What is Anuvasana Basti?

Within a Panchakarma cleanse, there are two fundamental classifications of Basti: Those that are tonifying, and those that are purifying. Anuvasana Basti is the tonifying variety, composed of unctuous substances and strengthening herbs to facilitate the overall fortification of the body. Due to the heavy nature of the substance that is received, the conditions of Kapha are not generally treated with this type of Basti. The heavy quality can aggravate conditions of stagnation, which in turn, may also weaken the digestive fire (Agni). While Kapha becomes vitiated through unctuous Basti; Vata Dosha, which typically experiences qualities of a dry, cold, and mobile nature, is brought into balance through the unctuation. This is due to the moist, warm, and grounding effects of the oil combatting the primordial tendencies of Vata Dosha. When these attributes are brought and applied directly within the primary location of Vata, the large intestine, immense pacification ensues.

When the colon is filled with oil, Vata Dosha becomes pacified, this is because the substance acts to fill the “Space” within the large intestine. This concept justifies the rationale behind Vata-type constipation. Vata, comprised of Air and Ether (Space), holds onto stool as it passes through the large intestine. This occurs as one of the body’s innate mechanisms of balancing the Doshic energy at play. When the space within the large intestine is filled, Vata is reduced. Vata-type constipation can also be instigated by dryness and/or cold body temperature. When the mucous membranes of the large intestine become dry, the passage of stool becomes much more difficult. The cooler temperature of the body is kept stable, to a greater extent, by the stool given that it retains heat as it passes through the GI tract. One or both of these factors may contribute to Vata-type constipation. The dry and cold qualities of the Vata person are brought into balance through the moist and warm properties of the oil; While the very instance of the oil being present within the cavity, alleviates the quantity of Space existing within the person, allowing extensive pacification of Vata Dosha to take place.  

Useful for Conditions of: 

  • Weakness and debility
  • Nervous system depletion
  • Muscle wasting
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia

Benefits of Anuvasana Basti

The tonification and lubrication of the body which takes place during an Anuvasana Basti provides a majority of the benefits received from the treatment. The substances utilized for an Anuvasana Basti can vary to some extent. Typically, they are composed of oil with the addition of fortifying herbs. However, they could be comprised of other tonifying substances such as milk, meat soup, bone marrow, etc. These liquids all have unique properties and differing levels of tonification/heaviness. A practitioner will decide upon which herbs and menstruum to utilize depending upon several factors such as: which condition is going to be managed, the patient’s Agni, how severe the issue is, etc. Individuals suffering from a state of debilitation may experience tremendous relief through the application of these extremely tonifying substances.

Benefits of Anuvasana Basti

  • Cures all Vata disorders
  • Promotes strength
  • Removes dryness through oleation
  • Promotes energy
  • Produces clarity of the mind and senses
  • Improves complexion

Contraindications of Anuvasana Basti

To prevent additional complications from emerging as a result of an Anuvasana Basti, proper care must be taken to evaluate the patient for signs of contraindication. These typically will be related to Kapha, as the tonification will further exacerbate the underlying cause: A creation of surplus. Minimization of other Kaphogenic factors, such as foods that are heavy and cold, is a wise precaution for all those who receive an Anuvasana Basti, to prevent the accumulation of excess Kapha during this time of increased susceptibility.

Contraindications for Anuvasana Basti

  • Ama
  • Diseases of a Kapha nature, such as obesity
  • Slow metabolism (Low Agni)
  • Cold, congestion, or cough
  • Acute fever
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infancy