Oleation (Snehana) Therapy

Oleation (Snehana) Therapy is a part of Purva Karma (Prior Panchkarma). It is simply Oleation of body by Internal (Snehapana) or external application of Uncting substances (Ghee & Oils). It is utmost essential to carry out unction prior attempting Panchkarma Procedures. Internal Oleation could be (Drinking of) A2 Ghee + ½ a Glass of Hot water & External Oleation could be Light (V), Medium (P) or Deep massage (K) depending on the state of Doshas.
The Oleation Therapy is best done during the daytime when the Sun is clear.
Oleation (Snehana) Therapy is usually beneficial for Vata vitiated patients, old age, people who are into excess indulgence or do excess physical labour, are Ruksha-dry in nature or have to undergo Panchkarma procedures (Swedana, Vamana, Virechana…). Unction softens body and removes retention of excrements (AMA).
Snehana Therapy is avoided for Kapha vitiated patients, ones having chronic digestive disorders, Poisoned, Pregnant ladies, Emaciated and so on…

Methods of Oleation:

  1. Internally: Such as
  • Direct Oral Intake (Achapana): Direct intake without mixing with foods (Tsp. of A2 Ghee + ½ glass of hot water is acceptable). This does the required softening & lubrication of body tissues prior Panchkarma. Depending on the dosage, it may take anywhere from 6 (1-3 Tsp.) to 24 (1/3rd Cup) hours for Snehana o be digested,
  • Mixed Oral Intake: Mixed with foods or herbs/herbal decoctions,
  • Via Nasal Route (Nasal therapy-Nasyakarma),
  • Via Rectal Route (Enema).
  1. Externally: Such as
  • Gargling with Oil (and holding it in mouth) (Oil Pulling) [Oil Pulling is simply swishing (pulling of oil through the teeth) of oil (Sesame or Coconut Oil + 1-3 Pinches of Turmeric) in mouth for 5-15 minutes before throwing it out. Rishi Charaka states various benefits of Oil Pulling such as Strong respiratory System, One starts to relish food, Strong Jaw-Teeth, Good Skin Health and so on…It also works wonders at pulling/expelling lipid-fats soluble toxins in the body such as heavy metals, pesticides and so on…),
  • Head Massage (Siro Abhyangam),
  • Full Body Massage (Abhyangam),
  • Lepa (Application, say by Cotton Ball or simply by hands).

Sources of Oleation/Unction: Let us understand the point in some depth point-wise:

  • Four types of uncting substances could be Ghee, Oil, Fats (White Butter) & Bone Marrow, out of which Ghee (A2-Desi Cow Ghee only!) is most light, easiest to digest and is the best.
  • Beneficial Oils used for Oleation could be of Mustard, Sesame (Best for providing Strength), Haritaki, Castor (For Purgation, It is Pungent, Hot & Heavy & alleviates Vata & Kapha), Bibhitaki, Bael fruit and so on. Use of specific oils would also depend n medical Condition of a person, such as for a person suffering from Pitta, more of Coconut Oil could be administered & for a person suffering from Vata-Kapha, more of Mustard or Black Sesame Oil could be administered.
    Also, for better expulsion of toxins from body cells/tissues Oils used for Unction may be mixed with Herbs such as Guduchi, Katuka, Haritaki, Yava and Chitraka (Prominent Bitter Properties).
  • Ghee (Especially A2) is most Sukshma and nourishes deeper tissues. It nourishes Rasa, Shukra & Ojas. Ghee is cooling, does not product burning sensation during digestion [Vipaka is Sweet], nurtures-softens all body tissues, clears channels, improves voice & complexion and pacifies Vata & Pitta. Again, stressing the point, any Vata or Pitta related disorder, consumption of Ghee is utmost essential. Even in Kapha disorders, A2 Ghee (in Hot water) has property of dissolving the dirty Kapha, clearing channels & expelling dirty Kapha out of the body.
  • Few sources of immediate Oleation: Vegetables/Soups/Pulses with optimum amounts of fats (Ghee/Oils as per state of Doshas), Til Powder mixed with fats and half boiled molasses, Rice cooked with green gram mixed with fats (A2 Ghee) and half boiled molasses, Gruel prepared from milk-mixed with good quantity of A2-ghee, Butter-Milk mixed with Jaggery;
    Generally, Fats (Ghee-Oils) mixed with 2-8 Pinches of salt produce Immediate Oleation, as salt causes exudation in the tissues, does not cause dryness, is Sukshma & Ushna (Hot in Potency) in nature.
    For high Pitta-Kapha vitiated disorders (such as Skin Disorders-Leprosy, Diabetes, Oedema…) Hot Meats, Oils [Hot Potency], Buffalo Milk, Curd, Jaggery, Beer etc. should not be used.

