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Ayurveda > Shaman

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

So far, we have discussed pre-procedures like snehan (olation therapy) and swedan (fomentation therapy). We also have discussed the panch-karma (five main procedures) i.e. vaman (emesis therapy), virechan (purgation therapy), basti (enema therapy), nasya (administration of medicines through nose) and rakta-moksha (blood letting). All these are slightly harsh treatments and executed when radical removal of aggrieved dosha (basic body constituent) is a must. These treatments require preparation of the body in order to achieve better results.

However, it is often seen that the body is not fit for harsh treatment like shodhan (thorough cleansing) i.e. the panch-karma mentioned above. Sometimes adequate time is not available and this is a problem because it is one of the most important aspects of the shodhan treatment. This is where shaman (soothing treatment/cooling treatment) comes into play. Shaman is a milder way of treating the aggrieved dosha and a good step towards achieving a state of health.

The difference between shodhan and shaman is that shodhan drives aggrieved dosha out of the body whereas shaman tries to achieve a state of balance within the body itself, either by adding to or by subtracting from the aggrieved dosha.

The drawback of shaman is that with a few variations in the situation, the dosha can go back to a state of ill health. Thus shaman needs follow up whereas shodhan does not require this. Shodhan definitely gives better and more long-term results than shaman.

Seven types of shaman:

  1. Deepan (creating appetite): consuming food or mild medicines which help in empowering agni (body fire). This includes consuming ghee, oil and spices. It also includes consumption of hot drinks and warm food. Monitored deepan reduces increased dosha or adds to decreased dosha and achieves balance.
  2. Pachan (digesting): This helps in digesting ama (toxins). This is a preferred treatment in digestive disorders. Substances like dry ginger and sweet kernel help digestion when eaten after lunch or dinner.
  3. Kshudha-nigrah (hunger control/fasting): When dosha balance is disturbed but radical removal is not possible this is the choice of treatment. Total/ partial/ selective fasting until recovery helps in settling the disturbance on its own. If vaat dosha is aggrieved avoiding food/lifestyle which aggrieves vaat can be a good solution. Similarly avoiding things for pitta/kafa in case of pitta/kafa aggravation can be an appropriate treatment. This treatment provides rest to the digestive tract focuses agni (body fire) on restoring the vaat-pitta-kafa balance.
  4. Trushna-nigrah (thrust control): This treatment helps when water retention is a problem. In case of anasarca (generalized oedema) or ascitis, if water intake is monitored, the urinary tract gets an opportunity to clear the accumulated fluid in the body.
  5. Vyayam (exercises): This is the prescribed treatment in conditions like obesity, diabetes, etc. It helps in reestablishing balance without medicines or with the lowest possible dose.
  6. Atap-seva (sun bath): This is a preferred treatment in vaat disorders. It is a treatment recommended for many skin disorders where solar energy works as a medicine. This treatment also works well in cases of arthalgic pains and rheumatic conditions.
  7. Marut-seva (consumption of fresh air): This is the prescribed treatment in case of tuberculosis, asthma, etc. It helps in the functioning of and in pumping energy to the respiratory tract.
To summarize, shaman is recommended when shodhan is not possible. Shaman is a milder form of treatment that believes in soothing/cooling rather than in radical removal. It relieves restlessness and gives a soothing effect to the body. Shaman is a preferred treatment in conditions like tuberculosis, cancer, severe anemia and typhoid, i.e. immuno-compromized conditions of the body.

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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

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