Snehana – Oleation treatment in Ayurveda, its indication, contraindication and uses

Snehana karma is one of the pre-procedures of panchakarma treatment. The purpose of snehana is to lubricate the body cells of the person to mobilize the doshas adhering to it. Sneha karma can be classified into two types depending on the usages viz

  1. Sneha pana (Internal administration of sneha)
  2. Bahya Snehana (External application of sneha)

Sneha dravays are collected from either plant origins such as sesame oil, coconut oil, etc.. or animal origins such as Ghee and animal fat. The snehana procedures are used for

  • Shodhana (purification purpose),
  • Shamana (palliative purpose), and
  • Brahmana(nourishing purpose).

The Snehapana (internal administration of Sneha dravyas) are classified according to the usage.

  1. Achcha Sneha (Using pure Sneha without mixing with other)
  2. Vicharana Sneha ( Sneha mixed with other products)

The Bahya Snehana(external application of Sneha) is done through various modes like oil massage, oil bath, pouring oil in a specific manner, etc…


Internal snehana is again divided into three types depending on the time taken for the digestion of sneha dravya in the body

  1. Hruswa Matra(Minimal dosage) – Sneha that digests in six hours.
  2. Madhyama Matra (Medium dosage)– Which digests in twelve hours.
  3. Uttama Matra (Maximum dosage)– Which takes twenty-four hours to digest.

Snehapana Procedure :


Before administering the snehapana patient has to be properly examined for his Agni(digestive capacity), matra( quantity), vaydi(disease), and bala(strength). As a pre-procedure, proper drying (rukshana) has to be done.

After confirming that the food taken on the previous day has been fully digested, uttama matra sneha (maximum dose )can be given for shodhana. Sneha should be given at the lowest quantity on the first day, then the dose is increased according to the digestive capacity.

After three days of intake of sneha, signs of smoothness appearing on the body will be visible(snigda lakshanas). Depending upon the constitution some people may need 4 to 6 days of sneha pana.

Samyak Snigdha Lakshanas will be visible in three days in mrudu Kostas(people who have smooth bowel motion) and seven days in the case of krura Kosta(people with acute constipation).

Samyak snidga lakshanas in the body appear in seven days in the people who are having Vata-related ailments, six days in case of people with pitta-related ailments, and five days in case of people with kapha related ailment. The procedure should not extend more than seven days. Smoothness in the body will only appear if the administration of sneha is progressively increased on each day starting from the first day of the treatment.

After taking sneha, the patient must drink hot water to clear the mouth of the residual sneha. Then he should lie down while completely covering his body to avoid contact with cold and breeze. Medicated hot water can be taken to quench thirst.

If belching has no smell of sneha, it indicates that the sneha has been completely digested. Then the patient can take the bath in hot water and have some light food that can be easily digested. The time taken for digestion of Sneha on the first day has to be ascertained.

On the second day, Sneha is increased than the first day and this procedure is adopted for the subsequent days also.

If the sneha administration is as per the requirement, the patient will pass stool containing the sneha, the skin will become smooth and the odor of sneha will be there, The patient will feel like vomiting even if he thinks about sneha, he has an aversion towards sneha and he will be tired.

If the patient does not follow the Pathya(rules and regulations) during the snehapana time it may result in the outburst of many diseases. So this procedure should be done under expert supervision.

Indication for Snehana procedure :

  1. One who is indicated to undergo a purificatory procedure(shamshodhya) or Panchakarma Treatment.
  2. One who indulges more in exercise, sex and consumes alcohol regularly.(madyastrivayvayamasakta).
  3. One who thinks too much(Chinta).
  4. Old aged persons (vruddha).
  5. Children (Baala).
  6. One who is weak (Krusha).
  7. One who is debilitated (Abala).
  8. Who has dryness in the body (ruksha).
  9. One who has less blood (Ksheenaasra).
  10. One who has less semen (Ksheenaretas).
  11. Who are suffering from the diseases of Vata.
  12. One who has eye problems (Timira).
  13. Blindness (Andha).
  14. One who has quick awakening(Pratibhodina) etc……

Conta indication for Snehana procedure :

  1. One who has a very weak digestive capacity (mandagni).
  2. One who has a very strong digestive capacity (thikshnagni).
  3. Who are Obese(Sthoola).
  4. One who is debilitated(Durbala).
  5. One who is suffering from the Urusthambha.
  6. In diarrhea (Atisara).
  7. In Amavastha.
  8. In diseases of the throat (Gala roga).
  9. In the state of poison(Gara).
  10. Diseases of the abdomen (Udara).
  11. In fainting (Murcha).
  12. In Vomiting (Chardi).
  13. In tastelessness condition(Aruchi).
  14. In increased shleshma.
  15. In thirst (Trishna).
  16. One who has consumed Alcohol(Madhya).
  17. Who had abnormal delivery (Apaprasuta).
  18. Who are indicated for nasal medication (Nasya), Basti (enema) and virechana (purgative therapy).

Snehana should be done under the strict supervision of a physician.

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2 thoughts on “Snehana – Oleation treatment in Ayurveda, its indication, contraindication and uses”

  1. Very well written article. Snehana is such an important purvakarma. This article has really good details in it. Procedure would surely help


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