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Understanding Panchakarma: Maharishi Ayur-Veda expert Dr Walter Molk
by Global Good News staff writer
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7 March 2014
Everything the mind and body takes in has to be properly metabolized, so that ultimately it can become the finest product of digestion, called ojas in Ayurveda, explained Dr. med. Walter Mölk, a medical doctor from Austria, during a recent in-depth presentation on Maharishi Ayur-Veda* health care at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in the Netherlands.
Ojas is the very refined substance that connects the physiology with consciousness, located at the junction point between consciousness and matter, Dr Mölk said. With its connecting and nourishing value, ojas holds everything together in a state of balance.
The knowledge of ojas came out in context of Dr Mölk's detailed discussion of the Ayurvedic purification and rejuvenation treatment known as Panchakarma. The systematic removal of toxins during Panchakarma treatments, he explained, allows the body to restore communication between its internal channels, and improves the self-referral functioning of our DNA. He noted one of the principles brought out by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his revitalization of the complete knowledge of Ayurveda, that the goal of Panchakarma is to allow the frictionless flow of the body's inner intelligence.
Although Panchakarma is designed to eliminate physiological impurities, called ama in Ayurveda, it is considered ideal to start treatments when a majority of the impurities in the physiology have been dissolved.
Panchakarma procedures are divided into three areas: pre, main, and post treatments. The sequence is set and systematic, and changes to it can hinder the good results. To clarify this Dr Mölk mentioned an analogy from the classical texts of Ayurveda—that the result of treatments not done in the proper sequence is comparable to trying to squeeze juice out of an unripe fruit.
In the pre-treatment phase of Panchakarma the digestive fire (agni) is stimulated by herbal preparations in order to break down or 'cook' impurities. Clarified butter (ghee) is then taken to help dissolve and move the impurities that have been cooked by the digestive preparations.
Internal and external oleation therapy in preparation for Panchakarma is extremely important. Dr Mölk quoted a second analogy from the ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka, which says it is very difficult to bend dry wood, but when the wood is oiled or moistened to soften it, bending it is easier. Oleation softens the ama so that it can be more readily moved out of the system.
Main treatments include specialized purification and heat (swedana) treatments. All are used to open the body's channels to support waste products (ama) moving out of the body.
Post treatments stimulate the digestive fire gradually and sequentially, through a specific diet and daily routine. Finally herbal remedies are administered.
Specific dietary and behavioural guidelines one is recommended to follow during Panchakarma facilitate the cooking and moving of the impurities. For example, exercise needs to be moderate so that it doesn't inhibit the process.
Vata, the governing principle of movement (one of three main governing principles in Ayurveda), regulates the nervous system and the mind, and must be managed during and following treatment. The mind needs to be balanced to keep Vata in balance, which means keeping a regular routine, and taking it easy, Dr Mölk said. Otherwise the Vata 'holds on to the ama' and does not allow it to be released from the system. Also, it is important not to be exposed to extremes, for example of heat or cold.
The overall process of Panchakarma is not complete when the treatments end. Dr Mölk emphasized the importance of the post-treatment phase, which lasts about the same length of time as the treatments. After Panchakarma, when the impurities have been removed, the body can be somewhat delicate. Gradually the digestive fire gets rekindled, and becomes strong again. The use of special herbal preparations (Rasayana) at this time will gradually help to bring the body into a state of balance.
Panchakarma treatments are offered at Maharishi Ayur-Veda health centres in many countries (several facilities are listed under the 'Health' heading on the Global Good News 'Worldwide Links' page).
See related articles:
∙ Maharishi's Vedic Approach to Health: Applying the timeless knowledge of health to all levels of life
∙ Health professionals trained in Maharishi Ayur-Veda, international foundation established
∙ Maharishi Ayur-Veda: The disease process can be reversed at any stage of development
* Ayurveda is the world's oldest, most comprehensive system of natural medicine, which originated in the Vedic civilization of ancient India and is now officially recognized by the World Health Organization. Maharishi Ayur-Veda and Maharishi's Vedic Approach to Health represent the modern restoration by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the complete and authentic practice of Ayurveda as recorded in the Vedic texts.
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