Rakta Moksha

Definition - What does Rakta Moksha mean?

Rakta moksha is a treatment used in the traditional Indian medical system of Ayurveda that is commonly known as bloodletting. It is one of the five toxin-eliminating treatments that collectively are called panchakarma. In addition to rakta moksha, these therapies are vamana (vomiting), virechana (purgation), nasya (nasal irrigation) and basti (enema or colonic). It is believed that the panchakarma treatments' removal of toxins balances the doshas, or energies that control all of the body's biological functions.

Rakta moksha can be administered by various means, depending on the ailment. It is used to treat skin disease, herpes, jaundice, abscesses, ulcers and gout, among other ailments.

Yogapedia explains Rakta Moksha

There are two categories of rakta moksha therapy: shastra visravana, in which metal instruments are used to do the procedures; and anushastra visravana, which includes all other rakta moksha therapies that do not use metal instruments.

There are two types of shastra visravana:

  • Pracchana – scraping the skin to create several incisions
  • Sira vedhana – removal of blood by puncturing the skin, also called venepuncture

There are four types of anushastra visravana:

  • Jalouka vacharana – application of leeches to extract blood
  • Alabu – a calabash gourd with a candle to create a vacuum over an area of pricked skin, thereby extracting blood
  • Shrunga vacharana – use of a cow's horn to suck the blood from the scratched skin
  • Ghati yantra – similar to alabu, but a pot is used instead of a gourd
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