Dr. G. Shrinivasa Acharya is a well known Ayurvedic practitioner who has been working as an assistant professor at the SDM College of Ayurveda, physician at the SDM Ayurveda Hospital in Udupi as well as successfully running his own practice for the last seventeen years. He graduated in Ayurveda BAMS from Mysore University, Karnataka. He completed his M at the Institute of post gradual training at Gujarat Ayurveda University in 1988 winning gold medal. He specializes in the field of Kaya Chikitsa, Panchakarma, rasayana and Vajikarana and his passion and the field of research is the system of therapeutic detoxification treatments - the Pancha- karma.
Dr. Acharya is a co-author of the internationally published “Integrative Medicine” and “The Panchakarma Illustrated” is going to be his first individually published book. He is actively involved in research and has to his credit research articles in scientific magazines. He is a great speaker who gives lectures nation-wide. The Panchakarma Illustrated is a practical and easy to use manual that is meant to reach the broad public as well as Ayurvedic specialists.
Dr. Acharya resides in the town of Udupi, Karnataka with his wife and three children. He hopes that Ayurveda, the living tradition of a health science of India is going to keep gaining popularity and appreciation in both India and the rest of the world.
The relevance and recognition of Ayurveda and the therapeutic procedures elaborated in this science display an overwhelming demand in the global level. Among the different therapies, the panchakarma, which is also popularly known as detoxification procedure, has attracted more attention than any other specialty branch of Ayurveda.
The ins and outs of every therapeutic procedure is elaborated in this novice book with due consideration of the general introduction, benefits, indica- tions, contraindications, requirement, procedure, after procedure and precau- tions. Thus this book proves to be useful both for the beginners and the profession- als as well.
Step-by-step illustration of therapies with more than 600 crystal clear relevant digital photographs has made this book as good as a live demonstration. Inimitable feature of the book include illustration of more than 60 upakrama and thus comprising all therapeutic proce- dures in the domain making this a complete work. The meticulous elabora- tion of the subjects in the book includes the ancient methods of treatment procedures added with recent technical advancement made in this important field. Use of newer technologies keeps the physician abreast of all the advance- ment in panchakarma. Herbal formula- tions of proven efficacy are included in the list of prescription. Additional to this, concise review of research works in the field of panchakarma makes this book a handy reference in panchakarma practice. With the due consideration of the interested students of Ayurveda, researchers, scholars and practitioners; keeping in mind the current trends in the practice of Ayurveda this book is shaped as a reader would expect.
In simple words this book is at hand to make the grade in pachakarma practice and an ideal reference at smart pace.
"Panchakarma Illustrated" authored by Dr G. Shrinivasa Acharya is a new addition to the contemporary Ayurvedic literature. This new book has attempted to present this important subject with necessary inputs of practical wisdom and skill. Most of the treatment procedures have been illustrated with sketches, photographs and diagrams making the subject easy to follow. The book describes in good details the Purva Karma measures such as Snehana, Swedana and Abhyanga besides special treatment procedures developed utilizing the essential components of oleation, massage and sudation. The major part of the book is devoted to such therapeutic aspects which is followed by the Classical Panchakarma measures such as Vamana, Virechana, Vasti, Shirovirechana and Rakta-mokshana. The write-up is lucid and the emphasis is on practical utility. Incorporation of plenty of diagrammatic and photographic illustrations is the highlight of this book. The book under review "Panchakarma Illustrated" is a good handbook on Panchakarma therapy and its contemporary usage.
Ayurved is one of the most ancient systems of health care and medicine, its antiquity going back to the Vedas. In spite of many unfavourable circumstances Ayurved continued to flourish all through the ages and has remained in unbroken professional practice of thousands of years. The compilation of Laghutrayi texts after the classic Brihattrayi with a range of additional new information is the testimony of progressive outlook of Ayurved. It is interesting to observe that during last few decades there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest in Ayurved as a positive health science allover the world. It is believed that the ancient science of Ayurved is based on such fundamental principles and approaches which transcend time and space and hence Ayurved inspire of being very old, is equally contemporary and futuristic. Ayurved is now passing through a phase of Revival and Renaissance.
