AYURVEDA DETOX AND REJUVENATION
Traditionally, classical Pancha Karma (5 actions) is done in residence for 28 days with a minimum of 2 weeks of rest afterward to integrate the treatments. If you are over the age of 40, then 28 days of PK is recommended a minimum of twice per year to maintain youthfulness and good health. The only clinics I am aware of that offer the full 28 days are in India, Thailand, and Nepal.
The good thing about long treatments at these clinics is that if you have a more challenging health condition or addiction, then this full time rejuvenation can have a profound and lasting effect on the improvement of health. You also have the value of having the guidance of an experienced vaidya (physician trained in Ayurveda from India) on an almost daily basis to chart your progress and monitor your treatments. It is a good way to “unplug from the daily grind” allowing one to have a deeper experience. It takes at least 7 days of treatments to reach all the tissues or dhatus. The extended amount of days, the deeper level of the body you can get at to remove physical and emotional toxins. You also receive Ayurvedic meals. Appropriate food has a big role in creating the maximum benefit.
What is contradictory in this type of overseas treatment is the amount of air pollution in some of the cities. New Delhi and Kathmandu have severe air pollution problems. So while you are detoxifing, you may also be breathing in lead and other harmful chemicals from the lack of regulations in air quality.
The other challenge that may pose a threat to health but may not be so apparent is that if you do Panchakarma in India when it is winter here, coming back to a cold season has a damaging affect to the channels of the body. During Panchakarma both physical and vibrational channels open in order for toxins to flow out. When you come back into the cold weather the channels go into shock and shrink. The shrinkage of these channels can block toxins from flowing out of the body. So on one level you have done a great thing for your body but there will be a side affect from returning in the winter that may contra indicate the treatment.
Be aware of herbs purchased directly in India and other countries. Lead and other harmful chemicals have been found in these products producing long-term health problems. You may want to have them tested at a lab to be safe.
If you choose to do classical Panchakarma in Asia, try to find a clinic outside of large cities with a reputable vaidya and get referrals before you go. I have heard wonderful reviews about Dr. Raju in New Delhi. He also has a clinic with his brother in Hyderabad. Also, Dr. Rishi Koirela in Kathmandu has two clinics. The one outside Kathmandu is located in Pokara. I can attest for the one in Kathmandu. I was fortunate to get a taste of two weeks of treatment this year. The technicians were highly skilled and nurturing and Dr. Rishi was very perceptive of my health challenges. The clinic was very clean, uplifting, and orderly and the food was great. However, you could hear a lot of street noise that I gradually transcended. It’s also polluted at certain times of the year. His clinic in Pokara is quiet, filled with beauty and solitude.
The other possible scenario that could arise from classical Panchakarma is that your health problems could increase or if you do not have a health problem one could arise. You can possibly get damaged from this type of treatment. According to, Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra a world-renowned Ayurvedic physician, says he has seen more damage from detoxification. If the channels of the body are not prepared properly or the channels are too acidic, it’s very possible that the toxins start to leave one organ but end up not being able to leave the system entirely due to the channels of evacuation being too dry, acidic or narrow. What happens? If a toxin is trying to leave the liver but does not make it out, it can go to another organ or system and create illness in that area. He says it’s very dangerous. I have heard of people going through PK and having muscle soreness and other problems after their treatments. This indicates that toxins could not get out. He says purification that is too quick and harsh is jarring for the body and traumatizes the fine channels. He recommends that detoxification should be done over a period of time giving the body a chance to naturally detoxify without forcing.
Dr. Mishra offers a protocol to help soften impurities in a gradual way that is safe. It can take up to 7 weeks of a home program to purify gently as to not disturb or shock the organs and channels. There are several physicians trained in his protocols. Dr. Maryanne Teitlbaum and Dr. Doug Beech are personally trained by Vaidya Mishra to address all types of imbalances and are doing great things with people’s health. I highly recommend them. If you have a general imbalance and are in general good health I can help assist you in these detox protocols.
