This is a simplified form of the Pancha karma therapy that has been practiced in Kerala for a long time. This practice, which is very different to the classical Pancha karma, is popularly known as Keraliya Pancha karma. Kerala`s equable climate, with lots of herbs and medicinal plants and also the pleasant cool monsoon season are very suitable for the rejuvenation of the body and mind. The five major components of Keraliya Pancha karma are as follows:
1. Dhara karma
2. Kaya seka
3. Pinda sweda
4. Anna lepa
5. Siro lepa
: A liquid medicament like medicated oil, milk, ghee, takra, or kwatha i.e. decoction of drugs is placed in a pot with a thin hole at the bottom. Afterwards the pot is hung at an appropriate height, and the liquid is allowed to trickle slowly through the pot. The liquid falls on to the forehead of the patient, lying below on a droni or wooden plank. In this procedure, the medicated liquid is selected in consideration of the nature of illness, and the constitution and strength of the patient. This procedure has been found to be very effective in patients suffering from mental diseases. Also includes the diseases of the, eye, ear, nose, and throat. It has also been found effective for diseases like facial palsy, insomnia, and diminished memory.
Kaya Seka or Sarvanga Sencana
: Medicated liquid such as oil is poured all over the body of the patient using the previous procedure of dhara karma. The material is poured from a particular height, and a simultaneous massage is also done all over the body. This procedure provides strength to the tissues. The luster and beauty of the body is enhanced and the sense organs become clear. The longevity is also achieved. This procedure helps regeneration and rejuvenation of the body, and is especially good in the management of vatika diseases as well.
Kaya seka provides simultaneous snehana and swedana. It is administered for one hour and increased up to one-and-a-half hours for fourteen days or twenty-one days. At the end of the procedure, the patient is asked to sit down. His shoulders and the neck are vigorously massaged. Then the patient is given a bath. At the same time, the oils and medicaments remaining on the body of the patient are removed by rubbing softly with a towel.
A bolus of payasam or paste, made up of new coarse rice or sastika sali cooked in milk, is used for fomenting or massage of the body. Prior to the actual pinda sweda procedure, it is essential to do adequate snehana by applying oil all over the body. After that the body should be fomented with lukewarm medicated paste encapsulated in a piece of cloth. After a few rounds of fomentation with the wrapped bolus, the cloth is opened. Later the entire body is systematically massaged by rubbing the warm paste all over.
The entire process can be ended with a warm water bath, followed by rest at room temperature.
On the other hand Swedana with pinda is done for one hour and forty-five minutes. Then the body is wiped with an oily piece of cloth. Following this, a medicated oil bath is given. Afterwards a nice bath with lukewarm water should be taken. This therapy is given daily or on alternate days. Depending upon the nature of the disease, the therapy is continued for 7,11, 14, 21, or 28 days as well.
Pinda sweda relieves tiredness, depression, drowsiness, and insomnia. It also promotes appetite. The stiffness of the joints disappears with in a short period.
A successfully employed pinda sweda is believed to help the patients suffering from different neuromuscular disorders and systemic diseases. And it works in a great manner.
Specially processed and medicated anna or cereal is used for applying on the body in some conditions when pinda sweda does not work.
The procedure of preparation of anna lepa dravya i.e. medicated cereal paste is the same as is used for preparing the pinda sweda dravya.
The patient is asked to lie down in a droni. Lukewarm lepa is applied all over the body except the head. Anna lepa therapy is administered in several body postures, as is the case for pinda therapy. It is continued for one to one-and-a-half hours. When the lepa becomes cold, it is again made warm. After that the lepa is removed. It is followed by snehana and then, a warm water wash makes the whole process complete.
Siro lepa is indicated in cases of mental and brain disorders where the paste of traditionally known drugs is applied on the head of the patient.
In Keraliya Pancha karma, the selection of drugs is very important. It is used for preparing dhara, lepa, or pinda and is done by taking into consideration the nature of the disease that to be treated. Therefore medications are specific for that disease, whether applied externally or given internally. These procedures render the channels of the body free from stagnation, making the sticky contents mobile, and directing them in an appropriate direction. This automatically leads to elimination or excretion of the doshas, even without applying the classical sodhana or purificatory measures. Keraliya physicians advocate Pancha karma to be administered preferably in the rainy season, as this is the time when the vata dosha gets disturbed and needs to be curbed.
It is essential that for one week prior to the Pancha karma, the patient is kept under observation. During that period the procedure best suited for the patient is decided upon. After the therapy, a medicated lukewarm water bath is recommended, and it should be accompanied by a light diet. Excessive physical and mental exertion should be avoided. Sexual intercourse should be completely avoided at that time.