Vamana – Therapeutic Emesis
Vamana is one of the least understood of Ayurveda’s five elimination therapies (see Panchakarma). Most people associate emesis or vomiting with nausea and sickness and are repulsed by it. However, the emesis procedure used in Vamana is quite smooth and painless, with little or no nausea, retching or discomfort.
This procedure uses the upward movement of the doshas to remove toxins associated with Kapha, which are primarily deposited in the upper part of the body. The mouth offers the easiest and most direct way to discharge these Particular types of toxins. Then the body is properly prepared through Purvakarma (see Panchakarma) vamana goes on effortlessly.
Vamana is not for everyone. It is usually administrated for Kapha related disorders like lung problems, bronchial asthma, allergies, herpes zoster, chronic colds, rhinitis and some chronic skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis and leukoderma.
Procedure of Vamana:
After preparatory procedures of Oleation (Snehana) and Heating (Swedana) taken for several days (3-7) the Ayurvedic physician examines if patient’s tissues are fully lubricated. At this point Vamana can be planned early in the next morning, during the Kapha period.
The night before the patient takes Kapha stimulating food such as yogurt, milk, bananas, and urad dal (black lentil soup).The volume in the stomach gets increased expelling kapha associated toxins. Before bed, the patient is given herbs which further stimulate stomach secretion. It is advised to retire early to be ready for tomorrow’s procedure.
Vamana is administrated on an empty stomach in the early morning when the greatest amount of kaphic ama is available for elimination. The patient receives a light oil massage and warm shower or bath to increase body temperature and open micro fine channels.
The procedure begins by giving the patient about 1 ½ cups of a thin, sweet and pleasant tasting porridge made from wheat and milk. After that he is given ½ teaspoon of an emesis stimulating herb which is soaked in honey overnight and made into a paste. The patient is asked to drink as much licorice tea as possible to fill the stomach completely. Licorice provides an excellent medium for moving sticky, heavy, oily impurities out from the tissues so that the patient suddenly experiences his stomach emptying smoothly, in bouts without retching.
Within an hour the entire procedure is usually finished. Because of the wheat porridge and licorice tea the taste of the vomitus will be sweet and not unpleasant.
When the stomach is empty the vomiting stops and the patient should rest and avoid stress and any physical or sexual activity for the remainder of the day. The first food or liquid is taken after four or five hours and should be very easy to digest such as thin rice water.
During the entire procedure, the Ayurvedic physician remains with the patient to provide support and reassurance.
Vamana benefits all Kapha disorders. It leaves the patient feeling light and aware.
Vamana as part of Panchakarma is a special, powerful procedure requiring guidance from a properly trained medical staff. It is performed individually for each person with his or her constitution and medical condition in mind and requires close observation at every stage. I wouldn’t go to someone with a modest amount of Ayurvedic training for this procedure. Talk to the doctors and patients and look at reviews and recommendations.