The treatment process is known to be intense, requiring at least two weeks of your uninterrupted time, and, if undertaken in the West, a decent wedge of your bank balance! In the words of Deepak Chopra, it is ‘a really good investment, with a really good return’. His words ring true for Western spa facilities, though savvy customers can take advantage of the best of Ayurvedic luxury at under half the price in Kerala, India
Panchakarma purifies at the deepest possible level and can mean a new lease of life for those who undertake it. It is wonderful news that awareness of this transformative treatment is spreading at such a rate in the Western world. As the deeper understanding of Yoga has migrated abroad, we have become increasingly attuned to the wisdom from whence Ayurveda sprung, and gain increasing bravery to face the challenges of authentic holistic health. Because, let’s be honest;Panchakarma is a challenge – combining purification procedures we in the West are unused to, and demanding the complete surrender of our prejudices regarding the understanding of health we have grown up with.
The Panchakarma treatment process: Surrender.
The challenge you face when embarking on a course of Panchakarma, is the requirement to ‘let go’ and achieve total conscious relaxation. Though every course of treatment is unique to the individual, the first phase is always dedicated to ‘preparatory procedures’ (purva karma), where the patient undergoes a process of internal and external lubrication known as ‘oleation therapy’. This includes relaxing four-hands oil massage and steam baths on the plus side, as well as the daily practice of drinking medicated ghee – a somewhat less enjoyable process! The medicated ghee performs intense detoxification, working deeply in the tissues to remove stubborn toxins and bring them to the digestive tract.
The herbal remedies used in the process do deep work on the body - and you are sure to feel it. The first few days of Panchakarma will cause you to feel drained. You should move little, eat little and conserve your energy. This can be a difficult emotional experience, especially when trying to break the habits associated with your normal rhythm of life. But, this is the challenge of surrender that Panchakarma asks of us – the more you surrender, the more you gain from the experience; the more you feel drained, the more you know the process is working properly.
The Panchakarma treatment process: Purification.
With the first detoxification phase over, the second phase commences - where the traditional ‘five cleansing actions’ of Panchakarma are prescribed according to your Ayurvedic type. Potential procedures include emesis (regurgitation), herbal purgation, enemas (of over 100 recipes given in the scripture), nasya (sinus cleansing) and blood-letting. An initital purgation with herbal laxatives is likely to follow your purva karma phase, after which, your Ayurvedic doctor should prescribe your treatments based on daily consultations.
Patients are well-advised to maintain a program of Yoga, meditation and pranayama (breath work) during this period, to allow them to stay in close connection with their body and fully absorb the changes they’ll experience. A Panchakarma treatment package is never complete without an accompanying emotional detox, and patients commonly experience all kinds of shifting emotions at this time, as life-long blockages are dispersed. Again, the challenge posed is of the highest Yogic order – you need to stay still in yourself and remain the witness to passing experiences, whatever they may be. With each day, you will see change happening before your eyes, secure in the knowledge that you are getting stronger.
The Panchakarma treatment process: Commitment
The final days of your Panchakarma treatment are traditionally a time when you consult your doctor and Yoga therapist on the most effective health practices for you. Recommendations will include lifestyle, sleep, diet and the right Yoga asana and pranayama to maintain the standard of wellbeing you attain on your Panchakarma retreat. In approaching a new lifestyle after Panchakarma, you can find success by knowing yourself, and how to navigate the ‘middle way’ between extremes – committing only to diet and lifestyle choices you know you can maintain for the long-term. After two weeks working with yourself, this new commitment to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle should be easy to meet.For the best residential Panchakarma experience in the world today, pay half the price of Western spas at Kairali Yoga’s award-winning Ayurvedic retreat center: The Ayurvedic Healing Village in Kerala, India. Surrender to the full Panchakarma treatment package from the comfort of your luxury private villa, under the guidance of our world-class Ayurvedic Doctors and Yoga Therapists Kairali Yoga’s The Ayurvedic Healing Village