If you are not in a position to leave for long periods of time then one-week long Panchakarma therapies are recommended with the change of spring and autumn. In the winter toxins accumulate due to lack of circulation. The cold weather shrinks and narrows the channels of the body as the weather gets warmer the channels open and toxins start to flow out naturally. Panchakarma assists that purification so your body can regain balance, lightness, vigor and bliss. Ideally, a clinic with an experienced vaidya would be the best choice. If you have a specific health condition, I highly recommend seeing an Ayurvedic physician trained in nadi vigyam or Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis. Once you have found your physician ask for referrals of people he or she has treated successfully with your condition. I also recommend working in combination with a medical doctor who is trained in Ayurveda so the two physicians can coordinate a health regime for maximum benefit and safety. The reason I recommend a vaidya trained in India is that pulse diagnosis is deeply ingrained in their training and are more experienced and advanced and than most Westerner trained ones. It’s been my experience that their perception of the underlying imbalance is more accurate. However, the skill of nadi vigyan varies among vaidyas as well.
If that is not available then you can choose a practitioner that uses organic freshly made massage oils and products, uses hand held shirodhara equipment rather than electric and does the treatment in a pure and quiet environment. The purity of the environment, both physically and vibrationally is important because Panchakarma opens up the channels and they need to be protected during this process. The treatments are recommended to be given by experienced technicians that live a pure lifestyle and have a happy disposition. The practitioner should be knowledgeable of thorough home preparation treatment, called snehana and virachana that is gradual and safe.
Home detoxification is the first step towards effective pancha karma treatments. It helps to prepare the channels so you can gain maximum benefit. The home detoxification program is just as an important step as the PK treatment is. In addition, the Post Panchakarma diet, herbs and recommendations play an equal part. Post PK emphasizes the role of herbal remedies called rasyanas. Now that body has been deeply cleansed the value of rasyana can penetrate to the deepest cellular level to further produce balance, clarity of mind, and increase the production of ojas. Ojas is the connecting glue for all the organs and systems and produces a natural state of contentment. All three; pre-treatment, treatment, and post-treatment should be valued equally. It’s really a 4-7 week cleanse when you put it all together. Most people just focus on getting the actual treatment, but without the proper preparation, you will not receive more than 50% the expected benefit. Following the whole program brings optimum results. Health improvements such as increased energy, improved sleep, better digestion, increased happiness, more youthfulness, vigor and improved appearance are predicted benefits.
Since the channels in the gross and subtle level of the body open during the treatment and following treatment, it is important what we are exposed to. Use of cell phones, computers and other sensory stimuli are not recommended at this time. It’s best to schedule your treatments when you can take off work and minimize responsibilities.
Most Panchakarma sessions include relaxing and pleasant treatments that include Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage), Shirodhara – (oil gently and continuously poured over the forehead). Shirodhara deeply relaxes the nervous system and purifies the channels in the head, brain, sinuses, neck and shoulders. Another treatment may be Swedana, which is a warm steam treatment that opens up the channels to release toxins. Other treatments such as marma (energy points on the body to produce balance) and an elimination enema called basti may be recommended to further purify the body. Specialized treatments such as the EMF detox and Ayurvedic facials may be recommended. An Ayurvedic consultation is required before treatments begin to determine the types of herbalized oils used and specific treatments.
There are many good places that offer Panchakarma treatments in the United States at various price ranges and treatment options. The Raj in Vedic City offers a nurturing luxurious treatments for about $500-$600 per day. The Life Spa in Boulder Colorado runs about $350 per day and Dr.Vasant Lad in New Mexico. There are many individual practitioners as well that I am happy to refer you to.
For more information please contact 530 264 8212 Bonita Carol
Bonita Carol has been an Ayurveda Health Educator for over 25 years and offers Ayurvedic Health Consultations in the Bay area and Nevada City, California.