The Ayurvedic therapy of Virechana is one of the five sacred therapies of the Panchakarma, which can heal and purify the mind as well as the body from within. The word ‘Virechana’ refers to purging or any substance that might induce purgation in the body.
Virechana is a controlled process that assembles all the ama or toxins of the body, concentrates them in the small intestine and eliminates them. It helps the body to reach a state free from the aggravated Pitta dosha and its toxic disease-causing symptoms. Moreover, Virechana also leads to the formation of new Pitta in the body which aids in digestion and metabolism. The different herbs used in the therapy serve as laxatives and decongestants that cleanse the colon, stomach, sweat glands, liver and spleen. Like all Ayurvedic therapies and treatments, Virechana is performed only after the tolerance and disease of an individual is accurately determined. It is beneficial for the treatment of all disorders caused due to Pitta imbalance or aggravation, such as hyperacidity, acid peptic disease, colitis, migraine, chronic headaches, allergies and several skin diseases like leprosy, dermatitis, eczema, etc.
Types of Virechana
Virechana treatment can be broadly classified into two categories based on the dosha.
Snigdha Virechana: The word ‘Snigdha’ means oily. In this Virechana procedure, castor oil is used either all by itself or with the powder of the Haritaki fruit. Snigdha Virechana is usually administered when the individual has problems associated with Pitta dosha as well as Vata dosha.
Rooksha Virechana: When Pitta dosha is associated with Kapha dosha, Rooksha Virechana procedure is performed. Usually, 20-30 grams of Trivrit lehyam is used as a purgation medicine.
Other subtypes of Virechana include –
Purvakarmayukta Virechana: This includes the procedures that are performed before the main Virechana therapy – Snehana and Svedana. In Snehana, the individual is given ghee, oil or bone marrow soup for three to seven days as it helps to dissolve fat-soluble toxins in the body. On the other hand, Svedana is a technique that uses heat to induce sweating.
Rutu-Anusari Virechana: It works in an excellent way to treat the symptoms of Pitta dosha aggravation, such as runny nose, mouth ulcers, skin lesions, drowsiness, digestive issues, etc.
Sadhyo Virechana: The Sadhyo Virechana involves quick elimination of faecal materials from the intestine and is generally preferred for mild to moderate conditions.
Nitya Virechana: Nitya Virechana is carried out on a regular basis with some mild medicines to help keep the intestines clean. This is essential for many neurological and skin diseases.
Punha-Punha Virechana: Sometimes, it is not possible to eliminate the aggravated doshas completely in one time. So, Virechana needs to be done again and again at regular intervals to help maintain good health. This is called Punha-Punha Virechana.
Why is Virechana treatment used?
- Disorders arising from Pitta aggravation, such as acne, eczema, gastritis, stomach and intestinal ulcers, liver infections.
- Skin problems like furuncles, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, blisters, freckles, discoloured patch on the face, etc.
- Anaemia and non-healing wounds
- Chronic fevers that last for more than ten to fourteen days
- Vomiting and chronic poisoning
- Problems in the urogenital system
- Haemorrhoids or piles
- Abdominal tumours
- Enlargement of the spleen or splenomegaly
- Hepatomegaly and jaundice
- Erysipelas infection affecting the upper dermis and extending into the superficial cutaneous lymphatics
- Swelling and tenderness in the joints
Contraindications for Virechana
- Individuals with naturally hard bowel movement
- Diarrhoea and dehydration leading to weakness
- Poor digestive activity
- Bleeding due to rectum wounds, ulcers of the rectum
- Acute fever
- Excess snehana or svedana
- Foreign body in the stomach after Vamana
- Individuals who underwent decoction enema
- Emaciated individuals
Virechana in Ayurveda is a simple process. Before the actual procedure is performed, the person has to go through Vamana or vomiting treatment, followed by Samsarjana (a specific diet regimen) and Snehakarma or oleation therapy. Once that is done, around three days of oil massage and sweating treatment is given. Finally, Virechana is performed.
