The five therapies of panchakarma that detoxify the body are divided into three stages. These are purva karma, pradhana karma and pashchatya karma. Purva karma prepares the body to undergo complete cleansing. The process involves external application as well as ingestion of oils. Pradhana karma involves five purification processes to eliminate toxins from the system and balance the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Pashchatya karma helps to maintain restored health by including diet and lifestyle changes.
The following sentences describe the process for each of the three stages of panchakarma. Purva karma includes paachana (digestion), snehana (internal and external use of oils) and swedana (steam therapy). Pradhana karma includes vamana (induced vomiting), virechana (induced purgation), nasya (nasal medicine), basti (enema using medicated oil) and rakta moksha (bloodletting to purify the blood). The final stage is pashchatya karma and is comprised of sansarjan karma (post-cleansing).