Arogya Jeewan

Arogya Jeewan

Shamana Therapy

Ayurvedic treatment comprises of two parts - Samshodhana and Samshamana. Shamana therapy is a palliative approach that normalizes the doshas rather than expelling them from the body (samshodhana). Palliation involves enkindling Agni and stimulating the digestion through fasting, which in turn neutralizes the toxins. The process by which disturbed dosha subsides to normal without creating imbalance of other doshas in body is known as shamana. This is usually achieved by use of digestives, appetisers, sustained hunger and thirst, exercise, sunbathing and sitting in the fresh air etc. [i],[ii]

Shamana therapy is usually recommended in the winter season (mid Jan to mid-March). People who are weak, have a poor digestion, sick, or have excess watery conditions ( congestion or obesity), have high toxic build up are usually put on palliative treatment.2,[iii]

Shamana can be external treatment (Bahya samshamana) like application of herbal pastes, showering/ sprinkling with medicinal liquids, tub bath in medicinal liquids, herbal oil massage, oil pooling over the head, oral rinsing, gargling, oil pulling etc. It can also be mild internal treatment (Aabhyantara samshamana) like medicines that digest toxins, fat scraping procedures, aphrodisiacs, anti-toxins to nullify poisons, immune modulation, bulk promoting treatments etc.

Shamana consists of upavasa/ vrata, trsna, dipana, pacana, Vyayama, Atapasevana and Maruta.[iv]

  1. Vrata or ksunnigraha (fasting): Vrata in Ayurveda means ‘holding onto your hunger’ or fasting. Ayurvedic principles state that fasting are depleing therapies that inspires a true need for food to be taken in balanced amount. Type of fasting varies according to the dosha. Vata people can do a fast on hot liquids, pitta can fast on a liquid diet like fruit juices and kapha people can do an actual fast (not having anything/ skipping a meal) which can be a great struggle.
  2. Trsna (observing thirst): Trsna means not drinking water. It is also a type of depleting therapy. This method is usually adopted in diseases where there is excess of Sleshma/ kapha like medoroga or diabetes as it reduces the stress on various water channels of the body.
  3. Dipana (enkindling): This is most often necessary when kapha and vata doshas are vitiated leading to low gastric fire, in turn affecting the appetite and The digestive fire or agni is activated with the help of hot water, warm food, having a small piece of fresh ginger with lime juice and salt before a meal or taking a short walk.
  4. Pachana (digestion): This method is also used when the digestive flame is low to fuel hunger. However, in this method, the herbs used to burn the toxins (ama) may be usually given post a meal at higher doses as compared to dipana where it is given before meals. Caution must be observed when pre-existing conditios like ulcers exist.
  5. Vyayama (exercise and yoga): As per Ayurvedic principles, exercise burns calories, fuels hunger, improves circulation, strengthens body tissues, regulates body temperature, stimulates metabolism and also keeps a check on body weight. Exercise also sharpens the mind, improves alertness and concentration. However, exercising capacity may vary based on your dosha. People with vata are recommended to do more relaxing and gentle exercises, kapha people can engage in vigorous physical activity and pitta people can practice moderate physical activity.
  6. Atapa seva (sunbathing): The sun is the source of heat and light and it is very helpful for fuelling the body, optimizing digestion, improving circulation, absorption of vitamin D, strengthening bones and treating skin disorders. Some conditions which are improved by sun-bathing are psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, water retention, depression etc. certain types of eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, depression and water retention to name a few. This method is often used when kapha and vata are vitiated.
  7. Maruta/ Marutaseva (wind-bathing): As the name suggests, it is mainly used in respiratory tract disorders like asthma, bronchitis, emphyhsema etc. It is also recommended to relieve grief, anxiety, stress or fear. This method is related to pranayama and asks us to focus on our breath. The method recommends deep slow breathing alternating between deep inhalation and long exhalation.


  2. Tiwari.M, Ayurveda- Secrets of Healing, 1995, Lotus Press, USA -
  3. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha. Vidhyotini Hindi Vyakhya- Sastry K & Chaturvedi G – Editors. Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011.
  4. Manoj Goyal et al, 2012, Ayurveda the Ancient Science of Healing: An Insight, Drug Discovery Research in Pharmacognosy, Prof. Omboon Vallisuta (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0213-7, InTech,