    Fats boiled/warmed with Trifula, Pippali, Guggulu etc. may be used as appropriate.
  • Herbal/Medicinal Substances which are Unctuous (Slippery), Heavy (Not easily Digestible), Dull, Mobile (Fluid), Sukshma (Penetrating) and/or are of Cold Potency (Such as Liquorice) are generally Oleating (Lubricating).

Timings of Internal Oleation (Snehapana): 
For Purificatory therapies (Vomiting, Purgation…), fats should be given (without mixing with anything) after the previous meal has been digested, in large dose.
For mitigation of Doshas, it should be given when the person is hungry (Stomach empty), and in the medium dose (The way I advise most of the times!).
For Brahmana (Strengthening/Stoutening the body) it should be given mixed with meat soup etc. and eaten along with food in the minimal quantity.
Used before, during and after food, the fats (ghee/oil) cure diseases (& strengthen) of the lower, middle and upper parts of the body in the same order.

Snehapana (Direct Oral Intake of Ghee-Oils-Fats):

  • Indications: Ones going for Panchkarma procedures such as Swedana, are Vata Vitiated (Neuromuscular Disorders, Dryness-Roughness in the body), weak, emaciated… Not to be administered to ones going for Nasal Therapy, Enema or Purgative Therapies.
  • Contra-Indicated: Kapha or severely Pitta vitiated people (Such as the ones suffering from “AMA, Very weak-strong Digestive Fire, Very Obese (Vitiated Kapha) Abdominal enlargement, Nauseatic, Stiffness of thighs…” and/or “Debilitated, Diarrhoea, Artificial Poisoning, Alcoholic Intoxication …”)…

Ill Effects of Improper Lubrication:
Drinking unsuitable fats, in improper dose, at improper time and/or eating with improper foods (Viruddha Ahara) would (or could0 lead to Metabolic System-Digestive Disorders [Fevers, nausea, Flatulence, Abdominal Distention-Pain, Haemorrhoids…], Skin Disorders [Itching, rashes, Leprosy…], Rigidity (Loss of Movement), Stupor-Insensibility, Giddiness etc.
Remedies to Ill effects caused due improper Lubrication: Induce Vomiting, Hunger, Thirst and Perspiration. Dry foods (Minimal Rasa), Drinks & Herbs/Aushadhies should be consumed. Few favourable articles could be Fermented Butter Milk, Honey, Yava, Gaumutra, Pippali, Trifula, Guggul…

Complications of Uncting in High Pitta Cases: 
In subjects having high Pitta-Strong Jatharagni, Uncting substance/s are reduced to ashes in quick time. Strong Pitta-Jatharagni, as fanned by unction, consumes the dose of unction, affects Ojas and gives rise to complicated thirst.  Even much heavy food is not able to pacify the fire fuelled and intensified with unction.  If there arises thirst on indigestion of unction, the best option is to induce vomiting.  Again the patient should drink cold water (clay pot referable), eat rough food and then vomit.   Ghee alone should not be taken in excess of Pitta particularly associated with AMA because it produces jaundice in the whole body (due further vitiation of Pitta), destroys consciousness and kills the patient.

The above information is not a Medico-Legal advice. The information above is not intended to diagnose-treat-cure… any disease and you may use the above information at any/which way at your own risk and with own responsibility.

Sharing is Caring!