Primary PK Treatments
There are a very large number of panchakarma treatments in Ayurveda, which vary widely from treatment center to treatment center. The following select list & more (108 in all) have been fine-tuned for generations by the Raju family vaidyas for maximum healing results .
During your initial consultation, the Vaidya will plan your panchakarma according to the health needs of your body/mind as seen in the pulse.
Through ongoing pulse checks, the plan will be adjusted according to your response to the treatments at every step so you receive exactly what you need precisely when you need it. All the oils, herbs & preparations used for the treatments are made with traditional procedures which only the Raju vaidyas, through specialized training since childhood, can do. This processing with the Vedic Primordial Sounds gives great power to the preparations to deeply cleanse & restore your physiology ~ resetting the physical frequencies at the deepest levels of mind-body functioning.
All the treatment oils are processed a minimum of five times with herbs and "mantras" in this special way (some up to 21x), and each takradhara, shirobasti, navara, and big basti, after initial preparation, is again infused with the vedic vibrations before use. It is this liveliness, in concert with the power of the herbs and precise timing of planetary cycles during harvesting & preparation, etc. that bring so much power to the treatments. No where else in the world will you receive treatments such as these. Repeated healing successes, for even the seemingly incurable diseases, demonstrate this to be true.
The Importance of Sequence in Panchakarma
First Step ~ The Pre-Karmas
Sneha (oil application) and swedena (heat) are the first treatments you will receive in your panchakarma. These are called the "pre-karmas" because they prepare the body for the removal of toxins later on.
The pre-karmas are used in treatments like abhyanga (oil massage) and potra potali (warm herbal boluses) to soften and loosen the impurities (vitiated doshas), which are then flushed out through the pores via sweating in parishek (warm herbal water-washing). The deeper toxins will move into the bloodstream and then the digestive tract to be eliminated later on.
The most important step is the actual panchakarma process itself, where the vitiated (excess) doshas are removed from the body completely.
Virechena (herbal purge) is commonly used to eliminate excess of Pitta Dosha through the administration of special sneha (digestive tract cleanse). And, more rarely, vamana (vomiting) is carefully used to eliminate excess of Kapha Dosha.
But the most effective and universally used means of eliminating the impure doshas is through internal bastis (internal elimination therapy), which is the main treatment for removing excess of Vata Dosha. Bastis are given in the last phase of treatment when the loosened, vitiated doshas have fully accumulated in the digestive tract and are ready to be effectively eliminated for good.
"Because vata is the factor for movement and knowledge/perception in the body and mind, and because so many more diseases develop for vata, which is less stable than the other doshas, removing excess vata brings maximum benefits to all the doshas. Even when excesses of pitta or kapha are causing significant problems in the physiology, the transporter (carrier) is always vata. So, if we treat vata and pacify it well, 90% of the needed treatment is accomplished." Vaidya Krishna Raju.
Third Step ~ Nasya
The final treatment step in almost every PK is nasya (head and nasal therapy) to eliminate impurities in the head, which is the most important organ. Like the head of any institutional body, the head/brain is the commander in chief for our entire body and our health. The nose is the vehicle for this treatment because it is the gateway of the skull (pathway to the brain) according to Ayurveda.
"Whatever the doshas are that have accumulated in the head can be taken out through nasya. Not only for the elimination of these imbalances, but also to strengthen the whole brain and nervous system—anything done to the head affects the whole body."
Vaidya Krishna Raju
Abhyanga ~ Two-technician herbal oil massage. Relaxes & lubricates tissues and joints, loosens impurities & pacifies vata dosha
Vata is responsible for all movement and flow in the physiology and is the main dosha (body-factor) that leads to health problems when it becomes imbalanced. Every treatment day begins with abhyanga because it so effectively opens the shrotas (channels that get blocked from stress). And because all the different points on the skin connect to every organ and system in the body, proper abhyanga relaxes and strengthens the entire physiology.
"The skin looks like a simple organ, but it represents every organ. If you are missing the thyroid, then the skin takes the responsibility; missing the pancreas, then the skin takes the responsibility. The skin is taking care of all the other organs. It is the combination of all the different organs—every organ, every cell. If you are treating the skin and the skin disease may be due to the liver or due to the uterus or lungs, if you don’t treat these organs you can’t solve the [skin] problem. If you do the abhyanga, for example, modern medicine will never heal the diabetic person but with abhyanga and herbs, the patient gets well. The skin takes the responsibility [for the other organs]." Vaidya J.R. Raju
Takradhara ~ Stream of cool, herbalized buttermilk poured back and forth over the forehead
Tak, as it is known, is usually given for seven days following abhyanga or potra potali and is very good for the brain, head, scalp and hair (including hair-loss).
