Although Ayurveda favors prevention wherever possible, traumatic invasive surgery is advised in certain acute cases. Sushruta's extensive experience in the examination of blood during the course of surgery enabled him to gain a deep understanding of the relationship of the blood to rakta dhatu, pitta dosha and diseases associated with their toxicity and malfunction.
Although Raktamokshan is the most limited of the five major procedures, it provides a rapid and sometimes dramatic reduction of symptoms in certain acute disorders, especially where time is a crucial factor. Rakta Dhatu and Pitta Dosha are closely associated and their functions interrelated. The blood, which represents rakta dhatu, is formed and regulated by the liver, spleen and bone marrow, which perform pitta related work. For this reason, when toxins appear due to excess pitta, they concentrate in the blood.
When excessive pitta related ama exists in the blood, it gets transported to the body's periphery, where it often produces characteristic symptoms like skin inflammation or skin hypersenstivity. Acute symptoms can usually be relieved within a few hours by simply removing a small amount of toxic blood from the affected area. Once ama is gone, rakta metabolism improves, and the blood can perform its job efficiently. When toxins associated with pitta are eliminated, pitta function regains balance.
Raktamokshana successfully treats blood-related diseases, including many types of skin disorders: chronic itching, eczema, urticaria, rashes and leukoderma. It is also indicated for enlarged liver or spleen, gout and some types of headaches and hypertension. Its mostly prescribed during the end of summer and during autumn, when pitta's tend to become aggravated due to agni bhuta's dominance.
• ADMINISTRATION OF RAKTAMOKSHANA :
Snehana and Swedana dont have to precede raktamokshana. On the day of treatment, the patient simply lies on a table and a small amount of blood is withdrawn intravenously. In ancient times, several different methods were used, depending on the patient's doshic constitution. This procedure should always be performed under qualified medical supervision. The venipuncture is sealed by medicated gauze and a pressure bandage is applied for a short time. After approximately, one hour, the patient can get up and leave.
The blood is examined for color, smell, consistency, viscosity and clotting characteristics. The specific characteristics of the blood will indicate the quality of function in the pitta zone.
When raktamokshan is contra-indicated but symptoms indicate that the blood is toxic and needs to be cleansed, Ayurveda employs shamana or palliative therapies. These include adjustments in diet, and the use of specific herbs to cleanse the blood. In Ayurveda, the blood is said to be the carrier of ayu, or life, so its condiiton directly influences the four parts of life: atma (soul), manas (mind), indriya (senses) and sharira (body).