Snehan is a process wherein the body is lubricated with the help of oil or medicated ghee (clarified butter). The person is advised to consume medicated oil or ghee in large quantities. After this, the person is instructed to observe restrictions such as drinking only lukewarm water throughout the day, eating only when hungry and refraining from sleeping during day time. Even the food has to be very simple - as advised by the doctor.
Snehan is a pre cursor to the main procedure of panchakarma.
Types of Snehan Therapy
Internal Oleation (Abhyantar Snehan)
This process comprises consumption of prescribed amounts of warm herbal ghee. The ghee is consumed first thing in the morning. The dose is increased gradually, depending on your body's requirements. The patient is unable to eat until the ghee is digested, which is signalled by return of the patient's appetite.
In order to prepare for the main eliminative procedures, the patient receives internal and external oleation each day. The time needed for the oleaginous substances to reach all the dhatus takes 5 - 7 days. Hence these treatments can continue for up to 7 days. There are signs which indicate that the snehan therapy has been successful. For example, the skin displays a soft and shiny appearance and feels slightly unctuous.
External Oleation (Bahya Snehan)
This procedure employs a specific form of massage (abhyanga). The therapist applies herbal oil to the skin before starting the massage. There is great significance to the strokes used in bahya snehan, for they match the movements of vata's five different directional functions. It also improves circulation.