Rakta Mokshan or artificial bloodletting was included in the Panchakarma therapy by Aacharya Sushrut. Rakta Mokshan is essentially extracting blood from specific blood vessels (veins), mentioned for specific chronic diseases. In past, it was done by using purified and sterilized horns of animals, gourd, by applying leeches or by puncturing veins (Phlebotomy). At present only latter two methods are followed. However, since it is an invasive procedure, it should be administered by a licensed physician only. Before beginning with the bloodletting therapy, the preparatory procedures such as Abhyanga (external oleation therapy) and Swedan (local fomentation) are usually carried out on the affected area.
Patients suffering from chronic edema and inflammations, skin disorders, gout, tumors, boils, abscesses, disorders of liver and spleen, etc. are advised to undergo the bloodletting therapy. All the diseases caused by vitiated Pitta Dosha or impurities of blood are advised treatment of bloodletting.
It should not be carried out in the patients suffering from anaemia, malnourishment, ascites, piles, tuberculosis, and during pregnancy.
Before starting Raktamokshan, local fomentation is given. After that, leeches are applied at the desired site of blood letting. (Some times, it is simply extracted out through syringe and needle.) When the procedure is carried out properly, the leeches leave the site naturally after sucking out all the impure blood, and bleeding ceases spontaneously. There is significant decrease in the symptoms of pain, and inflammation, the severity of the disease is minimized.
Complication of improper blood letting
Signs of incomplete bloodletting are, itching, inflammation, cellulitis and pain at the site of blood letting. When done in excess, one could be subjected to weakness, headache, and weakness. To stop excessive bleeding in such cases, ice or astringent medicines should be applied on the area of bleeding.
Post Raktamokshan Process
After completion of the process of Raktamokshan, turmeric powder is applied on the site of bloodletting. This acts as hemostyptic, antiseptic and blood purifier.