The center of the forehead is one of the main marma points (energy junctions) in the body, so Tak is highly beneficial for the whole body because marma health is vital to our health and well-being. Takradhara is also especially stimulating and strengthening to the hypothalamus, is deeply calming, and promotes good mind-body coordination.
"Takradhara and meditation will release the anger—immediately Tak works on the hypothalamus, like in the fevers (putting a cool cloth on the forehead). Takradhara is mentioned a lot for the pitta (body factor for heat & metabolism), and to control the hypothalamus which is the heat-regulating point in our body. The hypothalamus is also known as the emotional controller. It is compared with the ax of Parasharama, a very angry brahmin in the Vedic Texts, who lost control when he got angry. So when you get very angry it loses the control (the hypothalamus), then temper and so many things will come out, so you will not be knowing what you are saying and doing. Similarly, the deeper and deeper emotions can be controlled by the hypothalamus through takradhara. So when we do the Tak for seven days it is very good, but if we do it for 14 days, then the much deeper emotional stresses will go away." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Shirodhara ~ Herbal oil stream to forehead
Shirodhara is not as universally used as takradhara at the Raju PK Center. "Shiro" is mainly done to reduce & balance vata (excess of activity) in mind and body.
"Shirodhara is deeply relaxing, and is mentioned in the texts mainly for vata disturbances [related to flow & movement in the physiology]. It is especially beneficial for neurological problems and things related to paralysis [blocking of the nerves and subtle frequencies]." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Shirobasti ~ Oil saturation treatment for head, brain, and central nervous system
Shirobasti is given consecutively for 7 or more days. It powerfully calms & protects the entire brain, central nervous system & spinal column and draws out the toxins. Shirobasti also has a profoundly settling influence on the mind.
"Shirobasti mainly makes the vata to leave [eradicates vitiated vata/excess of activity] in the head and brain, which is the main controlling point of the body. In Ayurveda head is considered uktamanga—the best part of the body. So when we treat the head, then it clears out all the things & benefits every area." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Patra Potali ~ Two-technician treatment with warm herbal boluses & special oil
Generally given after abhyanga for the first seven days of PK, or longer if needed. The gentle pounding/pressing & heat soften and flush the deeper toxins while the oils, leaves, and herbs in the boluses help to nourish the tissues and release pain & stiffness, etc.
"When we do the patra potali it is a sweating therapy. But it also gives the herbal supplements at the same time it takes out the toxins. The leaves in patra potali are mostly neem, but others are there also. That is why we like patra potali & parishek a lot. The boluses should be hot, but not burning. From person to person the temperature and treatment time should vary." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Front & Back Bastis ~ Concentrated herbal oil application on key marma points
Given for seven days or more as needed, using "wells" of dough that are gently filled with warm oil over and over. The medicated oil soaks into the tissues, drawing out toxins and strengthening the vital point areas.
The "Front Bastis" are done over the navel & heart areas (maha, or great marma points). "Back Bastis" are done on the main junctions of the joints in the upper and lower back. The treatment lubricates and relaxes these important points and pulls toxins from the tissues & related areas.
Hrid (heart), Chakra (navel) & Janu (knees)
Kati (lumbar/sacrum), Greeva (upper back) & Prushta (low spine)
"If we do the external bastis, it brings the energies and strengthens the joints and vertebral column. Strengthening means strengthening the bones & discs and helps to regenerate them. Whenever you do seven days, you will feel the change of the position and a little movement and realignment. Heart and navel are important because those are the main junctions for the channels in the body. Navel is the ossification point [site of earliest bone formation] and main center point of the body. From there we got the nourishment and the whole body was grown in the womb. It has all the channels opening from there because of that. If you see it anatomically nothing is there, but it is ALL THERE—all the channels of energy & intelligence in the body. External treatments will not change the DNA; DNA has to be changed with internal things. But external treatments will support the internal processes ~ Smriti Rasayana and other preparations are the internal." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Parishek ~ Two technician, hot water water washing with herbal "medicine waters"
This swedena, heat treatment, utilizes warm herbalized water poured over the body back & forth to open the pores and induce sweating. The herbal fluid enters the skin through the pores and flushes toxins that have been loosened by the preceding days of abhyanga & potra potali. Parishek is continued for 7 or more days days until the vaidya is satisfied through the pulse that the toxins in the skin have been adequately removed.
"Parishek immediately increases the peripheral blood flow and also takes away the blockages, whatever are there. It is a type of steam or swedena (heat treatment) and immediately takes away the superficial doshas (imbalances) that have come up. Traditional swedena daily is not advisable. It’s too strong and can only be done for 10 - 15 minutes & must be done lying down, not sitting. Many people now are using the sitting chambers, which are not good & after swedena this way, you have to clean the machine very properly [to avoid bacteria growth]." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Special Dara ~ Localized herbal oil or water pouring
A more focused treatment to support & clear deeper blockages in specific stress areas (back, spine, neck, chest, stomach, etc.). 1-2 techs, depending on the size of the area.
