We all know how stressful the average day can be. But what we might not know is how many toxins our body gathers daily, whether it is from the food that we eat, the liquids we drink or from our natural environment.
This is why a Panchakarma detox is important for your health.
The Ayurveda states that health is defined as the 3 doshas being in perfect balance. These doshas are what represent the nervous system, the metabolic system and the nutritive system.
A Panchakarma cleanse is a therapy that detoxifies these doshas and restores them to their natural levels.
But what does the Panchakarma detox involve? What are the benefits of doing it? Are there different types of treatment available?
Well, we’re going to do a deep dive into the whole system, covering the various treatments so you can have a more informed outlook on what it does and whether you should apply it to your situation.
What Is The Panchakarma Detox?
Panchakarma means 5-stage detoxification of the body to restore it to its natural harmony. The guiding principle behind this is that the toxins that we pick up every day disturb our body’s natural biochemistry and adversely affect our organs.
Prana, which is a vital energy in the body, gets blocked by these toxins, which leads us to become tired and prone to disease. This causes our dosha to go out of balance, which affects the constitution of both our mind and body.
Doshas are what we might call certain systems in the body. Here are their names and what they represent:
- Vata – the nervous system
- Pitta – the metabolic system
- Kapha – the nutritive system
Once these excesses are removed, then the body can return to its natural state. Not only does an Ayurvedic cleanse have a curative effect on the body, but it also helps to prevent further diseases from occurring in the future.
The 5 Panchakarma
These are the treatments that are applied to the individual by an Ayurvedic doctor. Not everyone will require all of these treatments.
A medical professional will be required to analyze your age, what condition you are suffering from, and how imbalanced your doshas are.
Here are the 5 stages of the Panchakarma:
- Nasya – This is where all the organs of the senses are cleansed through the nostrils. This is a type of controlled breathing exercise.
- Vamana – this is a purging of the digestive system through vomiting. This vomiting is mediated by a medical professional.
- Virechana – This is when the intestines are cleaned out using purgation, where the bowels are cleaned out using medical aid.
- Basti – This is when the colon is cleared out using enemas made from herbal oils.
- Rakta Mochana – This is a cleansing of the blood through the process of leaching. Again, this is done with the help of a medical professional.
However, these are not the only treatments that the patient must undergo. There are stages of preparation and post-therapy procedures to restore the body to its natural harmony.
Here is a more in-depth breakdown of the Panchakarma process and what you can expect if you decide to go through with it.
The 3 Stages Of Panchakarma
There are 3 steps that you must follow to complete Panchakarma properly:
Stage 1 – Poorva Karma
This is the first stage in the Panchakarma. It involves rigorous preparation that makes the tissue in the body supple and pliable for the treatment. It involves a regime of fasting and ingestion of oils and other herbal remedies.
This is meant to allow the patient to become fully prepared for the main treatment of the Panchakarma. The toxins that are stored in the body are then loosened and expelled as waste.
There are 3 steps in the Poorva stage:
- Pachan – this is meant to create a better environment in the digestive tract through the intake of herbs and a commitment to fasting. This is also to prepare the patient for the second stage of the Poorva process.
- Snehan – this is where ghee that has been medicated is administered to the patient. The dosage of this is increased slowly but surely so that the toxins that are held within the deep tissues are liquified.
- Swedan – this is a steam bath that aggravates the toxins and gets them moving around the body. It opens the body’s channels, permitting the heat from the steam to gradually liquify the harmful elements in the body further.
Once this has been completed, then it is possible to move on to the next stage.
Stage 2 – Pradhan Karma
As we have mentioned above, not everyone will need all 5 stages of Pradhan Karma. The number of treatments that you will require will all depend on factors such as age, digestive health, and the strength of the immune system.
The level of treatment should be determined by the medical professional in charge. Here are the stages of the Pradhan section:
- Vamanam – this is the process of medically-induced vomiting which then helps clear out the upper portion of the digestive system. This also helps to clear out some of the toxins in the respiratory system.
- Virechanam – this clears out the lower part of the digestive system through purgation of the bowels.
- Anuvasana – this is when an oil-based enema is introduced to the patient to get the lower part of the body lubricated to allow toxins to exit through the anus.
- Nasyam – This is the final stage of the detoxification process where medicine is inhaled through the nostrils to clear the respiratory system and sinuses.
This is the main part of Panchakarma where most of the toxins in the body are fully released. Once this is complete, then the patient can move on to the post-treatment stage.
