Ayurveda is an elegant system of healing, first described around 5,000 years ago in ancient Vedic texts as comprehensive teachings on preserving and maintaining health. The fact that this ancient medicine is still in use today is a testament to the wisdom it holds when it comes to understanding the human potential to achieve a happy and wholesome life.
Panchakarma – Rejuvenating Detox
Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means “five actions” or “five treatments”. This is a process used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease, poor nutrition and environmental toxins. Normally the body has the innate ability to efficiently process and remove these waste materials, including the vitiated doshas. However, due to one’s repeated dietary indiscretions, poor exercise patterns, lifestyle, and genetic predisposition, the digestive enzymes, metabolic co-factors, hormones, and agnis which regulate the body’s internal homeostasis become disorganized. This can lead to the accumulation and spread of toxins throughout the physiology resulting in disease. This waste matter is called ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul-smelling, sticky, harmful substance that needs to be completely evacuated from the body.
Panchakarma will remove the excess doshas and correct imbalances in them as well as eliminate the harmful ama out of your system through the body’s own organs and channels of elimination (colon, sweat glands, lungs, bladder, urinary tract, stomach, intestines, etc). Panchakarma purifies the tissues at a very deep level.
It is a very pleasurable experience that is tailored to individual needs and may involve:
Daily warm oil massage (abhyanga)
Herbal steam therapy (swedana)
Herbal enemas (basti)
Nasal administrations (nasya)
Other special treatments
The descriptions that follow cover the variety of therapies that may be performed during a Panchakarma series and represent the actual treatments used in this ancient art of life extension. Two Ayurvedic therapists working in synchronicity perform many of them. Two, three, and sometimes four of these therapies are linked together during the course of one day’s treatments.
An individually prepared herbal-oil massage designed to deeply penetrate the skin, relax the mind-body, break up impurities, and stimulate both arterial and lymphatic circulation. It enhances the ability of nutrients to reach starved cells and allows for the removal of stagnant waste. The desired result is a heightened state of awareness that will direct the internal healing system of the body.
A warm, gentle and methodic pouring of herbalized oil over the forehead, synchronizing brain waves and profoundly coordinating and calming the mind, body, and spirit.
A dry lymphatic skin brushing with either a wool or silk glove. This enhances circulation and cleanses the skin so that subsequent oil and herbal treatments can penetrate deeply into freshly cleansed pores.
An herbalized steam bath, during which the head and the heart are kept cool (an important difference in Ayurvedic steam treatments) while the body is heated to remove mental, emotional and physical toxins lodged deeply within the tissues. The cool head and heart provide a sense of calm and openness while the therapeutic steam over the entire body can penetrate and cleanse deeply, without overheating and causing stress to the body.
A deeply penetrating herbal paste lymphatic massage. This powerful exfoliating treatment will magically restore your natural radiance. It conditions the skin while releasing stagnant lymphatic toxins from the body.
Five Senses Therapy
This treatment combines the therapeutic effect of all five senses working in harmony. Sound therapies are specific Vedic hymns and mantras recommended for each imbalance. Touch therapy enlivens specific vital points on the body called marma points. Taste therapy uses certain herbal medicines. Sight uses Ayurvedic color therapy, and smell is accessed with combinations of rare aromatics. The effect harmonizes all of the senses to bring one’s awareness to the source of thought and feeling within the heart.
An herbal enema specially prepared to pull toxins out of the colon. This is the final stage of each daily Panchakarma treatment. The freshly loosened impurities from each day of treatment are flushed out of the body via the effects of the basti. The basti also transports Ayurvedic medicines into the blood and tissues in order to transform the memory of damaged and toxic cells. It is considered one of the most important and most powerful aspects of the Panchakarma treatment.
Individually prescribed herbs and oil drops, inhaled through the nose, which clear the sinuses of excessive mucus. It is also an important therapy when medicating the central nervous system. This treatment combats the deep dryness that exists at the root of many respiratory and allergic conditions.
A luxurious combination of a deep head/neck/shoulder massage and facial lymphatic massage, followed by deep inhalation of therapeutic aromatic steam, and a nasal and sinus nasya with herbalized nose drops. This popular treatment is an invaluable tool to balancing most head, neck and respiratory disorders.
A deep cleansing treatment using rice cooked in milk and herbs that is massaged into the tissues and joints. The treatment is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating as well as powerfully detoxifying.