Ayurved is based on the theory of Samanya and Vishesha i.e. Homology Vs Heterology operating on the comprehensively holistic four-dimensional life entity, the Ayu, comprising of Body, the Mind and the Soul as a continuum. The physical body is Panchabhautika i.e. made-up of the five fundamental qualities of Matter. These qualities of matter maintain an equilibrium with the Ecosystem and the Universe through the inbuilt Samanya and Vishesha mechanism. This universal state of equilibrium i.e. Samya is the principal feature of Swasthya i.e. Health and the reverse i.e. Vaishamya is the basis of Vyadhi or Disease. Ayurved advocates a range of promotive, preventive and curative measures in terms of judicial life-styles, diet and medications to restore the eco-bio-balance. It is in this context that Ayurved describes the schedule of Sadvritta, Swasthavritta, Ahara- Vihara and the unique therapeutics i.e. Aushadhi based on the doctrine of Samshodhana and Samshamana. Panchakarma therapy, which is subject matter of the present book, is the technology of Samshodhana therapy of Ayurved. Samshodhana essentially refers to bio-purification of the body aiming to cleanse the macro and micro channels of the biological system which is essential to permit free flow of nutrients, energies and medicaments used during therapy besides permitting the free passage of excretables from the body.
The human body is made-up of several organs, tissues and systems which perform different functions essential for maintaining the life process. The basic structural unit of life is a single Cell which consists of its boundaries i.e. the cell-membrane covering a range of dynamic sub-cellular structures. The cell- membrane performs the most dynamic function of the molecular transport system. Similarly all the visceral organs are lined by a dynamic membrane system which is responsible for the transport system in the concerning organ and tissue. The entire membrane system is so designed that it functions in a rhythmic continuum. Very similar to this contemporary concept of micro transport system of the biological assembly Ayurved propounds a comprehensive concept of Srotas system. According to Ayurved the human body is made-up of innumerable channels i.e. Srotamsi - 'Srotomayam hi sbariram'. A Srotas is a macro or micro structure which may have a space inside, may have openings, has contents in the inner space and which has inherent tendency to vibrate and move. This definition of Srotas encompasses the major channels of the body like gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, respiratory tract ete. besides the medium size channels of the body like the micro tubular structures such as Nephrons, Seminiferous tubulus etc. The minutest unit of Srotas system is a single Cell which too has space inside, has openings in the form of pores of the cell- membrane, has contents inside and it vibrates. Thus starting from the single Cell upto large system channels of the body are all a continuum of membrane system and in all probability the membrane system as described in contemporary system of biology is comparable to the concept of Srotas in Ayurved.
By continued use, wear and tear, environmental pollution and many other such insults there is a natural tendency of damage, disruption and blockade of the Srotamsi. The membrane system gets thickened and obliterated in due course of time because of factors mentioned above. This situation interrupts the Srotas function and biological transport system leading in turn not only to loss of function but also to further structural distortion. This is the state of Srotodushti. If such a situation is allowed to continue it gives way to different kinds of diseases depending upon the nature and the extent of Srotas - distortion and its site.
The Panchakarma therapy is essentially designed to restore the integrity of Srotas system in the body in health and disease. Although the Srotas morbidities are all mixed impurities, there are always possibilities that the morbidities could be categorized with dominance of one of the three Doshas namely Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Accordingly the Panchakarma measures are 3 designed in such a way that they have some degree of specific action. The Vamana karma is specific to elimination of Kapha, the Virechana karma is specific to elimination of Pitta and Vasti karma is specific for purification of Vata. Hence there is a need of developing markers and parameters to monitor the rate of Tridosha specific bio- purification during Panchakarma therapy in patients, so that the specific efficacy of these bio-purificatory procedures may be ascertained on scientific lines.
The purificatory effect of Panchakarma therapy measures and allied therapies generally take place at two levels - (1) Transmembrane visceral purification of the body through Pradhana karmas like Vamana, Virechana and Vasti; (2) Transdermal purification of the body through Bahya parimarjana procedures of Snehana, Swedana, Abhyanga and such other therapies. It is understood that most of the procedures of Keraliya Panchakarma produce their effect through transdermal purification of the body besides their additional physiotherapeutic benefits. The purificatory effect of classical Pradhana karmas is through trans- membrane elimination.