Stage 3 – Paschaat Karma
The process of Panchakarma can be quite stressful for the body, so the post-therapy Paschaat stage is meant to restore the organs and the balance of the body to its natural state.
This will include a program of diet management and the partaking of herbal supplements.
There are 3 stages of this process:
- Sansarjan – this is where the diet of the patient is transitioned from liquids to semi-solid foods. Gradually, this then turns into a normal diet.
- Rasayan Adi Prayogam – This is designed to boost the immune system and create a general healthy state for your body to thrive after the treatment.
- Shaman Chikitsa – this is the final stage where the body is pacified with a lifestyle management program and certain essential herbs.
There are many different varieties of treatment that patients can have and one Panchakarma treatment will not be the same as the other.
Duration Of The Panchakarma
As we have mentioned above, this treatment will differ from person to person. For some people, the treatment will only last around 7 days.
However, the average length of the Panchakarma is around 21 days in total.
If you are only having one or two therapies from the list above, then you can expect the whole treatment to last you around 14 days.
Often a patient will be required to stay for a certain length of time at a facility to engage in the treatment fully.
What Sort Of Person Should Have Panchakarma?
There are many different reasons why people will want to partake in the Panchakarma treatment. Here is a list of reasons why you might want to start this type of therapy:
- Gets rid of toxins – if you are experiencing symptoms of illness and repeated fatigue, then this could be a sign that there is a buildup of toxins in your body.
- High-stress levels – if you are someone that suffers from stress, then this procedure has been proven to reduce anxiety levels.
- Alcoholism – this has been demonstrated to help people who are addicted to alcohol and tobacco, reducing the cravings for both substances.
- Increases the immune system – if you are succumbing to illness a lot of the time, then you might need to get rid of your toxins so that you can boost your immune response.
- Taking prescription medication – if you are trying to wean yourself off traditional Western medicine, then Panchakarma can be a good method for you.
- Weight loss – with the process of fasting and detoxification, then you’ll certainly see yourself losing a few pounds on this treatment.
- Insomnia – This treatment is shown to improve the sleep quality of the patients even during the early stages of the process.
- Anti-aging properties – this has been shown to improve the quality and elasticity of the skin, giving it a much healthier and more natural glow.
- Digestion – With enemas and purgation, this is a great method of loosening up the bowels and the intestine, allowing matter to flow more freely through the body.
- Enhanced mindfulness – this will help you to maintain more mental clarity over your life and be more in the present moment.
- Arthritis and other joint ailments – if you are suffering from pain in the muscles and joints, then getting rid of the toxins in your muscle tissue will help you to relax and ease some of the tension in those areas.
What Are The Benefits Of The Panchakarma Treatment?
There are numerous benefits that can be had from this treatment. Here are just a few examples:
- Improved hormonal balance – if you are experiencing mood swings, a decrease in energy, or increased stress levels, then having this treatment will help to restore any hormonal imbalance that you might have.
- Improved metabolism – this will help you to maintain your energy levels, helping you complete your daily tasks and improve the quality of your exercise.
- Taking away lactic acid – if you frequently experience cramping in your body, then you might have to discharge some built-up lactic acid. Having regular massages through the Panchakarmic process will help you to dislodge some of this energy.
- Increases blood circulation – problems with blood circulation can lead to all sorts of problems including a lack of sleep, muscle pain and trouble concentrating. Panchakarma has been shown to get the blood flowing.
Who Should Avoid Panchakarma Therapy?
There are various conditions for which Panchakarma therapy is not advised. Here are just a few of them:
- Testicular cancer
- Lung cancer
- Congestive heart failure
- Infectious diseases
Are There Any Side Effects Of Panchakarma?
There have been some side effects reported from this treatment. Here are just a few of them:
- Fatigue – this is quite common immediately after the treatment has finished. However, these symptoms usually subside after a few days.
- Malaise – this is very similar to the fatigue that is experienced above. This can also take the form of depression and increased anxiety, as the body is releasing a lot of pent-up emotions. Make sure to consult a doctor if these symptoms persist.
- Headaches – this can often happen after the nasal inhalation portion of the therapy. It is important to let your doctor know if these symptoms are occurring.
We hope that our guide to Panchakarma therapy has given you an idea of what to expect from this treatment.
The procedure is quite intensive, and you should make sure that you are prepared for the long duration of the therapy.