What is Niruha Basti?

In contrast to the tonifying nature of the Anuvasana Basti, the complimentary Niruha Basti employs attributes with an emphasis on purification. This water-based enema is typically infused with herbs that are cleansing and pacifying to Vata Dosha. Niruha Basti is indicated for those with Ama present in the body, as well as those experiencing an improper circulation of blood, nutrients, or energy. While Niruha basti has the consequence of drying out the intestinal walls, the remainder of the body becomes hydrated through the water absorbed during the Basti. Due to this drying effect imposed upon the intestinal walls, Niruha Bastis are not typically done in succession with each other in the same way as Anuvasana Bastis are permitted to be. The excess drying of the colon will vitiate Vata and can instigate the incidence of constipation. At its core, Niruha Basti is a purifying practice, this is another justification as to why they are not repeated successively. An over-purification of the body can lead to both bodily harm and Doshic vitiation. For this reason, an Anuvasana should almost always take place both before, and after a Niruha Basti. Due to the depletion that takes place, a Niruha Basti should occur a minimum of seven days apart from other significant purification practices within Panchakarma such as Virechana (Purgation of the bowels), or Vamana (Alleviative emesis), to prevent over-purification from taking place.

Useful for Conditions of:

  • Ama
  • Joint disease
  • Loss of appetite
  • Colic pain
  • Impaired movement

In the Western world, colonics have become a popular therapy in health spas. While the concept of a colonic in contrast to a Niruha Basti may appear comparable, the therapies are quite different both in terms of their intention and execution. A colonic is the process of flushing out any and all fecal matter contained within the colon. This is done by pumping large amounts of water through the channel. The process of receiving a colonic is often painful, as the rushing water can cause intestinal gripping, which is the cramps experienced when the body is trying to rapidly induce a bowel movement. A Niruha Basti takes place slowly and gently, preventing the uncomfortable feeling of the rapid peristalsis (Gripping) from transpiring. Another key differentiation is that a Basti is meant to be retained for a period of time, as opposed to the rapid flushing that occurs during a colonic. The slow introduction of the solution prevents the likelihood of the body purging the liquid preemptively, as is the goal of hydrotherapy (Colonic).

Benefits of Niruha Basti

Through Niruha Basti, the channels of circulation are cleansed. This allows the body to move nutrients and energy more efficiently to where they are needed, while simultaneously enhancing the expulsion of Ama. The function of Vata conceptually, is to elicit and control the aspect of movement within the body. When Vata becomes obstructed, insufficient movement will then take place. A Niruha Basti works to clear this Doshic obstruction and facilitate the appropriate movement of energy to take place. This then sets the stage for the benefits of an Anuvasana Basti to become all the more potent, as it will be better able to permeate deeper throughout the body.

Benefits of Niruha Basti

  • It helps in curing all diseases
  • Clears constipation
  • Prevents the aging processes of the body
  • Promotes strength and sturdiness of the body
  • Increases longevity
  • Improves the Agni, voice, and complexion

Contraindications of Niruha Basti

Boasting many benefits regarding the re-establishment of proper movement within the bodily systems, Niruha is a remarkably valuable treatment. However, the purification may only take place when the health of the patient will not become debilitated in the process. The patient must have a healthy Ojas (Vitality) if they are to receive a Niruha Basti, as the purification will overly deplete the already deficient Ojas; This in turn leads towards bodily harm. The major contraindications for a Niruha Basti are symptoms of weakness and debility, as the practice is predominantly cleansing. Vata people, who tend towards debilitation and weakness, should be evaluated before a Niruha Basti, to establish if one would be beneficial to take place.

Contraindications for Niruha Basti

  • Weakness and debility
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Pregnancy
  • Hemorrhoids
  • The young or elderly

With the proper understanding of the potential applications of both Anuvasana and Niruha Basti, its value and therapeutic function become clear. Whenever Vata is involved in the disease pathogenesis, Basti becomes a viable possibility for its treatment. Seeing also its benefit in treating conditions of either surplus accumulation or indications of weakness, Basti shows its dexterity in treating an extensive range of ailments. This wide scope of treatment is owing to its changeable composition of either tonifying or purifying substances altering its effects. While this therapy is more commonly used periodically during periods of acute illness in today’s society, its action may serve towards the prevention of disease when used proactively for generalized maintenance of the body. Originally making up two-fifths of the therapies within a Panchakarma cleanse, it is now quite evident why this therapy was given such a substantial significance in the ancient world.