Basti – The jewel of Ayurveda
This is an article to help people understand the importance of Basti treatment in Ayurveda. Basti in Ayurveda is said to be among the main therapies, we can also call it the king of all Ayurveda treatments. Often in our clinical practice we are amazed seeing the results of Basti.
Basti is one of the most powerful of all the main five procedures of Panchakarma. Charaka, as well as many other Ayurvedic scholars have unanimously praised the features of Basti. Basti is said to be equal to half of all the Ayurvedic treatments.
Basti is the introduction of herbal decoctions and medicated oils into the colon through the rectum. While it directly affects the colon, it is not a localized or symptomatic treatment. It is a highly specialized procedure aimed to achieve a therapeutic goal and must be carried out in hospital settings by an expert.
Various stages in the preparation of Basti are shown in the accompanying photos.
Colon cleansing or colon Hydrotherapy are in trend nowadays. But it must be understood that Basti cannot be compared with these at any level.
MODE OF ACTION OF BASTI
Tridosha Siddhant (doctrine of 3 vital forces) is vital to maintain health and to cure disease. These 3 Vital forces are namely Vata, Pita and Kapha .
Ayurveda considers Vata as the most important dosha, but when this dosha gets imbalanced in the body it can cause major problems. This Vata interferes with functioning of the body, causing many imbalances. Basti uses Vata dosha’s natural movement to remove related toxins and waste materials from the system. Basti cleanses the vata area, whose focal point is the large intestine. Basti treatments balance and nurture Vata dosha. When Vata functions normally, it helps bring toxins and waste matter out of the dhatus( body cells) and eliminates them.
Basti is having 2 actions , expelling the vitiated doshas ( morbid substances/toxins) and nourishing the body.
Its 1st major action is related with the facilitation of excretion of morbid substances responsible for the disease process into the colon from where they are evacuated.
2nd action relates to the potency of Basti drugs getting absorbed to have its systemic action. The gut has a mind of its own called the enteric nervous system. It lies entirely in the wall of the gut , beginning in the esophagus and extending all the way to the anus.It is reported to play a major role in human happiness and misery.
Many git disorders like colitis , i.b.s. originate from problems within the gut’s brain. Major massenger molecules which go into the regulation of our moods and emotions like vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), insulin, cholecystokinin (cck), serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine , nitric oxide ,enkephalins etc are are found in the intestines as well as the brain, suggesting why our “gut feelings” have such real meaning. Basti has a direct action on this system.
THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF BASTI THERAPY :
Vata dosha is the igniting factor for any disease process.
Basti therapy is the most effective treatment for disorders arising from abdominal Vata as well as systemic Vata. There are a wide variety of therapeutic benefits of Basti mentioned in the texts.
In our clinical practice we have used Basti to treat the following conditions effectively – Chronic constipation, Low back pain, Sciatica, Rheumatism, Gout, Arthritis, Hemiplegia, Sarcoidosis, PCOD,Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis , Dystrophy and Atrophy of nerves and muscles, Collagen Vascular Disease and Autonomic disorders. It benefits Epilepsy, Mental retardation, and Sensory dysfunction.
Usually, in our practice we have observed Vata can also cause imbalance of chakras resulting in various problems. Basti helps to bring the chakras back to normal thus balancing the energy levels. It removes unwanted materials from the cells and improves metabolism at the cellular level. So one can achieve health at all 3 levels (physical, mental and spiritual) by Basti alone.