"Abhyanga is much more than enough for many conditions, but for some conditions you might require pizichili. And even after that, especially in some areas where there is a deficiency or blockage, then you will require a special dhara because the need is more focused. It's like when you are cleaning your hand ~ if you put to the normal stream the thing might not clean, but if you put into the strong stream then it will go. Similarly, it requires a little more pressure [concentration of the treatment] to remove certain blockages." Vaidya Krishna Raju
Netra Tarpana ~ Eye Treatment:
This treatment involves soaking the eyes with special herbalized ghee to draw out the toxins, lubricate, nourish & strengthen the tissues. Repeated treatments can repair major problems for eye health and vision.
"Netra ghee, through the alochaka pitta, enlivens all the pittas, all the vatas, and because of this it melts the kapha (ama/blockages). This is from putting one drop of netra ghee in the eyes every morning and evening ~ use netramit drops for cleaning and purification." Vaidya J.R. Raju
Pizichili ~ Warm herbal oil streams all over the body with gentle massage (2 techs)
"Pizichilli is to take away the vitiated vata mainly [obstructions to movement and flow in the body], which is more than what abhyanga will do. But when we are doing long abhyanga here and daily for a long time, then pizichili is not much required (most clinics don’t do daily abyhyanga)." Dr. Krishna Raju
Navara ~ Whole body massage with herbal rice boluses & hot milk
Navara nourishes the tissues and softens the skin, as well as deeply relaxes the muscles and improves their tone. Navara also pacifies pitta imbalances ~ calms inflammation & excess of heat in the body . Two technicians.
"Navara is mainly for the nourishment of the tissues, especially because milk is the whole food and in the skin there is Brajaka Pitta [a sub-dosha of pitta which provides pigments and luster to the skin]. There is also one of the agnis in the skin, to digest the substances which are there (on the skin). Milk gives nourishment immediately because it is the whole food. And the oils will also be taken and sent into the blood stream. Milk will go [be absorbed] very fast. In the navara, it is made with the rice and some herbal decoctions. These things will make more and more effective nourishment. It is especially good for the people who are getting lean." Dr. Krishna Raju
Matra Basti, Milk Basti, and Shodhana Basti
Internal lubricating, nourishing, and eliminating therapies.
"Balanced kapha has all the qualities of ojas [strength and youthfulness]. The aim of panchakarma is to create balanced kapha. Imbalance of kapha brings ama [blockages] which is the opposite. But it is the memory of excess vata and dryness that has to be permanently removed to balance the kapha and reverse aging. This is why the matra bastis are so important, because they lubricate the tissues and re-enliven the unctuous quality of balanced kapha and ojas in the physiology. " Vaidya J.R. Raju
The Basti Marma [energy junction] has all the connecting channels in the body, from head to toe. It is the biggest marma channel in the body, which is why the bastis are the most powerful treatments in PK. In particular, there are nerves in the colon that connect directly to the brain so that within five minutes of receiving a basti, the brain is transmitting instructions to all the systems and cells in the body to relax, release impurities, etc.
The basti cycle begins towards the end of PK, after all the other treatments have softened and loosened the impurities, flushing them out via the bloodstream, etc. and preparing them to be expelled from the body for good. There are three different kinds of bastis that are prepared and given according to the needs of the body as seen in the pulse. The sequence, therefore, varies from person to person except that the cycle always begins and ends with matra, the lubricating basti. Both matra and milk bastis are designed to be absorbed by the body, to lubricate and fortify; Shodhana basti is an elimiinative basti, designed to expel the toxins. Even the bastis themselves are adjusted according to the person's needs (different ingredients for different dosha balance and situation).
"The perfect timing is essential in PK. This is very important for the bastis and nasya because they are making the corrections for all the different marmas (energy/intelligence junctions in the body). Most of the clinics in India don’t do the big bastis, because they know it’s too complicated. Must always do matra basti before big basti. If not, it is not ayurveda—must be very very careful doing panchakarma elsewhere. In Maharishi Ayurveda they are doing these things (matra before big basti)." Vaidya. J.R. Raju
Nasya ~ Nasal, sinus, brain & head treatment
Nasya purifies and enlivens all the sensory organs, brain, and glands. It is the only PK treatment that works directly on the central nervous system.
After the technician prep, nasya is always administered by the Vaidya in person to confirm through the pulse that all the physical channels are ready receive the nasya drops.