The father of Ayurvedic internal medicine Charaka describes the five Panchakarma procedures as Vamana (Therapeutic emesis), Nasya (Nasal medication), Virechana (Therapeutic purgation) and two types of Basti (Therapeutic enema). Another great Ayurvedic surgeon Sushruta combined the two types of basti into one category and added Raktamokshana (The therapeutic withdrawal of blood from the body) as one of the Panchakarma therapy.
Although Raktamokshana is the most limited of the five major procedures, it provides a rapid and sometimes dramatic reduction of symptoms in certain acute disorders, especially where time is a critical factor. When Pitta dosha is vitiated they get lodged in the blood. In acute conditions when you need quick relief, and there is no time for the various phases of Panchakarma like Purvakarma (Preparation for Panchakarma), etc. Raktamokshana can be helpful. Raktamokshana gives relief from acute symptoms very quickly. After that Panchakarma regimen and internal herbs can be advised.
Different types of Raktamokshana procedures are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts for treating various conditions. A properly trained Ayurvedic physician should do all the Panchakarma procedures especially Raktamokshana as it required close observation at every stage. Raktamokshana is performed individually for each person after analyzing his or her Prakriti (Body type) and medical condition.
Recently I happened to visit Dhanvantari Panchakarma Center in a small town Kopargoan near Shirdi where Raktamokshana was extensively practiced. What is exceptional about Raktamokshana among the Panchakarma is that it can be done even without n Ayurveda. Panchakarma has a systematic approach that includes pre-Panchakarmatechniques, a sequential approach of five methods and post Panchakarma procedures in the form of a complete package.was giving instant results in pain relief if it is due to Pitta aggravation. Raktamokshana was done in many disease conditions – psoriasis, pemphigus, eczema, leucoderma and other skin problems, various eye disorders, Pitta predominant PMS and menstrual problems, some types of headache, hypertension and even in aneurysm.
Migraine is a very common form of headache, seen in nearly 15 % of the population. Women are more likely to suffer from migraine, than men. In people with migraine, it is observed that there are usually some trigger factors that bring on the migraine attack. Migraine is a vascular disorder caused by vasoconstriction and vasodilatation of the blood vessels in the head, neck and scalp. Vasodilation (dilatation of blood vessels) may last from few minutes to several hours, increasing blood flow into the area. This increase in blood flow is what is responsible for the "throbbing" of the migraine headache. The pain of a migraine attack is believed to be due to greatly increased amplitude of pulsations in the cranial arteries. Tightening of sternocleidomastoid muscle puts pressure on the carotid sheath which contains the internal jugular vein causing the internal jugular vein to compress, thereby reducing the outflow of blood from the head potentially causing intra cranial pressure to increase with resistant pressure on.
In acute migraine attack, Raktamokshana from the Jugular vein is beneficial. The patient is made to lie down on a cot with the head slightly lowered and turned to one side. Then the jugular vein is tapped with the the three fingers (index, middle and ring finger) noticing the elevation and then syringe is inserted and vitiated blood is withdrawn intravenously which gives relief in pain within few seconds and the migraine attack does not even recur for years. Maximum 100 ml of vitiated blood can be removed at one time and not more. The patient is monitored for 30 minutes to 1 hour after Raktamokshana. Then internal herbs, diet and lifestyle changes are advised for a specific period of time. lt is also advisable to avoid known trigger factors like different food substances (e.g., alcoholic beverages, cheese, chocolate, nitrate-containing foods such as hotdogs, and a number of other substances), disrupted schedules, lack of sleep, irregularity in meals especially missed meals, strong smell, glare, flickering lights (such as fluorescent lights or CRTs) and physical and emotional stress.
Thus Raktamokshana is one of the five Panchakarma procedures, which is effective in curing the disease as well as preventing the recurrence.