Lubrication is a great way to dislodge the micro toxins from the tissues. Here plant-based oil or animal fat is used to lubricate the body. Most of the time herbalised oils (oils/ ghee processed with herbs) are used for added benefits and making the process of lubrication specific to the health condition/ imbalance. This is done in two ways- externally and internally.
External lubrication is an indispensable part of Pancha karma. This not only helps to process and dislodge the toxins from the tissues, but also helps to relax the body, boost circulation and relive pain, so that the whole body becomes relaxed and the detox can be carried out much more efficiently. Abhyanga (tag abhyanga here please) (Ayurveda hot oil massage) is the most common form of external lubrication. Here medicated oils are used for specific health benefits. Sometimes massage is upgraded into other specific oil therapies like Pizhichil(please tag Pizhichil here) (streaming of warm oil on the body) for specific results. According to the type of cleansing done, you may need one or more sessions of massage therapies.
Even though external lubrication is recommended as a preparation for Pancha karma, these massage therapies(please tag Ayurveda massage therapies here) are recommended for cleansing and reversing the imbalances when someone has mild level of imbalances, imbalance of Vata, when Musculoskeletal system is affected, in case of stress or when someone is unfit for Pancha karma. Usually, three to seven sessions are recommended for the desired results.
Internal lubrication is usually done by taking oil/ ghee orally. This process is quite similar to taking coconut oil or fish oil for different health benefits. Similar to that if taken properly you don’t have to feel worried about increasing fat or body weight by internal lubrication. Contrary to that, when administered properly they can help to reduce fat and blood cholesterol just like keto diet.
Internal lubrication can be further classified into two subtypes based on dose administered.
In achapana sneha, high doses of specific oil/ ghee are recommended (various kinds of oils or ghee) in an empty stomach. The dose of fat is gradually increased according to the digestive fire of the individual and is continued until the body is sufficiently lubricated (there are signs and symptoms that an experienced Ayurvedic physician can understand known as samyak snigdha lakshana). This type of internal lubrication is done prior to the cleanse. This process of lubrication helps to dislodge the various toxins (ama) spread throughout the body and clear the blocked body channels (srotorodha).
In vicharana sneha, the patient is administered sneha (various kinds of oil/ ghee) in small doses, usually mixed along with food. This is given to those who cannot tolerate high doses of lubrication, who have an aversion to fat, who are incompatible to fat and to those who do not have the agnibala (metabolic fire) to digest the fat.