On the day Virechana is scheduled, the person is checked for any signs of weak digestion strength. In the case the symptoms indicate that the food taken earlier isn’t digested properly, the person is asked to fast for a few hours. Moreover, it is essential that they slept well in the night before the therapy.
The Virechana treatment procedure starts in the morning usually around 9-10 a.m. because that’s when the Kapha time has lapsed. Now, a Virechana drug is administered. The type of drug and its quantity is determined according to the nature of the individual’s Kostha or bowels, the physical constitution, vitiated doshas and any diseases that they might be having.
An individual with soft intestines or Mrudukoshta, milk will work to induce purgation, but for someone with hard bowels or Krurakoshta, potent purgative herbs like Trivrit have to be used. Besides, they should also be given ghee processed with different Kshara (alkalis) and Lavana (salts) to amplify their digestive capabilities before administering purification therapies.
In the case of individuals with Pitta disease, the herbs with astringent and sweet characteristics are used for purgation. For Kapha aggravation, pungent herbs are used, while for Vata, herbs that are hot, oily and salty are given for purgation. For people who are suffering from skin diseases or eruptions, trauma, poison, inflammation, jaundice, anaemia and diabetes, purgative therapy is given with mild Snehana or oleation. The purgatives to be used for them must be of fatty nature, such as castor oil. However, if they have undergone oleation therapy previously, dry and non-fatty purgatives are recommended.
The strength of the purgative herb used for Virechana varies from person to person. For example, a mild purgative drug is used when the individual is weak, not much imbalance of doshas, had undergone purification therapy previously and if the nature of their Kostha is not known. After a short while of administering the drug, purgation starts. As it occurs repeatedly, the individual is advised to keep taking lukewarm water to support the process and prevent dehydration.
After Virechana Treatment
After the proper completion of the Panchakarma Virechana treatment, the hands, feet and face of the person should be washed with warm water. They should then be asked to lie down and rest in a room which is not exposed to the wind.
There are a few things that individuals need to take care to avoid after the therapy for the whole day. They are mentioned as follows.
- Excessive eating
- Speaking with a loud voice
- Sitting at one place for a long time
- Travelling or taking long walks
- Emotions like grief or anger
- Going out in the sun or windy weather
- Waking up at night, not getting enough sleep, or sleeping during the day
- Food that may lead to indigestion
- Suppression of natural urges
Diet Regimen to Follow
After the Virechana treatment procedure, the digestive capability of the individual reduces. So, immediately after the treatment, a regular diet is not recommended. On the same day of the treatment, the individual is given Manda, which is lukewarm gruel prepared with well-cooked rice. Initially, this gruel is served for the first three meals. For the fourth meal, Vilepi is given, which is gruel prepared with well-cooked rice with small quantities of oil, ghee or salt or completely without them. Warm water should be taken after the meal, and this has to be continued for the fifth and sixth meals.
The seventh meal can consist of Odana or porridge, well cooked with the same types of rice along with thin green gram soup. A small quantity of oil, ghee or salt may be added. The same is given for the eight and ninth meal. After that, the person can start taking his normal diet.
Advantages Of Virechana
- Slows down the ageing process
- Enhances the immune system of the individual
- Increases sexual power
- Increases sexual power
- Calms the mind and relaxes the body
- Improves digestion, metabolic power and cleans the gastrointestinal tract entirely
- Increase blood flow in every cell of the body and enhances the beauty of the individual
- A completely safe procedure for the removal of excess doshas from the body without any complications or side effects
Virechana treatment at Govardhan Ecovillage
Virechana therapy is completely safe to perform that detoxifies your body without any complications. At Govardhan EcoVillage, we perform an assessment of your general health and constitution along with your living and lifestyle habits before starting out the therapy. Based on that, we create a detox program specifically designed for you.
So, if you are looking for therapy along with a rejuvenation retreat, Govardhan EcoVillage is the place for you. Our program not only revolves around offering specialised Ayurvedic treatment procedures to eliminate toxins from your body but also a place in the embrace of nature to completely restore and reboot yourself during the stay.