Thus the Panchakarma therapy and the allied therapeutic practices are essentially biopurificatory procedures aiming to cleanse the channels of the body optimizing the natural body functions. However many of these procedures have interim physiotherapeutic benefits and these practices are prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners as routine prescriptions of treatment for patients of different chronic diseases especially the conditions of neuro- muscular deficits and osteoarticular ailments. The later part of the efficacy of Panchakarma therapy is more popular in present times and it is this dimension which has made this important branch of Ayurved to survive down the ages. The traditional practices of Panchakarma as prevalent in Kerala ordinarily fall in this category.
I consider it a useful handbook on the subject and congratulate the author and the publishers for this good contribution to the Ayurvedic literature. It is hoped that the book will be useful for student, teachers and practitioners of Ayurved in their day-to-day practice.
The relevance and recognition of Ayurveda and the therapeutic procedures elaborated in this science display an overwhelming demand in the global level. Among the deferent therapies, the Panchakarma which is also popularly known as Detoxification Procedure has attracted more attention than any other specialty branch of Ayurveda. Successful establishment of newer and newer Ayurvedic colleges as well as the Panchakarma centers in different sector of globe is the mirror of prospects of Ayurveda in the present time. No doubt, several procedures of Panchakarma are practis4ed at the institutional level since long; the same is also on the rise in the private sector as public awareness as well as popularity of the treatment is mounting in this day and age. Subsequent to the documentation on the proved facts of Ayurvedic treatment by way of randomized clinical trials in different post graduate institutions as well as government run research units; no longer Ayurvedic treatment is spotted as a placebo treatment, rather its effectiveness is greatly rewarded. Influenced by the present popularity of the Ayurveda more and more Ayurvedic physicians are inclined to run a Panchakarma clinic. Further more the Indian system of medicine, in the ministry of Health, Government of India is planning to establish Panchakarma unit in every Ayurvedic hospitals. Needless to say, this leaps and bounds of Ayurveda among the health care methods is ascribed to Panchakarma therapies.
On the other hand, the entry of exogenous deleterious elements in to the body both in the form of food or the pollution of the environment which is no idle jet; has increased the incidence of illness and is truly attributed to the accumulation of toxins in the body. Over and above, the elevation of economic status of the population at large and the better literacy has improved the awareness of the healthy living. In this changed scenario, it is an open secret that the illness may be nipped in the bud by adapting the Panchakarma procedures. To be more precise the detoxification procedures of Panchakarma therapies roused to the challenge in negating the detrimental effect of the changed environment that too without taxing the body organs. The emphasis of Panchakarma therapy is not only as a detoxification procedure; rather it forms the fundamental basis of principles of treatment in Ayurveda. In a nut shell, the Panchakarma is the comprehensive procedure of internal body purification by methods like emesis, purgation, enemata, snuffing as well as blood letting. The other therapeutic procedures or in isolation are termed as upakrama in commune. Thus the upakrama in general and the Panchakarma in particular planned in a sequential order of purification and palliation forms the radical and rational approach in eradicating the root and branch of any malady of any severity. Further more, these upakramas are effectively employed for promotion of health, prevention of ill health in hale and healthy as well as eradication of the disease in the diseased.
The Panchakarma and the allied upakrama is the subject matter of this book. I am very much happy to present this book written in a new angle on to the prospective reader. The ins and outs of every therapeutic procedure with step by step clear image are the inimitable feature of the book and are as good as persona viewing of the procedure buy the reader. The meticulous elaboration of the subjects in the book includes the ancient methods of treatment procedures added with recent technical advancement made in this important field. Use of newer technologies keeps the physician abreast of all the advancement in Panchakarma. Thus the whole content is keyed to the need of the Panchakarma practitioner. Ways and means of all the procedures with each and every step in succession together with crystal clear illustration made this book more understanding. With the due consideration of the interested students of Ayurveda, research scholars and practitioners; keeping in mind the current trends in the practice of Ayurveda this book is shaped as a reader would expect. In simple words this book is at hand to make the grade in Panchakarma practice and an ideal reference at smart pace. I hope the contents, language and subject matter of the book leads the field.
I am highly indebted to professor R.H. Singh for writing the treasured foreword to this book.
I express my sincere gratitude to the whole team of Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, Delhi for their propound interest and professional approach in editing and publishing this unique book on Panchakarma.
I am greatly thankful to my colleagues Drs Veera Kumar and all my beloved students who extended substantial help in this work.
Dr. G. Shinivasa Acharya
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