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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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and tissues of the body. The colon is the main organ of' absorption of nutrients after digestion and the main receptacle for waste elimination. It is also the main seat of vata dosha.
Basti treatments balance and nurture vata dosha. When vata functions normally it helps bring toxins and waste matter out of the dhatus and eliminates them. When vata functions abnormally, it creates diseases because it carries ama from the site of origin in the stomach and the intestines (GI tract) to the deeper tissues where it manifests as a disease.
The word basti is frequently translated into the English language as enema. Basti however differs completely from enemas or colonics in its intent, administration and effect. Enemas treat localized symptoms of constipation by promoting evacuation. They clean feces that have collected in the rectum and sigmoid colon. Colonics clear accumulated fecal matter from the entire colon through repeated flushing with water.
However when basti is administered in conjunction with panchakarma's pre-procedure, it cleans far more than just the colon. It helps purify toxins from all over the body. Vata, with its excitable nature and drying tendency must be nourished and pacified. Basti introduces medicated, oily substances into the colon to be retained and absorbed by the belly. It treats the entire length of the colon from the ileocecal valve to the anus and eliminates not only fecal matter but also ama and toxins from all the dhatus. In addition it restores healthy function to the colon and through the colon nurtures and rebuilds the tissues and organs.

Types of Basti
Basti are of three types:
  • Eliminative basti 
  • Palliative basti
  • Nourishing basti
  • Eliminates ama.
  • Pacifies vata disorder.
  • Rebuild dhatus and strengthens them.

Basti fulfils many needs. Basti used in panchakarma varies according to the intended purpose.

Basti classified by frequency and duration

  • Karma Basti 
It comprises a month long treatment and is given to vata dominant constitutions and to treat vata related disorders. 
  • Kala Basti. 
This lasts for 15 days and is used mainly for patients with pitta dominant constitutions and vata disorders. 
  • Yoga basti
It is given for 8 days, suits kapha patients with vata diseases.

Therapeutic Benefits
Basti therapy is the most effective treatment for disorders arising from abnormal vata. This includes chronic constipation, low back pain, sciatica, rheumatism, gout, arthritis and various neuromuscular disorders like paraplegia, hemiplegia, poliomyelitis, alzeimer's disease, parkinson's disease and dystrophy and atrophy of the nerves and muscles. It benefits epilepsy, mental retardation and sensory malfunction. Vata governs and has its secondary seat in the bones. Therefore, basti helps in the disorders of the bone tissue such as osteoporosis.

It is the process of therapeutically withdrawing blood from certain parts of the body to provide a rapid and sometimes dramatic reduction of symptoms in certain acute disorders.  

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