What Is Panchakarma?
Do you feel stressed? Do you feel like your body is off in some way? Panchakarma, an ancient ayurvedic detox, can help. Created in India during ancient times, Panchkarma combines relaxation, diet, lifestyle, and special herbal remedies to help the body relax and detox, clearing out toxic chemicals that have accumulated in the body over the years. The word Panchakarma, meaning five actions, comes from classical ayurvedic texts. These five actions of Panchakarma refer to the detox process used to remove impurities from the body.
The Pre-Panchakarma Routine
Panchakarma is all about relaxation. In order for the detox to be effective, your body needs to be relaxed to help focus energy on detoxing instead of the body’s stress response. To get primed for detox, you will be given a special diet to follow a week before you start the actual Panchakarma process. You will be instructed to follow an internal oleation regiment which consists of ingesting ghee or flaxseed oil on an empty stomach.
The Benefits of Detoxification Treatment
There are several health benefits associated with an Ayurvedic detox. Ayurvedic experts believe it helps increase metabolism, eliminates toxins, helps balance doshas (Ayurvedic Energy), reduces heavy metals in the body, increases relaxation and increases resistance to stress, boosts immunity, and improves strength and endurance.
What Are the Benefits of a Panchakarma Diet?
A common diet during a Panchakarma detox consists of mung dai, veggies, rice, and special herbal teas. These types of foods are easy on the digestive system which maximizes the detox process. You also must avoid sugar, caffeine, cold drinks, dairy, and meat during and after the Panchakarma diet. Practitioners encourage clients to commit to this new diet long term for life long benefits. Most healers encourage clients to be flexible with their new ayurvedic diet post-detox and only follow it 70 percent of the time.
What Does a Typical Panchakarma Routine Look Like?
1. Preparation – Slowing Down
To prepare, experts recommend you rest, eat a clean Panchakarma diet, and drink a special remedy called Triphala, an antioxidant with a mild laxative effect. This routine is done to prepare the body for what’s to come.
2. Internal Oleation
In order to detox correctly, you need to kickstart the process. At this point, Ayurvedic professionals will prescribe two tablespoons of ghee or flaxseed oil to be taken on an empty stomach to help detox the digestive tract.
3. External Oleation
During this step, practitioners will apply special Ayurvedic oil on the skin from head to toe. There are several oils used and the ones used largely depend on your practitioner’s preferences. Since it’s relaxing, most practices use oil massages for this step. After this your oil massage, you will need to take a warm, relaxing shower.
This step commonly involves an enema called Basti. This special concoction will loosen your intestinal tract. It’s recommended you only do this step with a trained Ayurvedic practitioner who can supervise your progress.
The previous steps can be grueling for many. This is why recovery is very important. Your body needs a reset. Amrit Kalash is commonly used to kickstart this process. Thought to be the ambrosial gift of the Gods, the Amrit Kalash formula contains 13 herbs that support the body and the mind. Research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E alone.
The 9 Best Traditional Panchakarma Detox Routines
Panchkarma is a broad practice. Many of its practitioners have their own philosophy and style. Although there may be more variations of these practices, the most common Ayurvedic detox routines that you’re likely to encounter are mentioned below.
This therapy consists of a specialized oil massage. The abhyanga treatment contains herbs put together for the patient and are prepared together with soothing oils. Silence and tranquility are critical for this detox.
This detox uses a special paste made of ground grains and herbal powders to cleanse the skin, increases circulation, and promote weight loss.
This detox consists of a combination of oil and heat. Warm oil is gently massaged into the skin to help soothe joint and muscle pain.
This is another oil treatment similar to Pizhichill. Where it differs is this technique is followed by a steam bath with special medicinal herbs. This treatment will dilate the blood vessels and increase blood circulation.
This treatment involves a special enema that helps eliminate impurities from the intestinal tract. This method is the most common method used by Ayurvedic practitioners during a detox.
This treatment involves a warm stream of oil poured over the forehead. This treatment is done in absolute silence.
This treatment consists of aromatherapy technique which helps clear the sinuses, relaxes the mind and fights off tinnitus.
This treatment consists of oil gently pressed against the face. This has a relaxing effect on the eyes and surrounding tissue.
This treatment is used to help relieve pain. Small linen bags filled with herbs are applied to the parts of the body affected by pain.
Since significant changes occur during an Ayurvedic detox, many people develop an increased sense of self-awareness. For many, this can cause a burst of unresolved emotions to surface. Although initially, this can be unpleasant, once these emotions are released it can bring a newfound clarity and sense of relaxation. Performing yoga or meditation can aid you during such an emotional rollercoaster and help ease you into your post-Panchakarma clarity.