Purvakarma (preparatory measures)

Before the administration of panchakarma therapy, the patient is prepared suitably with the administration of fat (oils and clarified butter) i.e. snehana or oleation therapy and sweating measures i.e. Swedana or sudation therapy as preparatory measures. Panchakarma therapy should not be undertaken without purva karma otherwise it fails to eliminate the dosha situated in the tissues. The administration of fat therapy renders the body soft and disintegrates the accumulated dosha and sweating therapy melts the dosha stagnated in the subtle channels of circulation. At this stage administration of panchakarma measures eliminates the dosha out of the body easily and effectively through respective pathways.

i Snehana-Administration of preparations containing fat to a patient for a limited period to get the desired clinical effect is called Snehana (Oleation). Fat influences abnormal vata, renders the body soft and clears the accumulated wastes which have obstructed the body channels. Further the regular use of fats has been considered beneficial for the proper digestion, cleansing of the bowel, the promotion of body strength and integrity of senses and the prevention of aging in the aged besides several other beneficial effects of oleation. Fat preparations can be administered through different kinds of foods, as enema, massage etc. according to the feasibility. The fats may be used singly or may be mixed with other drugs. Fat may be administered before, during or after food according to the disease.

ii Swedana-Making a person to sweat, with or without heat, is called Swedana (Sudation). Generally the sudation therapy should be undertaken after the oleation therapy. It is considered that the sweating therapy melts the waste products of metabolism, stagnated in the subtle channels of circulation which have been disintegrated by the fat therapy51. Two types of measures are employed for sweating, (1) using external heat (Sagni sweda) and (2) Without direct application of heat (Niragni sweda) by using practices like indulgence in strenuous physical labour, staying in a closed room, covering oneself with thick clothes, hunger, administration of different kinds of alcoholic beverages, by covering the body with leather, wrestling and walking in the sun and other measures which may generate heat and sweating52. Care should be taken while performing swedana of certain parts of the body such as groin, eyes, testes and precardial region