contaminants
from the body.
There are 2 types of purva karma methods. They are Oleation (snehana) and Sweating (swedana). Description of each of the method is as follows:
It is a process when body is made spongy and flexible and that makes the contaminated material to collapse. It is specifically used for the treatment of bodily disorders. The messaging with oil stimulates the body tissues to disperse contaminated material from itself. It helps in removing dryness from the body. In this therapy, the oil that is prepared for the treatment is administered, 15-20 minutes after sun rise. There are 2 types of snehana, i.e. External (bahya) and Internal (abhyantar). The description is as follows:
In this type of method, oil (taila); medicated or plain is
used externally for massage which is known as Abhyanga. The
things that need to be taken care of are state of an individual
and condition of doshas.
In this type of method, some kind of prescribed medication
is given that stimulates a process inside of the body.
There are specific signs to monitor the effectiveness of
this therapy, i.e. increase in digestive capacity, loose motions,
buoyancy and silkiness of the body, tangible fat in urine
The therapy of snehana is beneficial in conditions such as Physical exertion, dryness, excessive intake of alcohol, over indulgence in sex, anxiety and injury, people suffering from Paralysis, Arthritis and severe backache.
Snehana must be avoided on those people on whom swedana therapy is going to be performed. Besides that, it must be avoided on pregnant women, people suffering from stomach ailments, high fever, and diarrhea, bleeding infection and hairline fracture.
It means sweating. Under this therapy, sweat is stimulated from
the human body. It eliminated the contaminated material by melting
or liquefying them. The basic thing that is used in swedana is the
procedure of heat that encourage sweating.
The conditions in which swedana is given tot the patients are cough,
severe headache, paralysis, constipation and arthritis (pain in
joints). The effectiveness of swedana therapy is proved by the following
symptoms, i.e. Vanishing of Corrhyza, reprieve from any sought of
ache and inflexibility and muscular disorder. Steam bath is the
most common form of swedana purvakarma therapy.
Both the procedure eliminates the toxins of the body by opening up the channels of the body by soothing the troubled doshas. Most of the purva karma therapies are undertaken for the treatment of recurring and inherent ailments. These therapies are carried out in keeping in view a person’s constitution and vata, pita and kapha dosha.