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Snehana (Oleation Therapy)

Ayurvedic Oil with Potli

Snehana (Oleation therapy) is a part of pre-therapeutic (pre-operative) procedure in Panchakarma. It includes external and internal oleation. In internal oleation, panchakarma expert asks for drinking a specific amount of medicated ghee or oil for a specific period. The amount of medicated ghee or oil is gradually increased on daily basis. The course of oleation therapy may take 3 to 7 days. Ayurvedic massage with medicated oils is a part of external oleation. The duration of massage may be 30 to 90 minutes according to individual needs and health condition. After ayurvedic massage, herbal steam bath is also very important.

Therapeutic Indications

Generally, this therapy is indicated in all people wanting to take Panchakarma therapy. It is basic component of Panchakarma and essential preparatory procedure, so it is done before all major panchakarma procedures. It is beneficial in all VATA disorders – Neurological, bones, joints and muscles disorders or pain disorders. It is beneficial for people with following health conditions and cases.

Nerves, Brain & Mind

  • Hemiplegia
  • Paralysis
  • Sciatica
  • Backache
  • Facial palsy
  • Gout
  • Brachial neuralgia
  • Muscle fatigue after endurance exercises (Indicated for wrestlers, athletes and other sportspeople)
  • For intellectuals or people with mental stress
  • Frontal headache
  • Sleeplessness

Digestive Health

  • Acid peptic disorders
  • Abdominal lump
  • Chronic constipation

Eye Disorders

  • Incipient cataract

Beauty, Skin & Hair

  • Dry skin

Men’s Health

  • Oligospermia

Women’s Health

  • Disorders of reproductive system and genital tract


  • Physical weakness
  • Emaciation
  • Marasmus
  • Alcoholic intoxication


Snehana (Oleation therapy) is not appropriate in following cases and conditions.

General Contraindications

  1. Thirst
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Anorexia or aversion to food
  4. Before, during and after Nasya (nasal instillation of medicines) and Vasti (therapeutic enema)

Special Contraindications

  • KAPHA Aggravation
  • Obesity or excessive fatty tissue
  • Indigestion
  • AMA toxins (developed due to malabsorption and indigestion)
  • Poor digestive powder
  • Vomiting
  • Acute abdomen
  • Ascites
  • Liver enlargement
  • Spleen enlargement
  • Cirrhosis of liver
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chemical poisoning
  • Fever (early stages or during acute fever)

Possible Complications

The wrong administration and unwise use of Snehana therapy can lead to complications, which can be divided into immediate and delayed complications. All these complications occur due to wrong dosage, wrong diagnosis, patient’s ignorance to instructions and errors in procedure and timing of administration of medicines.

Immediate Complications

  • Indigestion and loss of appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Abdominal distension
  • Fever
  • Stiffness or feeling of rigidity in the body
  • Changes in taste or distaste
  • Pain
  • AMA formation (toxic metabolites) – caused by indigestion
  • Nausea

Delayed Complications

  • Feeling of cold
  • Itching
  • Skin diseases
  • Anaemia
  • Oedema or swelling
  • Acute abdomen
  • Ascites
  • Liver enlargement
  • Spleen enlargement
  • Cirrhosis of liver
  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Piles
  • Erysipelas

Management of Complications

The management of complications involves.

  • Symptomatic treatment according to predominance of humours and symptoms involved
  • First, treat severe complications.

Management Protocol

  1. Analyze with care about the DOSHA (humour) involvement and identify the underlying cause.
  2. Correct indigestion and try best to eliminate AMA if involved.
  3. First, manage severe complications and predominant DOSHA aggravation.

General Management Therapies

  • Therapeutic emesis (VAMANA) with warm water can be beneficial for reducing complications.
  • Fasting
  • Sudation
  • Light foods or drinks, which are easier to digest.
  • Fermented alcoholic remedies may also help. Generally, these are prepared from buttermilk, barley, Triphala, long pepper, guggul or cow’s urine.


  1. Charaka Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 13, Verse 52, 53, 54, 55 & 56
  2. Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, Chapter 13, Verse 75 to 78
  3. Sushruta Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana, Chapter 31, Verse 24
  4. Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 16, Verse 33 to 34

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