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Ayurveda > Panch-karma - Basti

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

In the articles so far, we have been introduced to pre-procedures like snehan (olation therapy) and swedan (fomentation therapy). We have further discussed vaman (induced vomiting) and virechan (purgation therapy). This article will elaborate the procedure of basti i.e. ayurvedic enema.

Basti means introducing liquids like medicated oils, herbal concoctions and milk per perineum (through the anus, urinary meatus or vaginal orifice (in women) in order to clean or supplement the lower part of the body (below umbilical part). The ama (toxins) accumulated in the lower part of the body or the ama pushed to the lower digestive tract, urinary tract or reproductive tract by pre-procedures like snehan or swedan can be cleared by basti.

Basti is effective for vaat prakop (aggravation of vaat (one of the three basic body constituents)). Basti shows good results in all kinds of vaat disorders like musculo-skeletal disorders, rheumatic joint pains and chronic headaches related to nervous disorders and digestive disorders. Basti is effective in most of the digestive disorders like dry colon and dry rectum condition and tendency towards constipation resulting from this. It also provides relief in conditions like distention of abdomen, flatulence, spastic colon, dryness of digestive tract observed in chronic fever, etc. In general body debility, senile debility, impaired immunity, muscular dystrophy and bed ridden conditions like paralysis, basti can be used to give some energy supplementation to body, the mucous membrane of rectal canal being a semi permeable membrane. Basti is also used for cleaning and nourishing the urinary tract and the reproductive tract in men and women.

Types of basti:
There are 8 main types of basti. Anuvasana basti (medicated oil enema), niruha-asthapana basti (herbal decoction enema), uttar basti (cleaning the urinary bladder by passing a catheter, cleaning the birth passage in women by giving a vaginal douche), matra basti (limited oil enema taken daily for 3 or 7 days), yoga basti (scheduled enema for 1 week), kala basti (scheduled enema for 15 days), karma basti (scheduled enema for 1 month) and lastly bruhan basti (nutritional enema).

It is under observation of the ayurvedic therapist that conditions like persistent hiccup, rectal pathologies like fissures, fistulas, piles, anal and rectal spasm, constipation in pregnancy, abdominal flatulence etc. respond well to decoction enema.

Metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, conditions like lymphatic obstructions, ascitis, urinary problems and birth canal problems (especially in women) respond better to nutritional enema and conditions like digestive disorders, mandagni (impaired body fire) etc. respond well to oil enema.

Basti is contraindicated in all types of diarrheas, dysenteries, per rectal bleeding, diabetes, severe anaemia, hypoproteinaemia, breathlessness associated with any problem and raj-yakshma ( pulmonary tuberculosis). It is also contraindicated in infantile problems and senile debility.
In short, basti is a treatment of choice in vaat predominated conditions and shows the desired effects when carried out scientifically. <.p>

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Ayurvedic Milestones
Ayurvedic Thought
 Vaat, Pitta, Kafa, Dosh
 Dhatu, Mala, Fire
Pathology - Ama
 Ashtang Ayurved
 Agad Tantra
 Kaumar Bhrutya Tantra
 Shalya Tantra
 Shalakya tantra

Actual Case Notes
 Asthmatic Bronchitis
 Bleeding per anum
 Hair Loss
 Pregnancy Care
 Senile Debility
 Solution To Baldness
 Vaat Related Fever

Academic References
Ayurvedic Herbs


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