What is Vamanam?
Vamanam is one of the therapies of Panchakarma which helps in the elimination of excess Kapha dosha in the upper part of the body. Now the word, Vamanam literally means to vomit and the English word vomit has its roots from the word Sanskrit word Vamana which means to induce vomiting or to throw up. Now Vamana helps to eliminate the excess mucus production in the upper part of the body.
Now if you see diseases such as asthma or migraine, Sinusitis, Bronchitis or allergic rhinitis or nasal congestion or in many cases headaches of unknown reason has a lot of it’s origin from the excess mucus formation in the upper part.
Now when a person does Vamana, what happens is the excess mucus or the water element which is not wholesome for the body is eliminated. And if you see a dog, when they don’t feel good, they go and eat the grass and vomit and after they vomit their energy level instantly goes up. Same way, if you drink something or eat something that is not good for you, you immediately – the body will try to eliminate it by inducing self vomiting and after you vomit you feel a bit relieved.
So vomiting is a natural process by which body has its way to eliminate the excess mucus production in the body. Same way in Ayurveda, through Panchakarma we make a self induced vomiting in a safe environment which is not dangerous for the body.
What are the conditions effectively treated with Vamanam?
If you have conditions which are affecting your upper respiratory tract health for example like asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or breathing difficulties or even conditions of head such as migraine, Sinusitis, headache ..even to some extent Cervical Spondylosis… or some people say they have stiff neck..in such conditions Vamana is fantastic and and also in mental conditions where you have chronic depression, in these cases, after doing your Vamana therapy we have seen a real significant improvement in their health.
When is Vamanam avoided?
Among all the five therapies of Panchakarma, in my experience Vamanam has had the maximum resistance among some of the patients because it is a bit awkward to vomit in front of other people. Some people say that they feel, “no, this is not something that I look forward.” Definitely, it’s not a comfortable therapy so if you are scared of Vamana, we cannot do it. Another thing is, if you have any history of heart problems or if you had a heart attack or if your heart rate is fluctuating, if you have extremely high blood pressure; in such conditions Vamanam cannot be done unless we regulate it and stabilize your heart rate and blood pressure, this cannot be done.
So it is mandatory that we do a ECG reading of your heart so that we understand if you qualify for the Vamana therapy or if you have any conditions of your Esophageal sphincter, if there’s any complications because of which Vamana cannot be done, then we also do not do in such conditions.
How is Vamanam performed?
According to Ayurveda, Vamanam is a therapy that must be done in early morning hours of the day because early morning which is before the sunrise is the time when the maximum Kapha is present in the body.
Like even if you see nature, you’ll see more clouds, mist and the cold energy in the nature before the sunrise so that is why doing Vamana in the early morning hours gives the best results than any other time of the day. So before the procedure is done, before the sunrise, the patient is made to undergo an oil massage and the steam bath is done, so this helps to loosen up the body to release the toxins from the upper part. And after that is done a patient is made to sit on the chair and various liquids depending on the condition of the patient, in most cases, we give cow’s milk but if the patient is vegan or if they do not like milk in an extreme way, we offer other alternatives. For example, sugarcane juice or even we have some special herbal decoction that helps to induce the Vamana. And then some Herbs that also induce vamana is given and once the vomiting starts it continues for a certain number of bouts. It usually lasts between 20 to 40 minutes and after the excess Kapha is eliminated, then the patient is made to rest and he is requested only to drink some rice water or rice soup so that it is easy to digest the patients as the digestive fire will be a bit low for few hours after the vomiting therapy but by the evening time the energy will be back and they feel much lightness in the body.
A common question about undergoing Vamanam?
Now one of the constant questions I get from a patient to whom I told it will be good if you do the Vamana. They keep saying, “I am a bit scared of doing Vamana because I feel awkward to do the therapy in front of a doctor or someone watching me.” Now, first thing you need to understand as a doctor cleaning one part is as important as cleaning any other part of the body because we consider a body as a sacred gift of nature for our soul. So there is no part which is good or bad or shameful. So we consider it as a very sacred ritual of cleansing the upper part of the body. That is one thing we have to understand. Now another thing is they feel if I vomit it can feel a bit awkward but in many cases I have observed patients say I felt awkward in the beginning but after I finished the therapy, there was a lightness in my body. I felt this is one of the best things I did. So looking at the benefits, going through this process is definitely worth it because the benefits are far higher than the little sacrifice that we undergo.